There is no one way—or reason—to travel. But in recent years, the concept of responsible tourism has emerged as a major concern for sojourners of all sorts, and people are increasingly prioritizing ethical, sustainable approaches to exploring far-off corners of the world. Beyond Green, an innovative and eco-driven hospitality brand from Preferred Hotel Group, is helping conscious-minded travellers do just that.
Each of Beyond Green’s 27 founding member hotels, resorts, and lodges is committed to honoring the three pillars of sustainability: nature, community, and culture. In Namibia, this looks like the &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, a solar-powered, grey-water-recycling oasis nestled in the heart of the world’s oldest living desert. At Italy’s Borgo Pignano estate, visitors discover the magic of regenerative agriculture, enjoying fresh, seasonal cuisine with ingredients from the lush fields of the Tuscan countryside. And Kenya’s &Beyond Bateleur Camp values community above all; in addition to supporting local conservation efforts, it collaborates with Maasai villagers on education and health care initiatives like their COVID-19 food relief program.
For the mindful traveller, this all may seem too good to be true. But Beyond Green has strict standards. To be considered for Beyond Green membership, a property must prove itself to be a leader in sustainable tourism by passing an initial—then biennial—on-site inspection by founder and world-renowned consultant on sustainable tourism Costas Chris, or a sustainability expert from Beyond Green Travel. Member properties don’t just prioritize the well-being of the environment and local culture, supporting staff with fair wages and benefits—they also demonstrate progress in meeting global sustainable tourism standards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This is no easy feat when you consider that more than 50 such indicators exist, from reducing carbon emissions to restoring and conserving the natural habitats around a given locale.
But that’s what sets Beyond Green apart: its emphasis on both sustainable and responsible tourism. The United Nations distinguishes between the two, defining sustainable tourism as “the management of all resources in a manner that economic, social, and aesthetic needs are fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biodiversity, and life-support systems.” Responsible tourism “maximizes the benefits to local communities, minimizes negative social or environmental impacts, and helps local people conserve fragile cultures and habitats.” Beyond Green is the first large-scale tourism brand to pursue both with equal enthusiasm, cultivating experiences that support conservation efforts while also fostering education and global community.
“The question is no longer whether we can transform travel based upon sustainable tourism principles and practices to be a powerful force for saving nature, regenerating ecosystems, and providing tangible social and economic benefits to local people….This is now happening, as represented by Beyond Green members,” Christ says. “Rather, the most important question is: How can travellers help make sustainability the new normal around the world while also having a great vacation?”