Ideally, this attribute of the RARE Touchstones should cover a lot of things, hence we look at light footprint tourism from two perspectives. One is the impact on the environment, culture, land and its people even as a hotel is being designed and built and the second is the impact that is created by travellers who come to visit the destination and stay at the RARE property.
Our view that the land and resources first and foremost belong to the community and every hospitality project has to plan around this principle urges that a hotel, from its location to design is cognizant of the impact it can create. Often locational advantage is defined by its exclusivity in the case of wildlife lodges or urban stays rather than the fact that it further stresses the land and resources at a location inundated by previous projects. Design and keys are sensitive to local architecture rather than pandering to a business opportunity that devises numbers, services and features that take away what belongs to the local people.
The social, cultural, environmental and economic impact of unchecked tourism feeds mass tourism activities, challenges local cultural and environmental harmony, and places the economic benefits of travel in the hands of self-serving corporates with little or no vision for the development or sustaining the region. The results are often seen as places inundated with unchecked garbage, too many people insensitive to the local norms or lives, ugly buildings that disturb the landscape, usurp resources, flout local laws and cause irreparable damage to the environment. The result is a destination that looks nothing like what it promised at first and culture has taken over by the whims of a tourism economy built on the whims and demands of the traveller.
The second part of this is to curate and design experiences that respect people and the integrity of the destination. For this, experiences and explorations are built to celebrate the destination, understand local cultures and ensure that travellers leave no trace of their travel – especially those that change the character of the land or people. Often our hotels inspire travellers to learn about communities, local cuisines and traditions, appreciate local arts and crafts, participate in conservation ideas and contribute to the development of the community in terms of education, women empowerment and medical facilities.