Adventure Awaits Travel Blog | How To Plan A Vacation That Aligns With Your Values: 2023 Trends In Responsible Travel

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Shawna Gardham
By Shawna Gardham, Public & Media Relations Manager
In the Media7 February 2023


Original article by Jami Savage to Adventure Awaits Travel Blog

Today’s travellers have the opportunity and responsibility to embrace the theories of responsible travel and are encouraged to “lean in” to regenerative travel – planning trips that will truly have positive impacts on the places and people that they are visiting. Responsible travellers are aware of the negative effects of travel and are willing to plan a vacation that aligns with their values, seeking out more responsible ways to explore our beautiful world and make a positive impact in every way possible. Let’s explore how to plan a vacation that aligns with your values.

What is Responsible Travel?

Responsible travel is the act of understanding that being a traveller is a privilege and with that privilege comes responsibility. As travellers we can use our time, our dollars and our desire as a catalyst for positive change in the places and the people we visit. When done right, we can create massive positive change in these communities and countries.

6 actionable ways we can be more responsible travellers and how to plan a vacation that aligns with your values:
  • Investing in eco-friendly experiences
  • Staying at locally owned eco-friendly accommodations
  • Eating and shopping local
  • Supporting certified companies
  • Reducing your carbon footprint
  • Volunteering on vacation

What is Regenerative Travel?

Regenerative travel is a newer trend in tourism that strives for travellers to contribute to improving the environment, benefiting local cultures and communities, and making positive changes in the places that they visit. Simply put, “The places you visit are better off because you came” (and so are you).

Wickaninnish Inn – with the land, for the land

Wickaninnish Inn by Simone Mondino

Perched on the edge of the mighty Pacific Ocean you’ll find one of Tofino’s oldest, and most cherished resorts – the Wickaninnish Inn. A world-class Relais & Châteaux property, the Inn has been designed to welcome guests to experience the majesty that is Clayoquot Sound, to become one with the sacred land, and to integrate and immerse themselves in the experience wholeheartedly.

The Inn’s story began 68 years ago when the McDiarmid family moved to Tofino. Only accessible by plane or boat, Tofino was a remote community, on a rugged west coast with a small coastal community. While their family had planned to stay a few years, their love for Chesterman Beach and the way the waves never stop kissing the shore led the family to settle down, and in 1996 open up their own Inn.

Built on a foundation of deep respect for the environment, Charles McDiarmid (now Managing Director) and his family envisioned a resort experience that was with the land, and for the land, preserving as much of the beauty and natural integrity as possible. A property that would immerse the guest into the experience of the wild west coast from inside their room right through to providing them with boots to head outside and walk the rocky shores.

We live in an area that is one of the most beautiful places on the planet – surrounded by an old-growth temperate rainforest with First Nations history that goes back 10,000 years. We have a National Park at our doorstep, and we’re in a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) biosphere reserve. We look out on the mightiest ocean on the planet. If those elements don’t make you want to respect the environment, nothing will.” – Charles McDiarmid

Rooted in sustainability before it was a tourism trend, the Inn has led the way in prioritizing the integrity and sustainability of the environment at the forefront of its operations. When the Inn was being designed the on-site trees were surveyed to assist with the placement of structures. The natural underbrush was hand cleared by Charles and his brother Bruce to ensure that as much vegetation could be protected and preserved. The Western Red Cedars and Sitka Spruce trees that had to be removed can now be seen inside the Inn, as part of the textured walls of the lobby, Driftwood Café and Lookout Library. So if you are looking at how to plan a vacation that aligns with your values at the Wickaninnish Inn, here is why you should be planning your trip.

Sustainability Committee

Wickaninnish on the Beach Building Lobby

The hotel has an active sustainability committee whose focused mission is: “The Wickaninnish Inn is dedicated to the journey toward sustainable tourism because it is the right thing to do. We are committed to maintaining the highest environmental practices while delivering value to our guests, a safe workplace for our employees, and a lasting legacy for our families and community.” Some of their initiatives include supporting organizations like Soap for Hope to help upcycle used products, composting practices and mechanical upgrades for reduced emissions. Speaking of emissions, the Inn has installed EV charging stations to help reduce emissions for those commuting to and from the Inn.

Sustainability Certifications

he Inn is a leader in sustainability and has earned a variety of industry certifications including:

Green Key Eco-Rating Program: They have achieved the highest 5 key status by employing innovative technologies, policies, and programs that set the international standard for sustainable hotels.

Sustainable Tourism: Every two years the Wickaninnish Inn is graded on over 80 criteria, and consistently achieves gold certification through the Sustainable Tourism Program, the world’s largest and most credible sustainability certification for tourism businesses.

Green Leader Business: The Inn has achieved a green-level score for at least 3 consecutive years as scored through the Vancouver Island Green Business Collective.

Ocean Friendly Business: The Inn has been awarded for its initiatives to reduce its plastic footprint. “As stewards of the environment, the Inn is committed to continuing to implement reusable wares and technology and adopt measures that divert waste that could end up in our oceans.”

Follow this link to read more about the Inn’s sustainability practices.

Investing in local art

Walking through the Inn you’ll see an array of artwork on display ranging from paintings, statues, carvings, and sculptures, some of which may be available for purchase. The families’ passion for art and for supporting local artisans has resulted in two permanent features including the Henry Nolla Art Gallery, which is an onsite art exhibit that features 3 – 4 artists at a time, showcasing their work to guests. There is also an onsite local artisan who has a workshop on the property, providing artists with a place to create and showcase their work. Guests are welcome to walk down to the workshop and meet with the artist, see what projects they are currently working on, and hear their stories.

Giving back to the community

The team at the Inn is passionate about giving back to the community. From beach clean-ups to golf tournaments that have raised over $120,000 for local high school athletics, to donating funds for festivals in Tofino, to their Surfriders Sessions Gala which raised over $60,000 for the local Pacific Rim Surfrider Foundation. They live and believe it is best to “give where you live” and showcase their leadership in supporting the community year-round.

Welcoming all family members - dogs need vacations too!

Family is the heart of the Wickanannish Inn’s story and they recognize that no holiday is complete without all members of the family being able to take part. Therefore dogs are not only welcome at the Inn but they get VIP service including customized welcome emails, personalized amenities package, and paw-friendly beach towels after chasing sticks on the beach (to name a few!).

Always looking to improve

Leadership is not only doing what you can now, but it’s looking ahead to create a brighter future. “We aim to be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.” – Charles McDiarmid

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