- TIES Overview
- Our Mission
- Our Members and Partners
- Our Team
- Project Summaries
- Annual Reports
- Our Story
- What is Ecotourism?
- TIES Lifetime Achievement Award
- Employment Opportunities
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact Us
- TIES Overview
- Find Members
- Certification and Standards
- Climate Change and Tourism
- Indigenous Knowledge
- Job Board
- Get Involved
- Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference
- Opportunities for Professionals
- Opportunities for Travelers
- Opportunities for Students
- Become a Sponsor
- Become an ecoDestinations Sponsor
- Sponsor TIES ecoAuction
- Connect to us
- TIES News
- Industry News
- Member News and Projects
- Browse by Region
- Newsletter Archive
- eNewsletter Sign Up
- For Members
What Does Luxury Mean for Eco-Tourists?
Our current issue article series this week focuses on the concept of "luxury" in ecotourism. What does luxury mean to you, as an eco-tourist, or from the perspective of an ecotourism business or destination? What are some examples of ecolodges and eco-destinations incorporating "luxury" into the experiences they offer? What kind of luxury do eco-tourists seek? Head over to TIES-EXCHANGE to add your comments and ideas related to this topic! (Member log-in required)
Some may consider "luxury ecotourism" an oxymoron. However, many businesses and destinations that focus on ecotourism have incorporated the ideas and images of "luxury" into the tours they offer, targeting those travelers seeking socially and environmentally responsible vacations, who also look for authentic, comfortable, customized, private, unique (...and many other ways "luxury" might be interpreted by eco-tourists) experiences.
"Five-Star" Approaches to Camping
Contrary to what some may believe, ecotourism is not limited to "roughing it in the jungle" and is certainly not synonymous with camping in the wild (though there are, of course, great "roughing in the jungle" and "camping in the wild" ecotourism opportunities for those who seek these types of activities). Some ecotourism companies have taken the concept of camping to a different level to create modern, eco-friendly, comfortable – or luxurious – yet down-to-earth experiences.
- At Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, in the Clayoquot Sound World Biosphere Reserve Area (British Columbia, Canada), sustainability meets luxury in the breathtaking natural setting of pristine temperate rainforest. Clayoquot has been described by The New York Times as "the ultimate glamping experience".
- Ecocamp Patagonia, in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, is the first of its kind in the Patagonian wilderness, offering upscale camping in Geodesic domes inspired by the region’s ancient nomadic inhabitants and designed to be naturally low-impact. National Geographic Traveler has selected Ecocamp Patagonia for its "Stay List" for the most authentic and sustainable hotels in South America.
Luxury in Eco-Accommodations
Many hotels and ecolodges combine luxury and ecotourism to make for a great vacation. Here are a few examples of TIES business members offering luxury eco-accommodations:
- Feynan Ecolodge (Jordan), a solar-powered and candle-lit lodge in a stunning natural setting of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, provides, in the words of its owner, "luxury but not opulence", by actively contributing to conservation and implementing smart practices to utilize resources, while at the same time offering comfortable and rejuvenating stays.
- Lapa Rios Ecolodge (Costa Rica) is comprised of solar-powered bamboo and wood bungalows with queen-size platform beds with mosquito netting, hardwood flooring and stone-laid bathrooms all within a private rainforest reserve protecting raw, untouched nature.
- The Harmony Hotel (Costa Rica) offers a combination of luxury, nature, wellness and sustainability, with conscious efforts to support and engage the local community and surrounding environment, while catering to surfers, yoga enthusiasts, honeymooners and families.
- La Selva Amazon Ecolodge and Spa (Ecuador) is an exclusive ecolodge and spa with excursions into the one of the most bio-diverse forests on earth. Its amenities include big suites with panoramic windows, a butterfly spa, and new gourmet restaurant with local organic ingredients.
A Different Kind of Luxury
Luxury for eco-tourists can mean more than amenities, accommodation types, or access to creature comforts. Eco-luxury can be simple and unique experiences in nature-based and cultural tourism that add to the pleasure of traveling without negatively impacting the environment. For example, TIES member Spirit of Japan offers a collection of private tours across Japan, focusing on local expertise, knowledge, and traditions. Tour groups are kept small in order to ensure quality of service and comfort, and the company's strong ties with local communities mean that the visitors will have "exclusive" hands-on experiences such as traditional crafts making, local festivals and customs, and cooking, as well as tasting, local specialties.
Photo credits: (From left) Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Lapa Rios Ecolodge, Spirit of Japan