family walking on the ranch at The Lodge at Blue Sky, photo ©richardschultz2018

News in Travel: Sustainable Travel Utah Mountain Retreat

When you’re looking for an immersive travel experience rather than a place to rest your head at night while you spend all day “somewhere else,” then The Lodge at Blue Sky in Wanship, Utah, “gets” you. The mountain retreat sits on 3,500 acres in the Wasatch Mountains, has 46 rooms and suites, and has caught the attention of The World’s 50 Best Hotels. They recently announced The Lodge at Blue Sky as the inaugural winner of the Lavazza One to Watch Award.

According to the press release, they singled out the hotel for “its understated elegance, positive interaction with the environment, and one-of-a-kind offer of outdoor adventure.” They suggest that this may be the future of sustainable travel.

The owners designed the property to be a sustainable luxury resort where you get outdoor showers with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, grass roofs, and accommodations built into the landscape. You can do yoga, go horseback riding and fly fishing, or jump on a helicopter to take you to the slopes in winter. And yes, you can sleep.

The Lodge at Blue Sky was also named by the Kiwi Collection as a hotel where “do not disturb” has been elevated. Guests can enjoy the Edge Sanctuary and partake in Energy Journeys and Chakra Sleep Rituals.

If you’re curious about what you can do at the resort near Park City, Utah, visit their Instagram Stories, which share itineraries that include curated wellness experiences. Imagine taking your family on a 6-day Family Escape that includes spending time with the animals of Gracie’s Farm, the female-run organic farm at The Lodge at Blue Sky, and learning about The Saving Gracie Foundation as well as their Harvest Dinners, embarking on a trail ride, dipping your toes into Alexander Creek, or learning more about the wisdom of the horse. You’ll also learn about the pop-up restaurant and beverage options featured on the property throughout the year.


What is Sustainable Travel?

sustainable garden - travel and tourism farm to fork helps the community

Most agree sustainable travel’s goal is to ensure future generations can enjoy the planet and its people…we can leave the places we visit as good as, if not better than, how we found them.

Sustainable travel is the buzzword people are hearing more about every year, for good reason. With an estimated 235 million tourists traveling internationally in the first three months of 2023, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, putting international tourism at 80% of pre-pandemic levels, sustainable travel is what more people are thinking about as they plan their next vacation.

The exact definition of traveling sustainably may vary depending on who you are talking with or which survey is cited. Still, most agree that the goal is to ensure that future generations can enjoy the planet and its people and that we can leave the places we visit as good as, if not better than, how we found them.

In part, this is achieved by doing no harm. We have all read about the unintentional and intentional destruction of natural and artificial structures because of over-tourism or the careless or malicious acts of a group of tourists. It is also achieved by making intentional decisions about how we travel, how governments and businesses invest in infrastructure, and how we support one another in our local and world communities.

It is about traveling for the joy of traveling. Also, about the good we can do as we learn, discover, and become ambassadors because of the transformations we allow ourselves to experience from our travels.

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

The United Nations has identified 17 goals for sustainability in terms of a larger, worldwide view, some are directly tied to sustainable travel and tourism:

No Poverty – End poverty in all its forms, everywhere
Zero Hunger – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Good Health and Well-Being – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages.
Quality Education – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Gender Equality – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Clean Water and Sanitation – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Affordable and Clean Energy – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Decent Work and Economic Growth – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Reduced Inequalities – Reduce inequality within and among countries.
Sustainable Cities and Communities – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Responsible Consumption and Production – Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Climate Action – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Life Below Water – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Life on Land – Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Partnerships for the Goals – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.


Why Travel and Tourism Matter

travelers enjoying a yoga session on paddle boards - sustainable tourism news

Tourism is big business. Our “little” vacations, collectively, can bring a lot of money into an area’s economy.

You may wonder why the Tourism Industry commands such a significant voice and why Sustainability and Tourism are so closely linked.

As with most things, follow the money for part of the answer. Tourism is big business. Our “little” vacations, collectively, really add up and can bring a lot of money into an area’s economy. In turn, as I mentioned in a previous article about the 2023 Miami World Travel Expo, tourism-generated money provides jobs and quality of life for the local communities, and tax revenue for the state or country, allowing them to achieve some of their bigger goals.

The other part of this is less tangible, although just as important. When we visit a new place and a different culture from the one we are most familiar with, we can “learn through play” about that culture in a way that sticks with us. It allows a frame of reference that goes beyond what we may see on the television or big screen and, by extension, an understanding of how alike we may be amid all our differences. 

We can become ambassadors for our environment, our world, its people, and their cultures. 

In a word, it expands our minds.

I’ve often said that a person would be hard-pressed to climb up a mountain in the Sierra Nevada, look out onto an expansive view, and not be transformed in some small or big way that inspires change when they return home.

Is it possible to visit a Greek village on the side of a mountain that has existed for hundreds of years mainly with what they can carry in and carry out, being mindful of their resources, and their daily food and activity habits that come naturally from their surroundings, and make no changes to your own lifestyle when you go home?

For me, the answer is no.

With every trip, every hike, every dip in the ocean, and every conversation with a local, my world expands, and how I live in that world seems to shrink. I can do more with less, and I value my time differently. 

Travel and tourism will be experienced differently for each of us; however, my experience is that the more I see, the more I want to walk a little lighter. I want to consume less, consume better, and create more experiences. Those are small, intangible changes, but I believe that the more people travel, and the more they travel well, the better ambassadors we become for “Team Planet.”

Travel matters.

Luxury hotels like the Lodge at Blue Sky may be seen as the future of sustainability. The idea that embracing the natural world and exploring your inner self work together, even when you rest your head on high thread count sheets at the end of the day. The experience can transform how you live and walk this earth when you return home.


Read the full article from The World’s 50 Best Hotels here.