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Tortuga Bay Puntacana Resort
Courtesy/Punta Cana Resort and Club
Tortuga Bay

Booking a truly sustainable hotel is not as easy as it sounds

Member exclusive by Rosie Spinks

The unavoidable reality about “luxury sustainable tourism” is that, strictly speaking, it doesn’t exist.

Sure, you can stay in a beachside hotel that has ditched single-use plastic and composts its food waste, but as James Cook University professor of tourism and sustainable development Gianna Moscardo once put it, “luxury tourism is based on conspicuous consumption, extravagant amenities and facilities, and personal indulgence—and a belief that these should not be sacrificed.”

That said, we don’t live in a zero sum world, and I’m guessing you still want to go on vacation. So even if you’ll never find a completely sustainable option, there’s good reason to still look for a hotel or resort that is doing minimal harm to the place you’re visiting. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly straightforward either.