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RESOURCES: PAPERS & PRESENTATIONS
|Derek Robbins & Justyna Gaczorek
|School/Work Place :
|Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
This paper examines the relationship between luxury and sustainability in tourism using a case study of the Soneva Group, which has two luxurious eco resorts in Maldives and Thailand. The aim of this paper is to determine whether luxury and sustainability can be compatible in tourism accommodation.
The secondary research establishes definitions of luxury and sustainability as well as a review on the sustainability performance of the luxury tourism accommodation sector. It suggests that there is a clear positive correlation between the degree of luxury and the consuption of water and electricity and with increased CO2 emissions. The primary research evaluates consumer opinion on the Soneva product exploring perceptions of both luxury and sustainable practice based on analysis of 292 reviews of Soneva resorts posted by visitors on review websites.
Consumers have a simplistic notion of sustainability and seek a sanitised experience in eco-resorts. Soneva fulfills the demand for luxury and a ‘Robinson Crusoe experience’ and uses sustainability as a part of its marketing strategy, which revolves around its flagship SLOW LIFE philosophy. However conflicts between luxury and sustainability remain. Soneva finds it easier to focus on carbon offsetting, CRS strategies and recycling, whilst the key challenges of high carbon emissions and local sourcing remain. The practices at the resorts go beyond marketing gimmicks and the company achieves better sustainability performance in terms of energy consumption than most luxury resorts, and demonstrates examples of good practice and evidence of real intent. However it remains an example of ‘work in progress’.