Green travel: nature thrives in our absence

Germany's Green Pearls travel company has been looking at how nature has bounced back during the covid-19 pandemic

Tongsai Bay on Koh Samui, a Green Pearls-recommended eco hotel

It's good to know that flora and fauna around the world have been flourishing in the absence of human travellers. Pictured above: eco resort The Tongsai Bay on Thailand's Koh Samui, where loris have been spotted in broad daylight

In many countries, lockdowns have resulted in many busy cities and regions suddenly becoming almost deserted. But it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good and where humans have retreated, the natural environment has sprung vigorously to life. Green Pearls® say staff at hotels they work with have been watching their natural worlds closely and share their observations. 

Thailand is for animals

The idyllic location of The Tongsai Bay eco resort on Kom Samui pleases not only human visitors but it's home to many wild animals. To protect wildlife, hotel employees are trained to deal with them. So, for example, if snakes come too close to guest areas, they'll be caught and released in other places, well away from holidaymakers' accommodation. The hotel is also involved in local animal welfare projects, for example elephant sanctuaries. Some formerly stray dogs and cats were taken in by The Tongsai Bay at the height of the covid-19 epidemic and given medical care and now live freely on the premises. Without the usual influx of travellers the bay has recovered its equilibrium and the sea is clean with crystal clear water. Even the otherwise shy noctural loris has been seen around Kom Samui in daylight. Indeed without tourist wild animals have been spotted all over Thailand. Oh and on Koh Samui, sea turtles laid their eggs on a beach for the first time in years.

Manta rays in the Maldives waters

The Maldives

At Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives life, naturally, revolves around the sea and its wellbeing. The resort's own marine biologists are working on a project to conserve coral reefs, and it is involved in the preservation of seagrass. The grass absorbs CO2 and releases oxygen so it's vital to keeping the climate stable.  Covid-19 has meant far fewer people have visited the islands and the reduction in numbers of snorkellers has meant a noticeable improvement in the condition of coral reefs, The absence of motorboats, which are quite noisy and generate turbulence on the sea, fairly noisy and has also been good for sealife, with more Manta rays and sea turtles being counted in the area, thanks to remote controlled phototraps. 

The rare spectacled bear has been seen around Machu Pichu this year


Machu Pichu in Peru has been tramped half to death by international travellers for decades, so the pandemic has given nature some much needed respite. Animals have been making the most of people-free trails, particularly bears, sloths and primates which have been seen by staff at various hotels in the region. In the Hotel Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, for example, deer and Andean foxes have become regular visitors. Vegetation around all Inkaterra Hotels has also been growing abundantly and trees and plants are, by all accounts, looking resplendent. Which of course especially pleases insects. Bees have been pollinating like crazy and the coming season will see the fruit of their labours in the form of ever more lush flora and greater availability of local honey. Looking ahead to a post-covid world and Inkaterra's management are working on plans to continue to protect their natural world. They do point out that while nature has been left to itself in many parts of Latin America, illegal deforestation in the Amazon has been contuing and they want people around the world to put pressure on their governments to do more to make the Bolsonaro government protect the Brazilian rainforests.