Sustainable Destinations are a Necessity Not a Luxury
By Katharine Le Quesne Senior Director, HoCoSo | November 10, 2019
Developing destinations for tomorrow is not for the faint-hearted, folks. It requires vision, government support, forward-looking market analysis, investment and experts in delivery. It is also complex, lengthy and costly; and the stakeholders are demanding.
Tourists are travelling overseas more than ever before (international travellers spent US$1.7 trillion overseas in 2018, up 4% on prior year, according to the UNWTO) and always looking for new places to visit, eat, stay, entertain and enjoy; we are also are hungry for experience. And governments are looking for ways to sustain their economies and workforce. It has the potential for win-win.
Twenty years ago, I was standing, knee deep in the pristine waters of Navarino Bay in Greece, talking through the vision for Costa Navarino. The resort project was to be built on a 1,000 hectare site (circa 2,500 acres) that had been stitched together over a generation, through a series of land acquisitions by the owner – a Greek shipping magnate who had grown up in the area. Legacy building was central to the project. The masterplan balanced topography with the culture, history and natural assets of the area.
The project involved the careful movement and replanting of ancient olive groves, incorporation of historic buildings into the long-term vision; and environmental planning. Today, Costa Navarino publishes an annual sustainability report. The resort has two luxury hotels, two golf courses, a spa and residences. Building the destination has been hard fought, working through domestic and regional economic crises, refinancing and new competition.
The author, 20 years ago, standing knee-deep in the pristine waters of Navarino Bay, Greece
However, an unwavering vision was critical to Costa Navarino's success. Almost a decade after completing phase one, phase three development is underway: private residences for sale, to generate on-resort animation and demand, to drive investment returns and to extend the season.