When you think of an ideal vacation, what’s the first thing that appears in your mind’s eye? If the image that pops up has water somewhere in the background or foreground, you’re part of the vast majority.
In a survey conducted in 2012, 52% of respondents worldwide said they planned to hit the beach within 12 months. In that same study, when asked if they could only take one trip that year, 33% voted for a beach vacation over visiting family. Five years after that study, this still held true – Statista found that 52% of American adults said sun-and-sand vacays were their faves, and 33% said all-inclusive vacation packages were the best … a category that nearly always also includes beaches. And in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, 75% of Americans surveyed still said that they’d go to the beach as a way to beat stress.
Clearly, it’s safe to say that our planet’s coasts are the world’s most treasured landscapes. Which should mean that treating them this way is a must.
The bad news is, we haven’t, and now those precious vistas and the communities built around them are at risk. According to research, both coral reefs and mangroves, critical coastal ecosystems and protectors of coasts, are quickly disappearing. 35% are estimated to have disappeared in the last few decades and, even if we manage to get climate change under control, we may still expect to lose 90% of coral reefs by 2030. Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is working to address these challenges and improve the health of these ecosystems.
Over the past several years, beginning in 2020, Iberostar announced a lofty and necessary goal of tangibly improving the ecosystems around all of their hotels by 2030, with clear goals and science-based initiatives powering their progress. Among these goals are:
● To get to 100% responsibly sourced fish and seafood for all properties by 2025, caring for marine ecosystems, fish populations in the ocean, and using local fisheries while supporting those already working in the industry
● To get to zero pounds of landfill waste by 2025 by “eliminating the concept of ‘waste’,” extending the life of products in their hotels, using reusable and recyclable materials
● To reach carbon neutrality by 2030 by using renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and offsetting emissions through protecting green spaces in their destinations
● To improve the health of ecosystems around their properties through research and restoration work with their own science team
… The last of which brings us back to the importance of coastal health. In more tangible ways Iberostar’s Wave of Change program is making an impact, here’s how you and your clients, their guests, can be a part of literally making our world a better place, coast by coast.
Coastal Dune Restoration
Coastal dunes are important parts of preserving those shores. Iberostar already has 9,000 coastal dune plants in care in three nurseries located in the Mexican Caribbean. Additionally, they are protecting and planting mangroves in front of their hotels in the Riviera Maya and Punta Cana. Among their three mangrove nurseries located in the Dominican Republic, they’ve taken under their stewardship 19,000 trees and manage three coastal dune nurseries.
Plus, they and their team of scientists and their partners, are working on the conservation of Mediterranean seagrass through the PosiGenome Project and working against climate change with the Climate Change Observatory.
Discover these mangrove areas at Iberostar Selection Paraíso Lindo or Iberostar Selection Paraíso Maya in Mexico.
Coastal Reef Restoration
Iberostar has a multinational coral reef restoration program in the Caribbean, with an on-land Coral Lab and seven underwater coral nurseries. Three are located in Mexico, three others are in Dominican Republic, and one is in Jamaica.
As part of this program, their team of scientists is conducting pioneering research in their coral laboratory in Punta Cana to see what species of coral are most resilient to climate change and hurricanes. You can visit the Coral Lab and get to know their science work, in addition to seeing live corals and discovering more about the importance of coral reefs.
See how they work and see these experiments up close at their Bávaro beachfront hotels: Iberostar Selection Bávaro Suites, Coral Level at Iberostar Selection Bávaro, Grand Iberostar Selection Bávaro, Iberostar Punta Cana and Iberostar Dominicana.
Regeneration of Green Spaces
In Spain, Iberostar is actively contributing to the regeneration of green spaces through conservation and restoration of native vegetation in destinations such as the Balearic Islands. Under the guidance of scientists, this project will help improve the health of guests as the greenery cleans the air, and also help to fight climate change, reduce water consumption, and protect biodiversity.
Get the kids involved! At Star Camp, they can learn and have fun with activities related to sustainability and even plant their own gardens. Find the best gardens in Mallorca at Iberostar Playa de Muro, in Andalusia at Iberostar Royal Andalus, in the Canary Islands at Iberostar Selection Lanzarote Park, in the Riviera Maya at Iberostar Tucán, or in Punta Cana at Iberostar Selection Bávaro Suites.
Being a Good Tourist
Working hand in hand with the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts are already boasting seafood menus populated by 78% sustainable sources with the end goal of reaching 100% in the next two years. In Mexico, 100% of their seafood is already responsibly sourced.
When dining at one of their properties, check out their responsible seafood options, best sampled with local flavors. And while you’re at it, try not to over-order at the table or let your eyes be bigger than your stomach at the buffets. Iberostar is working actively to reduce food waste thanks to AI-powered technology in 48 of their hotels. In the first half of 2022, the hotel chain has cut food waste by 28% in hotels with AI technology installed, saving over 735,000 meals.
Iberostar hotels are also free of single-use plastics and water bottles are provided for guests in the room. You can bring your own bottle too and refill it at water stations located throughout their hotels.
You can also work to leave a minimal carbon footprint of your own when visiting. Last year, Iberostar reduced emissions by 10% and energy consumption by 5.7%, and across all of the properties, that’s a savings of 6,000 homes’ annual energy expenditure in Iberostar’s home country of Spain! So turn off those lights, keep the A/C on at a reasonable temperature, and just stay cognizant of the energy you take up.
Treat yourself to their MSC and ASC certified restaurants: Papa Negra at Iberostar Heritage Grand Mencey, Grand Clavel at Iberostar Las Letras in Madrid, Ca’s Menestral at Iberostar Selection Paseo de Gracia, Astir at Iberostar Grand Hotel Portals Nous, Luz at Iberostar Selection Lisboa, El Faro at Coral Level at Iberostar Selection Bávaro, Il Forno at Iberostar Selection Bávaro Suites, Le Tourbillon and Casa de la Playa at Iberostar Grand Bávaro, Under the Sea and Lemon and Spices at Iberostar Selection Paraíso Lindo, and L’Atelier and Venecia at Iberostar Grand Paraíso.