Travelers today are no longer seeking just pure leisure on their getaways. They want to make a difference.
As demand increases for holidays that promote environmentally conscious and sustainable travel across the globe, luxury tour operator Scott Dunn has put together a list of some of the world’s leading eco-hotels and philanthropic experiences, where guests can travel whilst gaining insight into vital work done by charities and NGOs.
BOOKS NOT BOMBS, LAOS
Books may be aplenty for many children, but sadly they are a luxury few in Laos can afford. Another issue impacting the lives of those in rural areas is unexploded bombs. An estimated 30% of the 270 million bombs dropped on the country during the Vietnam War remain unexploded, maiming and killing people even years after the war ended.
The Books Not Bombs experience offers an insight into the people and organisations trying to make a positive impact in Laos, by bringing the joys of reading to children whilst educating communities about the danger of unexploded bombs. The day will include a visit to a public library, which has its own tuk-tuk and boats to deliver books, and visitors will get to spend time at the UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) Visitor Center, before finishing off at the Big Brother Mouse, a non-profit publishing project.
SALAAM BAALAK WALK, DELHI, INDIA
Immerse yourself in the colourful sights, smells and sounds of Delhi on a guided walk through the city, led by a young adult who used to live on the streets before joining the Salaam Baalak Trust. The tour will offer a unique perspective into this bustling city, exploring the streets of Paharganj and the area around the New Delhi railway station, while at the same time empowering a programme which provides care for street and working children.
MEET A LANDMINE EXPERT, CAMBODIA
Travellers can spend an afternoon at the Landmine Museum with specialist guide Stephane De Greef, an expert in mine clearance in Cambodia who has worked for organizations such as Handicap International, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and several more, to learn about the significant impact landmines have had on Cambodia.
LIZARD ISLAND, AUSTRALIA
Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island is Australia’s premier island resort – a secluded haven offering no less than 24 exquisite white sand beaches and access to some of the world’s most stunning dive sites. Since its inception, the resort has shown an unwavering commitment to protecting, nurturing and maintaining its harmonious relationship with the diverse ecosystem and surrounding reef. The hotel is perfect for travellers looking for world-class diving and snorkelling, while learning all about the diverse Great Barrier Reef and efforts to maintain it.
SIX SENSES CON DAO, VIETNAM
Six Senses Con Dao is the epitome of barefoot luxury, with its stunning beachfront property meticulously designed using sustainable materials to ensure that the island’s untouched beauty is carefully maintained. The resort is committed to improving its carbon footprint and protecting marine life, as well as supporting local communities by supplying students with clean mineral water. It further extends its community outreach to neighbouring islands by offering swimming lessons and education on the dangers of the ocean, as well as ways to protect the environment.
ME TO WE LODGE: ARAVELI, INDIA
One of India’s most inspiring and innovative lodges, the Me To We Lodge in Araveli, India gives travellers the opportunity to explore Rajasthan’s vibrant culture and breathtaking landscape, while making a positive impact. The immersive tented camp works alongside WE Charity, an organization that supports the livelihoods of local families through sustainable development projects. A three-night programme is the best way to get involved, and can include learning Hindi, block printing, village walks, sunrise yoga and helping with any of the WE Charity projects, such as building local schools or health care centers.
SONEVA KIRI, THAILAND
Thailand is known for its pristine white sand beaches and crystal blue water, but Soneva Kiri takes it up a notch with its cutting-edge eco efforts. The hotel’s commitment to the environment includes moving towards the use of renewable energy, a coral restoration project, which has discovered over 69 different species of fish, as well as banning the use of plastic bottled water. The team at Soneva Kiri use only locally sourced ingredients, and also produce cheese and grow mushrooms on the hotel grounds. The exclusive beachfront, paired with its luxurious rooms and contribution to the environment, makes Soneva Kiri a must visit for those looking for a sustainable holiday, without compromising on style.
NIHI SUMBA, INDONESIA
Formerly known as Nihiwatu, the exclusive luxury eco-lodge, Nihi Sumba, is one of the few resorts in the world that runs entirely on biofuel. Since its inception, Nihi Sumba has been committed to sustainability at its core, from serving produce sourced from its organic garden and protecting the island’s turtles with a hatchery, to preserving the unique local culture through the Sumba Foundation. Nihi Sumba is 90% run by local Sumbanese, with the aim of empowering the local communities on the island.