Only Vacation Island Lacks More Than Sustainable Travel

It’s not often that the worlds of sustainable travel and discrimination collide. On one of the most pristine islands in Europe, the rare collision of preserving the environment and acknowledging all creeds of people is about to occur.

A Lithuanian island is about to be taken over by blondes- literally. A travel agency by the name of Olialia, which happens to be pronounced, “Ohh-la-la,” plans to open its doors with a staff full of blondes. Workers of every professional level will be blonde. Olialia is already a “blondes-only” run company, so they are simply extending their bleached services to the travel agency. As one would imagine, this persistence is causing quite an uproar overseas. The company’s effort to own and operate a full blonde island is being called everything from “ridiculous” to “racist.”

Olialia is fighting these allegations head-on. Olialia claims that its intention with running a blondes-only company and attempting to own and operate a blondes-only island is for the common good of debunking the age-old perception of the “dumb blonde.” The company feels that by successfully owning and operating a company and, they hope, an island, it will serve as a global example that disproves the theory that blondes are less intelligent. While this attempt brings a tear to my eye, it might serve Olialia some good to take a look at the environmental impact and insult to the sustainable travel

To fully understand the environmental impact of this blonde initiative, and what it could mean for sustainable travel, it is important to realize the environmental impact of being blonde. Since a reported two percent of the global population is reported to have naturally occurring blonde locks, it’s safe to assume that the idea of sustainable travel will be tossed out, along with empty bottles of harmful chemicals. The majority of hair dyes in the market have improved since the golden days of dying hair with more harsh forms of peroxide, these potent lock lighteners also contain harmful agents such as ammonia in addition to peroxide. Neither of these elements has been shown to preserve the environment in any way. And if vacationers are simply going to dye their hair the required blonde as the Oliala owner suggests they will, it’s safe to say that the creation of this island does nothing for the sustainable travel industry.

It’s hard to believe that there may be potential for a positive impact in this unusual vacation destination, but the attention brought to th stringent hair color requirements might bring more attention to natural hair color augmentation methods. Plant- based hair dyes are gaining popularity and would be worth a try to vacation with Olaila.

If the blatant discrimination doesn’t deter you from venturing to this European get-away, be sure to meet the requirements in a way that upholds sustainable travel requirements.

Photo Credit: Rob Bouden