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Eco-Friendly Resorts Emerge As Core Impact Investment for Wealthy

Nov 6. 2019 Combining tourism with sustainable development goals has surfaced as a new investment avenue for family offices and wealthy investors seeking to make an impact.

By itself, tourism is a key driver of global economic growth. The industry contributes to roughly 10% of the world’s economy, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Much of that is concentrated in just 10 destinations, according to the Global Sustainability Dashboard, which strains the natural resources of these destinations to their limits.

Celebrities, wealthy families and experienced entrepreneurs are now stepping in to create new travel destinations with an emphasis on sustainability. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council certifies destinations as eco-friendly depending on the development team’s emphasis on encouraging visitors to participate in the community, conservation of natural resources and policies for supporting local businesses.

Perhaps the poster child for the movement is Oscar-winning actor and film producer Leonardo DiCaprio, who is expected to launch an eco-friendly resort in Belize next year. He purchased the island, Blackadore Caye, for $1.75 million in 2015, after years of coastline erosion and mangrove deforestation ruined its 104-acre ecosystem. DiCaprio’s plans include a research facility focused on climate data and “off-the-grid living homes” to revitalize the property.

The Marlon Brando estate owns and manages a similar eco-resort in the South Pacific. This year, The Telegraph called it the “best place to stay in French Polynesia.”

On the other side of the planet, Belgium’s de Linge family partnered with the Dream Hotel Group to redevelop a parcel owned by the princely family for more than 300 years. “The resort’s avant-garde, original design mixes old and new in an authentic experience that is respectful of the environment,” Belgium’s Prince Edouard de Ligne said in a statement announcing the family’s plans to launch the resort in 2020.

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