Does luxury travel have to destroy the environment?

Discussion in 'Luxury Hotels' started by JohnBrian, May 12, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Do people here believe in Sustainable luxury travel? Do use pay for carbon emissions?
    Do you try to use locally based hotels and hotels that use the community or is this not part of luxury
     
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  2. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    Hi JohnBrian,

    I think there are really complicated issues surrounding travel. I just returned from the Park Hyatt Maldives and that property takes great pains to preserve its ecosystem and limit its footprint. They don't replace toileteries daily, in fact they have jars of toileteries and not plastic and they refill those. They purify and bottle their own water and use reusable glass bottles -- not plastic.

    I tend to see things like carbon offsets as feel-good efforts with little effect, there's little to suggest that writing a check or adding a fee does anything real for the environment. When was the last time anyone who paid one of these fees looked into the efficacy of the charity they were supporting, what the efforts entailed and whether those efforts were scientifically sound? They are brilliant ideas, but I'm skeptical they do much other than allow us to pay a fee to feel as though we're absolving ourselves of our sins.

    One thing I do feel pretty good about is award travel -- at the saver level - because there you're truly taking seats at the margin that would be flying empty otherwise rather than generating incremental impact (there is the smallest incremental fuel burn to support your weight, but at that level you're consuming less than you would be by driving in the neighborhood.. or even walking).

    Complicated issues, lots of high-end luxury places cater now to an environmental ethic and you can certainly go out of their way to choose those!

    The question I wrestle with for myself is whether there's any material difference on the environment or whether it's just selling us something, a story to tell ourselves that lets us pat ourselves on the back.
     
  3. pointshogger

    pointshogger Silver Member

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    When we think of eco-friendly items, they are generally more expensive than non-eco-friendly items. If eco-friendly stuff was cheaper, we would all be buying it.

    There is a great opportunity for hotels to have eco-friendly products, services (e.g. optional 500 Starpoints for the Green initiative), and infrastructure (e.g. building construction), etc. in place, while maintaining the luxury style. Some hotels have already done a great job, but for sure there is an opportunity for more to be done.
     
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  4. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    It's easy for a price to be cheaper when someone else pays for the externalities that transaction for goods/service created. Pollution is the classic example of this.
     
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  5. magmax

    magmax Member

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    @gleff
    I am afraid that you are forgetting about a very important fact in this matter. If you book an award ticket and board the plane the airline still needs to load extra fuel for you taking this flight. If you are not flying you they are not loading any additional fuel for you. So in fact booking award tickets is not helping the environment at all because the main factor (co2 emission by burning fuel) is still existent. You are only helping the airline to decrease their dept in FF miles (if its their own loyalty program) or earn money (if its a program of an allied airline which is paying for the award ticket).
     
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  6. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Actually, not forgetting about it!

    The environmental argument against flying isn't the incremental fuel per passenger, that amount is very very small. Most of the fuel burned lif the plane itself, and is burned carrying the aircraft and indeed the rest of the fuel that will be burned throughout the flight.

    The environmental argument is that flying overall, not that the extra fuel per passenger, contributes to CO2 emissions.

    My point was that different passengers play a greater role in that than others, that at the margin full fare passengers are going to be drivers of the flight itself while award passengers will tend to be more at the margin hitching a ride on flights that are going to take off regardless.

    It was meant a little bit tongue-in-cheek, more to illustrate the point about average vs marginal contribution.
     
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