Reports show that increasing numbers of British holidaymakers want to seek out authentic experiences and consider the impact their holidays have on local communities and the environment – with ‘slow travel’ and an increased focus on tourism impacts both being highlighted as factors affecting holiday choice.
AlUla is a fascinating destination in Saudi Arabia which will be opening to year-round visitors for the first time from next month.
With a focus firmly on conservation and responsible tourism, since 2017 The Royal Commission for AlUla has been transforming the region into a must-visit culture and heritage destination.
The beautiful canyon area of Sharaan has been designated a Nature Reserve, representing the first step in RCU’s commitment to protect AlUla’s natural environment, restore and rebalancing local ecosystems and managing wildlife under the care of engaged communities.
The Sharaan Nature Reserve has been designed to protect some of the most important and significant natural habitats for conservation of biodiversity in the region. The Reserve will protect and connect areas of extraordinary ecological value and the region’s precious natural balance of biota and desert environment. Additionally, the reserve aims to preserve, restore, and reinforce native vegetation, habitats and fauna and other threatened species of outstanding universal value.
For more information see https://www.rcu.gov.sa/en/fact-sheets/sharaan-nature-reserve/
North Carolina is unique in that one day you can be hiking in the mountains and the next swimming along the coast. It’s diverse landscape means many of its biggest attractions are natural and have little to no effect on the environment, such as hang-gliding at Kitty Hawk or viewing wild horses on the Outer Banks.
That being said, sustainability is an important issue in North Carolina. Recently Visit North Carolina and the N.C. Outdoor Recreation Industry Office announced a new partnership with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to safeguard outdoor experiences and preserve natural assets for future generations. North Carolina becomes the first coastal state to partner with Leave No Trace, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the outdoors and inspiring people to use it responsibility. The new sustainability campaign will ensure North Carolina is ready to welcome back travellers and engage them in protecting the spaces they crave.
Many businesses are doing their bit already by offering ecofriendly option for their patrons. For example the The Umstead Hotel and Spa grows its own produce and herbs and sources food products from local purveyors; it composts food scraps, recycles hotel-wide, donates unused bath amenities to the Clean the World Foundation, uses hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles to transport guests, and provides charging stations for guests’ electric vehicles, including the Tesla Destination Charging.
All Souls Pizza is one of many restaurants in Asheville who take pride in their farm-to-table dynamic. Not only is the restaurant committed to using fresh, seasonal ingredients, it mills its own flour and polenta from organic grains, many of which are traditional varieties. At the base of this bounty is the crust: chewy, tangy and flavourful. It is made by co-owner David Bauer, a pioneer in the movement to use local, freshly milled grains and a familiar face on the farmers market tour through his Farm & Sparrow Bakery.
In Massachusetts, there is an understanding that so many people take care in making sure their day-to-day lives are as eco-friendly as possible, so why should that change when travelling? Visitors to Massachusetts, will see solar arrays and wind turbines – evidence of renewable energy programs at work. Hotels and restaurants are making determined efforts to reduce energy, water, and waste and to provide a healthy environment for guests and employees.
For example, The Lenox launched the nation’s first linen re-use program and Boston’s first commercial electric vehicle charging station. The Copley Square hotel features low-flow toilets, showerheads and aerators and in-room and lobby recycling bins. There is also the Topia Inn nestled in the Berkshires. This intimate, 9-room organic inn serves guests non-GMO, organic meals with fair-trade coffee and tea. Rooms are equipped with LED lights and dual flush toilets to conserve water and energy, while furnishings are made with organic, rapidly renewable and fair-trade materials.
The organisation Mass Audubon protects more than 34,000 acres of ecologically significant land in Massachusetts. Its sanctuaries represent some of the most spectacular habitats in the Bay state, ranging from beaches and salt marshes on Cape Cod to woodlands and mountains in the Berkshires.
You can also see a Green roof at the Boston Children’s Museum, Massachusetts’ first green museum and the recipient of LEED Gold certification. Green rooves are covered in low-maintenance plants; they reduce water run-off, save energy, and improve air quality.
New Orleans and Louisiana
New Orleans is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA, drawing in millions of travellers each year. To help ensure the city can continue to welcome in these visitors each year in the most effective way, the official tourist board has published guidelines on how every guest can be a sustainable traveller when in New Orleans. It includes advice on alternative transport, how you can support local businesses and the best natural attractions to enjoy.
Leading the charge in New Orleans is the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO), the sixth largest convention facility in the USA. Winning the Overall Sustainability Leader Award in the Downtown NOLA Energy Challenge, the convention centre’s efforts not only improve sustainability, but also displays the ways the city of New Orleans is going green to the national stage.
While in the Crescent City visitors can stay at a green or eco-friendly hotel. The team at Global Green USA have helped compile a list of properties with environmentally friendly practices in place to conserve water, electricity and reduce their overall carbon footprint including Aloft New Orleans Downtown, B on Canal and Hotel Monteleone. These hotels make use reusing bath towels, getting shampoo out of a dispenser instead of a little plastic bottle, recycling water bottles, and turning the lights out in your room when you leave. Small requests that can make a huge impact on our world.
Local farms are providing food for restaurants and the community, while also creating events to connect people to their food along with educational programs such as Paradigm Gardens and Sugar Roots Farm.
@LouisianaTravel #FeedYourSoul @VisitNewOrleans #OneTimeInNOLA
Under Canvas has announced that it will open Under Canvas Acadia on the coast of Maine. Located in Surry, Maine just outside Acadia National Park, Under Canvas Acadia will welcome guests from May 2021. This marks the brand’s entry into waterfront glamping experiences, with 63 safari-style canvas accommodation tents on elevated decks with private ensuite bathrooms. The 100 acre site has more than 1,200 feet of coastline. The furnishings are from West Elm, and there will be a waterfront lobby tent and an expansive communal dining area, a gathering space and a waterfront yoga and events space. Acadia National Park is about a 35-minute drive from the new resort. Under Canvas says that 75% of the 100-acre site will remain undisturbed to keep a minimal footprint. The season for this camp is May 13 – October 31. www.undercanvas.com.
From sophisticated fine dining to casual beach fare, the Ocean House in Rhode Island offers a variety of restaurants that elevate traditional Rhode Island flavours into something entirely new. The Ocean House has strong philosophy in using sustainable, local ingredients that are seasonal, to give their dining rooms a strong farm-to-table culture. To enhance that experience, patrons are welcome to experience a unique selection of intimate epicurean events, tastings and immersive educational opportunities that invite active participation in the farm-to-table process. https://www.oceanhouseri.com/culinary
Sustainability and environmental responsibility are clearly mainstays in the global aviation industry and many airports worldwide are making changes to reduce their environmental footprint, anticipating the added benefit of reducing costs.
Solar panels are becoming more commonplace at airports and in Tennessee, Chattanooga airport reached a major milestone in becoming the first airport in the country to run completely on renewable energy from solar panels. This is a significant development, and Chattanooga seems to have addressed some of the unique challenges that airports face as they evaluate adding or expanding their use of solar panels, including the issue of glint and glare problems for pilots With the completion of the solar power farm, Chattanooga now runs 100% on renewable energy, which will provide cost benefits to the airport as well as making it a leader in environmental sustainability.
Nicknamed “Wild and Wonderful, West Virginia’s landscapes are just that. To highlight them further, 2021 will see the opening of Peter Pichler Architecture’s radical Tree Houses, located at Dawson’s Lake. The project will set the trend for high-spec, eco-sensitive forest bathing retreats.
The collection of sustainable cabins are perched above Dawson Lake, a spring-fed 40-foot lake surrounded by meadows, streams, and wetlands. Each treehouse is built between 35 sqm to 42 sqm, with the two-storey units housing a reading and lounge area on the ground floor, connected via an internal stairway to a bathroom and bedroom above. The surrounding trees of maple, oak and poplar variety have inspired the geometric designs and the sharp roof pitches. The treehouses have been built as to not obstruct the scenic surrounds from one another, with expansive windows allowing views across the forest, but oriented so that visitors only overlook the rear of another tree house from their accommodation. Local timber is sourced and used in the construction of the external walls and roofing, with rainwater being collected by individual tanks to maximise the sustainability of the treehouses’ design.
Being built in addition to a luxury hotel already on site, the treehouses are designed to set a new standard for environmentally conscious architecture and “slow down” tourism in West Virginia.
For visitors, the project is intended to maximise the connection between individuals and nature. The location is home to 100-acres of protected habitats for native species. The project aims to set a new standard for environmentally conscious architecture and “slow down” tourism in West Virginia. The treehouses will help return focus to the region’s natural beauty amidst the Appalachian Mountains, while respecting the protected land and native species. To do this, the structures are expected to meet the net-zero energy and environmental impact guidelines.
New construction includes a conference and event centre, plus a food and agriculture hub. Planned programming ranges from health and wellness proposals to educational workshops, art installations, and live performances, often focusing on the environment and ecology.
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