The Most Unique Eco-Initiatives From Hotels and Resorts This Year | Departures

Originally published by Departures.

Every year, the demand for ecotourism grows, and with it, resorts look to raise their eco-friendly bar. This year was no exception, with more properties around the world chasing carbon neutrality, embracing solar technology, and making their hotels more sustainable while simultaneously improving guests’ experience.

That’s the most striking thing about a well-placed eco-initiative: If executed properly, ecotourism doesn’t deter guests or reduce their experience in any way—on the contrary, a smart eco initiative enhances your stay. It’s not just doing away with single-use plastics, like straws or drink garnishes. It’s not just taking a private island and cutting down the number of products brought from the shore to reduce gas usage. It’s using the island’s naturally replenishing resources to create menu offerings and cocktail accoutrements that guests have never seen—and ultimately creating something better than the imported alternative.

Our honorees for unique eco-initiatives highlight properties that put sustainability at the forefront of their agendas, with deliberate regard for how it will impact their visitors’ experience. Their understanding of how tourism can astronomically drive up travelers’ carbon footprint has prompted them to reduce and reuse at every possible turn.

Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Fairmont Mayakoba, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts partner, launched a recent initiative that involves recent eco-initiative is all about involving their guests in the preservation of the region’s coral reef. In partnership with Oceanus A.C., they now offer snorkeling tours to one of the three nurseries in Puerto Morelos’ National Reef Park. While snorkeling, tour participants gather healthy coral fragments detached by the marine current’s force. The segments of coral guests collect are then transplanted at the bottom of the sea to continue their habitual growth.