Yum Balisi Resorts are steeped in nature-based ecotourism; tourism which involves education and interpretation of the natural environment and is culturally and ecologically sustainable. It can be typically defined as travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Yum Balisi augments this definition with luxury accommodations and services, effectively creating an ecological luxury experience in a sustainable resort.
Sustainability relies on “Tourism that meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future”. (TIES) Some of the characteristics of responsible tourism are:
- Minimizes negative economic, environmental and social impacts.
- Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well being of host communities.
- Makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage embracing diversity.
- Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues.
- Is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence
Public awareness of environmental issues helped to create this market. Consumer demand has since made eco tourism and sustainable development mainstream. Protected areas around the world are increasingly seen as resort destinations and many operators are scrambling to understand sustainability in order set up small luxury resorts in these areas. Celebrities and the super wealthy have entered this market and frequently spare no expense in creating their own luxury eco-brand.
Today’s affluent traveler is looking for individuality and a meaningful environmental and cultural experience. However, all luxury travel research indicates that individual comforts come first. Luxury and comfort brings the guest the first time – a unique, meaningful experience brings them back.
From a developer’s perspective, there are many economic, social, environmental, and even institutional benefits of sustainable development; however, the three things needed to create an unforgettable luxury eco experience – high quality environments, excellent design, and appropriate level of services:
- Unique product with exclusive market niche
- Reduced design and capital costs
- Increased market value
- Increased profit points within the resort
- Reduced operating costs over the life of the buildings
- Reduced building footprint
- Streamlined approval process
- Partnerships with NGO’s and funding opportunities
Issues such as climate change, regulatory risks, environmental degradation, waste management, and responsiveness to local communities should be addressed by every developer; those who don’t run the risk of losing market share and investor interest.