Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa: Next Generation Jetsetters February 16, 2020 Travel 52 As 2020 marks the year that Gen Z (those born between 1996-2010) are set to become the largest group of consumers, and youth-travel is becoming one of the fastest growing areas of tourism, travel companies are increasingly expanding their offering to cater to this younger, savvier, more eco-conscious generation. A new resort going above and beyond for young travellers is Emerald Maldives Resort & SPA – with a luxury yet affordable, sustainable offering which focuses on reducing waste and prioritising both comfort and environmental conservation. According to Skift research*, Gen Z seek holidays that prioritise conservation, sustainability and outdoor activities. From its conception, Emerald Maldives has been built with these core pillars in mind. All 120 villas are built using all-natural materials such as long-lasting alang alang leaves, bamboo, natural wood and stone in each of the elegant, tropical-inspired villas. Summarised by Edward Poole, Architect: Poole Associates Private Limited, “travellers have psychological expectations of the Maldives and what their resort should look like; thatched roofs for example. We’ve balanced this with how to build sustainably but still deliver the look and feel the client wants to achieve. Using alang alang and bamboo, we have reduced the use of timber by 95% and created gorgeous villas and surroundings but with our own unique expression.” Other eco-initiatives include solar power energy, used to heat water for the entire island, a composting system to recycle all food waste, and a recyclable drinking water irrigation system. As it should be, Gen Z travellers can sip on cool drinks through paper straws and glass bottles as the resort makes a conscious effort to ban single-use plastics on the private island.