• Declan Trifunovic

Product Thursdays: World Resorts Of Distinction

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In the 4th session of Product Thursdays, Richard invited Lauren Anderson, the Sales and Networking Manager at World Resorts of Distinction (WRD), to introduce us to her exciting product. 2020 was to be Lauren’s year, having made the jump from a stable leadership role at Tourism Australia to chase her passion for sustainable tourism, and having completed her Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Management in 2019. Who knew that taking up a new role on the 1st of March was going to be met with so many challenges? Her position may have shifted from optimist to realist over the past few months, but Lauren still believes that travel will forge a greener pathway going forward and sustainable tourism is about to hit its upswing.

World Resorts of Distinction

Despite being around for almost 20 years, World Resorts of Distinction has taken a new path over the last two years, as a result of new leadership. Now more than ever, the company is very passionate about conscious travel, and makes it a priority to advocate on behalf of truly sustainable tourism. As such, WRD represents 18 resorts from various global locations, ranging from the Maldives, Thailand, Fiji, Indonesia and more, all of which having a strong level of commitment to conscious travel. WRD defines conscious travel as travel, which is mindful of the impacts upon, and opportunities for hosts and visitors, and aims to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties. Furthermore, the brand utilises Conscious Travel Checklists to categorise each represented resort, covering topics such as employing a proportion of local staff, respecting local culture, and using eco-friendly products, and many more. In doing so, WRD is able to ensure all travellers are able to make conscious decisions about their travelling impacts, and thus be spiritually satisfied with their experiences.

The Resorts

The 18 resorts WRD represents have been categorised into 6 categories:

1. Barefoot luxury – These are resorts, which are true luxury products in every sense, yet may appear to be more relaxed or nature based at an initial glance. Some may literally as you to go barefoot!

2. Private Resorts – As the name implies, these resorts are totally private, and are suitable for parties looking to book out an entire venue. Typically these cater to between 30 and 60 guests, with meals inclusive and spa treatments and other amenities also available. These are ideal for corporate events, and are also popular for tour groups needing a high level of customisability, such as those needing an all-vegan menu.

3. A Brush with Wilderness – These are resorts, which focus on adventure and the wild environment, more than your typical serviced resort would.

4. Polished Luxury – These are more traditional luxury resorts, and meet the expectations of most luxury travellers with features like on-site Italian or Japanese restaurants. These generally have a highly contemporary feel.

5. Island Chic – These can be described as rustic, artisan or authentic resorts on an island setting. One of them even allows you to rent the entire island!

6. Full Service Hotel – as the name suggests, these are typical full service hotels, and are very appealing to the mass-market traveler with a conscious travel disposition.


During the COVID pandemic, many consumers were confronted with various realisations about their shopping habits. Some products were no longer available, or were very limited due to the ‘shrunken world’ we now lived in, without the ability for the same level of imports. As such, research showed that consumers were growing to become more conscious about their purchase decisions, and even the social and environmental impacts of them during this period. While there won’t be a massive immediate change towards sustainable tourism, Lauren believes that small changes like these in the micro levels of behaviour will have some impacts on larger purchase decisions, including travelling. Before the COVID-19 crisis, sustainable tourism was already becoming more mainstream, and with these changes that trend is likely to continue.

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