The hotel group that is making beachfront holidays more sustainable

When you choose an Iberostar hotel or resort, you are opting for an all-inclusive travel experience that also benefits the environment and local communities


4 December 2023

Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is an established family-owned hotel brand committed to developing a model of responsible tourism. Recognising the beauty of nature on its doorstep, situated in some of Europe, Africa, and the Americas’ most beautiful coastal locations, Iberostar embeds sustainability into operations from the food it serves to the experiences it offers.

It’s this kind-to-planet, kind-to-people ethos that sets the four- and five-star properties aside, with guests, nature, and local communities benefitting alike.

Holidays that aim to give something back

Sustainability is embedded in every part of the Iberostar guest experience

By 2020, Iberostar was one of the first global hotel chains to remove single-use plastic. That’s over 1,000 items that were evaluated, removed, altered and reimagined.

Since those early pioneering steps, Iberostar’s Wave of Change sustainability movement has grown more ambitious. Its three pillars – to move towards a circular economy, promote the responsible consumption of seafood, and improve coastal health – include targets to be waste-free and serve 100 per cent responsible seafood by 2025.

A part of Iberostar’s Circular Economy pillar means sending zero waste to landfill by reducing, reusing, recycling, and extending the life cycle of products.

It’s a challenging target for a company that operates over 35,000 hotel rooms. As a result, today Iberostar has more than 230 people specifically working to sort waste so that as much of it as possible can be reduced, recycled or reused. To adopt a fully circular model, Iberostar has had to take stock of its entire supply chain, including reconsidering construction methods to ensure minimum waste.

Through collaborative partnerships, like sitting on the Advisory Board of the UN’s Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, Iberostar shares its learnings and knowledge with other tourism providers to create change throughout the industry.

Taking care both in and out of the water

Iberostar invests in coastal restoration and regeneration

Nature restoration is another primary focus of Iberostar’s Wave of Change movement, with a target that all ecosystems surrounding Iberostar properties will improve in ecological health by 2030.

This commitment ensures the health of coastal landscapes worldwide, not only so that guests can continue to enjoy their awe-inducing beauty but also so that local communities are better protected against extreme weather.

For example, a thriving coral reef sustains future seafood sources by nurturing small fish, and provides protection for local communities and Iberostar hotels during hurricanes by reducing wave energy. Led by in-house conservation teams, Iberostar invests in coral, mangrove, seagrass, and coastal dune restoration and regeneration. Partnering with local NGOs is a vital part of Iberostar’s long-term plan.

In the Caribbean, where Iberostar provides unrivalled relaxation and rejuvenation at both adults-only and family resorts across 22 beachfront locations, a multi-national coral reef restoration programme will rebuild reefs through an on-land coral laboratory and seven underwater coral nurseries.

In Punta Cana, at Iberostar Selection Bavaro Suites and Iberostar Grand Bavaro, guests are invited to witness the pioneering research in action to see which species of coral are most resilient to climate change and hurricanes.

Meanwhile, in Jamaica, a new coral nursery in front of Iberostar Rose Hall contains 10,000 coral fragments. Local fishermen have also been trained in the propagation and restoration of the corals. This strategy benefits both nature and local communities – offering alternative livelihoods in coastal communities suffering from the effects of overfishing.

Experiences that benefit visitors and locals

Travellers can explore cenotes with the Bejil-Ha Riviera Maya Cooperative Society
Getty Images

Tourism depends as much on local communities as it does on visitors, and increasing numbers of travellers want to seek out responsible and authentic interactions with local people. Recognising this, by 2030, community projects will be on offer at every Iberostar property.

To kickstart this responsible tourism journey, Iberostar has partnered with not-for-profit community tourism experts, Planeterra. Through the partnership, Iberostar will provide more than 995,000 travellers with community experiences across 35 communities, improving the lives of over 13,000 people.

Some of the first experiences on offer include exploring off-the-beaten-track cenotes with the Bejil-Ha Riviera Maya Cooperative Society on the Yucatan Peninsula and learning about growing cocoa and making chocolate with the Chocal cooperative at Iberostar Costa Dorada in the Dominican Republic.

To find out more about Iberostar’s Wave of Change sustainability movement go to

Listen to the Standard Sustainable Podcast series, in association with Iberostar Hotels & Resorts here