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After COVID-19 shook the world and prevented travellers from visiting their favourite locations, values around sustainable tourism shifted. The decreased human traffic allowed natural habitats to flourish, and it sparked something in travellers. Today’s adventure seekers value sustainable tourism and search for experiences that align with that priority.

But what does it mean for a tourism business to be sustainable? It's not just about reducing environmental impact; it’s also about making a positive impact on communities and cultures.

Glamping Resorts embraced this challenge when they leased 100 acres of land from Alberta Parks — land that was formerly used by Scouts Canada.

With support from Travel Alberta, Glamping Resorts is transforming the area into a unique accommodation with nearly 80 units, including geo-domes, canvas cabins and premium cabins. They also plan to add lakefront and mountain-view yurts. To maintain the stunning natural environment, they had to make strategic decisions to achieve this transformation in an environmentally safe way.

Considering infrastructure and environment

“For us, environmental sustainability is extremely important,” says Melissa Zoller, general manager at Glamping Resorts.

In developing their tourism experience, Zoller and her team made conscious decisions to reduce their environmental impact. An example is installing water and electric lines by directional drilling instead of digging trenches, which came at a higher financial cost but caused less damage to nature.

Even selecting the location was driven by sustainability. While Banff and Lake Louise are iconic gems, they already offer visitors plenty of attractions. Martin Bunting, co-founder of Glamping Resorts, recognized the need to choose a place with fewer people and more opportunities for guests to relish the raw beauty of nature.


We offer the very best in glamping in an environment that is the very best of the great outdoors…We don't have a million people walking the streets and all over the place. We have a very controlled environment, so people can really enjoy the outdoors without causing any damage to the environment.

Martin Bunting, co-founder

Through Travel Alberta’s grant program, Glamping Resorts was able to develop infrastructure and a variety of unique accommodations that offer all the comforts of home with easy access to nature.

Employment and partnerships are regenerative opportunities

A sustainable business is one that helps the economic community around it to thrive. It enables locals to earn a living and support themselves.

Tourism businesses can do this in multiple ways.

For starters, you can collaborate with local businesses. Glamping Resorts partnered with adventure experts, such as Uplift Adventures and Tamarack Outdoors, to offer guests activities during the stay. They also joined forces with Adaptable Outdoors to make their accommodations more accessible.

Glamping Resorts not only partners with local businesses, but also creates opportunities to grow tourism careers. One employee, Zachary O’Reilly, started in the hospitality industry as a pool maintenance staff member and worked his way up into a senior management role with Glamping Resorts.


My favourite part about the job is being able to interact with all the people from around the world in North America. I really just enjoy meeting new people and helping them enjoy their glamping experience.

Zachary O’Reilly, resort host

Supporting Indigenous culture

Across Alberta, businesses, residents, and visitors alike stand on the traditional lands of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples, and Glamping Resorts is no exception. To honour this history, the resort works with Indigenous creators and Knowledge Keepers to offer authentic Indigenous experiences. Guests can view Indigenous artwork and participate in medicine walks and tours guided by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers. Tourism is an avenue through which Indigenous cultures and ways of life can be preserved and shared with people from across the world.

Eyes on the future

Glamping Resorts is thinking ahead to the legacy they will leave behind for future generations.

“Sustainable tourism is not just about bringing people to see things,” says general manager, Melissa Zoller. “It's about making sure there is something for future generations to see.”

Building on the existing walking trails in the area, the resort is planning new trails to further promote responsible exploration with minimal disturbance. The pathway network will be enriched with activities such as fishing, canoeing, paddle boarding, swimming, outdoor education about the history of the land, and outdoor and indoor games.


I feel the value of tourism is way understated in this province. There is no question in my mind that tourism is what generates the beginning of business…Tourism is what brings people to this province. Tourism is what first introduced people to think of moving here.

Martin Bunting, co-founder

KEEP READING: Learn how sustainable tourism can drive positive change

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