Lifestyle Travel 19 Aug 2017 So, let's talk ...
The writer is an author, speaker, trainer, consultant, an entrepreneur and an expert in applied sustainability. Visit: www.CBRamkumar.com.

So, let's talk green: Who says luxury holidays can’t be sustainable!

Published Aug 19, 2017, 5:06 am IST
Updated Aug 19, 2017, 7:04 am IST
Offer them an experience that they can never get in their homes and watch them sit up with childlike excitement.
Diesel powered yachts and boats will soon be shunned by travellers as they opt for clean travel with minimum impact on the planet
 Diesel powered yachts and boats will soon be shunned by travellers as they opt for clean travel with minimum impact on the planet

A clean luxury holiday sounds like an oxymoron! A holiday in itself is seems like an indulgence, in countries where poverty and hunger are every day events. On top of that if it is a luxury holiday, then the indulgence climbs to Himalayan proportions. This is also evident when we see some of the luxury resorts with large bath tubs and rain showers enticing guests to consume resources more than they should. In fact talking about water, a UNEP study says that guests at resorts and hotels consume 7 to 9 times more water than residents of the area! So when it comes to 'luxury', 'indulgence' seems to be a twin brother. 

Increasingly, guests are becoming aware of larger issues surrounding sustainability, climate change and environmental impact and are demanding 'less' for 'more'. There is mounting evidence that guests are willing to pay more for zen style resorts and rooms. Where they are greedy about is for 'experiences' that they will gain from these zen spaces. 'Experiential luxury' seems to be the demand will rule the future. In other words, offer a room with 90 inch LED TV's, Persian carpets, Italian marble, champagne and caviar, and you will find guests yawning, as they have all this and more in their homes. Offer them an experience that they can never get in their homes and watch them sit up with childlike excitement. Throw in a genuine concern that your resort is sensitive to Mother Earth with evidence of a sustainability policy with detailed execution in place, and you have a winner on your hands. I speak from experience of starting and running a 100% eco resort called Our Native Village in Bangalore for more than a decade. 

 

I can say with conviction that guests appreciate a holiday destination which is sustainability minded. This helps remove the guilt of travel and indulgence to an extent. Most aware guests, and this number is growing rapidly in the information age that we live in, know that they are contributing to global warming by burning fossil fuels when they travel, that result in greenhouse gas emissions leading to extreme climate events. But whenever guests are given an option of a low carbon mode of accommodation or a zero-carbon mode of transport, they are thrilled. 

 

So imagine a yachting holiday without the smell of diesel fumes. Imagine travelling to an island resort on a motor boat without the guilt of burning diesel. Maldives as an example has more than 170 luxury yachts and hundreds of motor boats that run on diesel. The over 500 resorts, hotels and guests houses all depend on motor boats to ferry guests, food and goods to their premises and back. Maldives consumes more than 2.5 million barrels of crude oil, and you can be sure that a lot of this is used by motor boats. Is it possible for boats to not burn fossil fuels? 

 

Enter the solar-powered Soel Yacht SoelCat 12. A proof that it is possible to run boats without fossil fuels. The solar-powered Soel Yacht SoelCat 12 was designed by architect Joep Koster and business partner Czap. With its two 60 kWh lithium-ion batteries, the total battery capacity is 120 kWh. That means the SoelCat 12 can operate for 6 hours at 8 knots, with a maximum speed of 14 knots. Direct sun prolongs the duration to 7.5 hours. A "break-even speed" of 6 knots stretches the capacity to 24 hours, including at night (when there is no energy harvest from the solar array). Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Vehicle to Home (V2H) technology are intelligently built-in feature, which turn your water vessel into a mobile power station able to power homes up to 15kVA. After cruising all day long on a sunny lake or sea, the SoelCat 12 can deliver power for up to 5 households in the evening, even in the most remote of places. You connect and manage your solar energy SoelCat 12 through your smart device (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.) on the craft's guest Wi-Fi. 

 

Diesel powered yachts and boats will soon be shunned by travellers as they opt for clean travel with minimum impact on the planet. The demand for clean luxury has started. Do you want to listen? 

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