More and more tourists are saying they want to reduce their ecological impact on the earth when they go on vacation. According to a recent study by Booking.com, 87 percent of global travelers say they want to travel sustainably, while 39 percent confirm they often or always manage to do so. The movement by luxury eco-resorts working to provide earth-friendly vacations goes back more than 15 years, with efforts to save endangered animals, reduce waste and educate visitors being just part of a multi-pronged movement to make vacationing an environmental boon, not a bust.

A greener footprint

Many resorts, even ones located in big cities, have placed a focus on cutting down on waste. A hotel in Brooklyn offers in-room water dispensers while another in London offers plant-based alternatives to plastic. In the Maldives, one resort was given a Green Hotelier award for its initiatives to conserve energy and water and reduce waste, as well as communicate these efforts to guests and the community at large. The property has a water-filtration system that led to the elimination of 1.09 million plastic bottles last year. 

Protecting wildlife

Preserving endangered species is also a priority, especially for resorts in destinations where exotic creatures are often a lure for tourists. In Cepu, one resort has released endangered hawksbill turtles and tropical fish into its marine sanctuary, which has 160 species of fish, clams and coral. Giant clams rescued from poachers were moved to the sanctuary, and living coral has been placed in snorkeling areas. In Oman, one resort has a dedicated turtle ranger to oversee endangered green turtle hatchings, ensure nests are sheltered and raise awareness through educational programs. Another in the Maldives has a reef-care project where over 300 pieces of coral have been restored since 2010.

While resorts may not be seen at the forefront of environmental conversation, savvy travelers know that these vacation getaways have been making an important difference.