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All-inclusive resorts might be the most sustainable way to travel


(CNN) — Picture the scene.

A beach heaving with bodies. Sunbeds racked up alongside the pool. High tower blocks of rooms, one packed on top of another. Tourists clustered round the buffet. All in a complex gated off from the local community.

A classic example of the kind of travel that devastates the environment and gives nothing back to local communities? Hell for those of us who like to think of ourselves as responsible travelers?

Think again. According to experts in sustainable tourism, the all-inclusive package holiday could be the sustainable vacation of the future.

“In the past, package holidays — particularly all-inclusive — have been regarded as the least sustainable way to travel,” says Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel.

But he says that all-inclusive resorts have the “potential” to be a highly sustainable way to accommodate mass tourism.

“Done the right way, there’s a real need for it,” he says.

Jeremy Sampson, CEO of the UK-based Travel Foundation, agrees. “I don’t think there’s a reality where everyone just goes to ecotourism lodges,” he says. “It’s not really feasible and doesn’t help destinations shift the pressure in other ways.

“In most cases, the infrastructure in ‘precious’ places isn’t that prepared, so there’s absolutely a place for mass tourism — we just have to think about doing it a lot better.”

So could a pile-’em-high, cram-the-sunbeds-in beach holiday really be the green way to travel we’ve all been looking for?

Transport is already moving…



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