At Caresse Bodrum, an ‘eco-luxe’ approach is wooing a new generation of Gulf nationals

  • Young high-net-worth individuals eschew ostentation in favour of an ‘eco-luxe’ aesthetic
  • The Turkish resort is embracing its environmental credentials as United Nations designates 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
  • Rising environmental awareness coupled with the cachet of ‘eco’ destinations is driving demand for ethical tourism, says the manager of an exclusive Turkish hotel.

Makis Antonatos, General Manager of Caresse Bodrum—a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, said younger Gulf nationals are increasingly attracted by elements such as sustainably sourced produce and authentic cultural experiences that support local communities.

“Guests from the Middle East are starting to become more conscious in terms of sustainability, and we have systems in place to conserve water, recycle waste and minimise energy use, enabling us to reduce our overall carbon footprint,” he said.

“We are receiving more questions from our customers regarding these types of initiatives – they appreciate these aspects and some are even starting to make it a determining factor before booking.”

Over the years, ostentatious properties have slowly fallen out of favour with the rise of the more design-savvy, cosmopolitan customers, who have grown weary of the glitz and gilt favoured by their parents’ generation.

At Caresse Bodrum, the vibe is one of rustic chic, with pared down palettes, abundant greenery and finishes of fine woodgrain and stone. Located on a secluded peninsula in an area of unspoilt natural beauty, it’s a world away from the city centre’s dated properties built in the 1970s. The area of Bodrum has seen the evolution of travel trends catering to a variety of needs from serving as a popular local Turkish holiday destination, to an international hub for luxury escapes.  

Seasonal activities include hiking, making homemade confit from the property’s famed, locally grown tangerines, local crafts, sailing and line-caught fishing.

Antonatos added: “As a property, we pay close attention to detail and are acutely aware of the experiences demanded by today’s high-net-worth holidaymakers. I believe that the trend towards boutique eco resorts will continue.”

The United Nations has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, highlighting the sector’s potential to advance the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The initiative aims to foster a change in policies, business strategies and consumer behaviour within the sector towards more sustainable practices, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, aims of which include ensuring that “all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.”

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said: “This is a unique opportunity to build a more responsible and committed tourism sector that can capitalise [on] its immense potential in terms of economic prosperity, social inclusion, peace and understanding, cultural and environmental preservation.”

Accounting for 7% of worldwide exports, one in 11 jobs and 10% of the world’s GDP, the tourism sector – if well managed – can foster inclusive economic growth, social inclusiveness and the protection of cultural and natural assets.