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Every day is Earth Day for hotels and resorts worldwide—here is a look at the sustainable travel experiences offered by some of the top tourism brands this month and beyond. Knowledge is power: according to VisitorsCoverage, sustainability is a top factor with travelers when making their travel decisions—in fact, a full 75 percent qualified it as “very important.”

Marriott: Green Means Go

At W Punta de Mita Earth Day, initiatives and programs are celebrated year-round, including recyclable straws and take-out containers. Guests can participate in beach cleanups and activities like the Cocoa Ceremony to reconnect with Mother Earth. The Westin Puntacana Resort and Club has a reputation as a pioneer in local sustainability programs and your clients are encouraged to learn about the environment—they can visit the vegetable garden and pick fresh produce during the Sustainability Agriculture Tour or visit the recently remodeled Center for Marine Innovation and view coral reef restoration and conservation programs, turtle conservation, fish nurseries, take a guided nature walk and more. Mexico’s Aloft Tulum’s sustainability initiatives include the collection of caps to donate to kids with cancer, amenity dispensers in the rooms to prevent the use of plastics, intelligent energy systems and more. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, has a number of activities planned for the entire day on April 22, including involving your clients in a beach clean-up, kayaking through the mangroves with a team of Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment, smoothie biking and more. At the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, on-property clients can party and celebrate the occasion at Neon the Night Earth Day on the Bella Vista Terrace. At Puerto Vallarta’s newly refreshed Sheraton Buganvilias Resort and Convention Center, your clients are invited to participate in a beach clean-up and planting in the hotel garden. The hotel will also turn off most of its lights to participate in Earth Hour. There will be on-site craft workshops with recycled material for kiddos staying at the hotel.

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Sustainability is a Selling Point

Hawaii’s Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is only one of two LEED Gold-certified resorts on the island and is a leader in sustainability efforts. Some of their work includes repurposing cardboard, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, paper bags and corks to make toys for over 40 parrot species living on the property, donating untouched fruits and vegetables from banquets to the parrots as treats, installing one of the largest rooftop solar panel systems in Hawaii and much more.

Earth Day
Guests can paint bases for the coral farm at Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya (Photo by Andaz Mayakoba).

The swanky Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya in Mexico is a luxury property with projects that involve your clients, including coffee with the resort’s biologists to chat about the rehabilitation of the local coral reef that includes the decoration of one of the concrete bases used to hold the coral, a turtle conservation program with an authorized turtle camp (yes, guests can release the hatchlings!), use of electric boats and carts on their Eco-Cruises, a weekly hosted Andaz Explorers Bike Tour and more.

The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino Resort have an established Wildlife Ambassador program that focuses on animal welfare, a new curriculum at Camp Hyatt so kids can enjoy activities with the resort’s animal ambassadors, a “Meet the Caretakers” moment for guests and more. The current animal ambassadors include parrots, black swans and Japanese koi, with plans for expansion later this year. For clients who will be on-site on Earth Day, the resort invites them to join in a Coastal Cleanup for two hours of picking up trash and hiking along the island’s northern coast.

In the USVI, Lovango Resort & Beach Club is a luxury resort that keeps the environment at the forefront of its efforts. Some initiatives include the “Rescue to Restore” program with the University of the Virgin Islands Reef Response Program to create a coral nursery offshore, using solar and generator power throughout the resort, converting seawater to drinking water and more.

The Pacific Whale Foundation is running a program through April 23 where any of your clients of any PackWhale Eco-Adventures tour can submit hi-res photos of whale flukes to help with data collection and research on the species–for the chance to receive a complimentary excursion. Year-round, the foundation conducts research studies in Hawaii, Ecuador, Australia and Chile, after-school camps and educational programs for kids dreaming of a career in marine conservation, community beach cleanups and more.

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Conservation and Education

Fairmont Mayakoba has long been committed to sustainability and giving back to the planet and the community in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The resort has had a reef restoration program in place since May 2015 and has nurseries established with Oceanus AC, a local organization dedicated to reef conservation. Your clients can participate via a snorkel tour to get up close and personal with the coral reef restoration program. Earth Day activities are planned for the entire month of April, including reforestation and yoga excursion during your client’s stay and more.

Earth Day
Beach cabana at Mount Cinnamon Resort. (Photo by Ed Shepherd Photography)

Grenada’s luxury Mount Cinnamon Resort in the Caribbean focuses on environmentally friendly efforts such as energy conservation, recycling and using fresh herbs, fruits, flowers and vegetables from its garden. It is also the recipient of the Gold Green Globe Certification and sponsors the West Indies School of Hospitality (a portion of what your clients spend there goes towards scholarships for this educational program). All month long, resort guests can enjoy the company of Mount Cinnamon’s marine biologist and environmental sustainability consultant during the weekly general manager’s cocktail party and can participate in beach cleanups, plus the resort will refresh its local gardens so they can continue to provide fresh produce for its on-site restaurants.

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AmaWaterways Keeps Sustainability on Track

Earth Day
AmaMagna (Photo by AmaWaterways)

AmaWaterways has kept its eyes on the green prize ever since AmaKristina became the first river cruise ship in the industry to receive Europe’s Green Award—since then, 19 of its sister ships have gone on to join it. In addition, the line is currently testing a River Track Pilot navigation system to optimize fuel and is addressing food waste by converting breakfast and lunch buffets into a la carte restaurants—up-leveling service while reducing food waste by up to 30 percent.

In 2023, AmaMagna will debut energy-saving solar panels on the awnings of select staterooms to help with heating and cooling. The ship uses a unique diesel/electronic hybrid system that’s a first for this industry, which uses less fuel and creates less noise pollution while reducing fuel consumption by up to 20 percent—impressive for a ship its size.

In Africa, Zambezi Queen, is vying with AmaMagna for the “most eco-friendly ship” with its five-stage water purification system, which allows it to utilize the water from the Chobe River in showers and taps. Its jet propulsion system also keeps the riverbed from being damaged, and it uses battery power at night and low-emission generators by day.

AmaWaterays’ two new ships in Colombia, currently under construction, will carry on the company’s focus on sustainability and green practices as well as its emphasis on community enrichment in its ports of call, which has been part of its DNA since the company’s inception.

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Small Hotels, Big Impact

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La Zebra Tulum’s latest initiative: a sustainable aromatic plants & herb garden that utilizes its kitchen’s compost. (Photo by Colibri Boutique Hotels)

Tulum’s trendy Colibri Boutique Hotels—all of which are part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World—have launched a new Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiative titled “We Care” that builds on their already strong commitment to the land and the community that they call home. The plan includes protecting endangered turtles, planetarium visits, beach cleaning and recycling points.

At the head of the effort is Alejandra Cornejo, their in-house social responsibility manager.

“It is important to ask ourselves how we can be effective with ESG. At Colibri, we believe the solution must encompass everyone. We ask, how are we making the world a sustainable place for our staff, our guests, our community and our planet? The We Care program is our answer,” said Cornejo in a press statement.

The group comprises four hotels in Tulum—La Zebra, Mezzanine, Mi Amor and El Pez (currently closed)—and one in Nicaragua’s Little Corn Island, Yemaya (not a part of SLH). Of note: when you book a client in one Tulum hotel, they are welcome to use the facilities of all sister hotels.

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