Luxury travel brand Belmond has revealed a blueprint for what it expects to be a “year of transformation” in 2024.
Confirming the acquisition of a 17th century estate near Merida in Mexico, the company plans “selective expansion and enhancement” of its portfolio with heightened focus on train travel, the development of new experiences and a deeper focus on its environmental and social responsibility.
The strategy includes the return of the Eastern & Oriental Express to the rails from Singapore in February with two seasonal services and a new route from Paris to Portofino by the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
A pilot programme at ten hotels will create “tailored and actionable roadmaps” to meet rigorous sustainability targets.
Three projects are to be introduced that focus on increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing freshwater withdrawal and creating a Gastronomy Academy to guide its work in reducing impact in food and drink.
All eligible Belmond properties are set to receive silver certification from scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group EarthCheck by the first half of next year.
“This robust benchmarking and auditing process will establish baselines that will be used to measure and improve our performance,” the company said.
Chief executive Dan Ruff said: “Long before experiential travel became a buzzword, Belmond, through our diverse portfolio of hotels, trains, boats and safaris, has offered one-of-a-kind experiences that are rooted in authenticity.
“With our purpose to perpetuate the legendary art of travel, we will continue to push boundaries. 2024 will be a year of transformation as we further seek out remarkable properties, exceptional journeys and experiences, especially to cement our leading position in train travel.
“We will celebrate local culture, launch new experiences that connect our guests to the art of travel, curate contemporary culture and go even deeper with our environmental and social responsibility efforts.”