As a fan of the motto “the world is too big of a place to visit the same spot twice,” I do the best I can to travel and discover amazing new locations.
However, I have to say that because I have to rely on hotels for my stay, and knowing how consumerist the hospitality industry can be, every time I travel I can’t help but feel a little guilty. According to a report from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the tourism sector is responsible for 5.3% man-made CO2 emissions.
Should this discourage me and make me stay home? Of course not—and neither should you. It is just a matter of approaching the principles of sustainable tourism.
UNWTO defines it as “full awareness of the current and future impact of tourism in economic, social and environmental terms in order to satisfy the needs of visitors, industries, nature and host communities.”
A simple but impactful way to practice sustainable tourism is to book sustainable hotels, or eco-hotels.
These hotels, which offer all the comforts and services of any other hotel, have the particularity of trying to minimize their emissions and waste, by adopting common strategies also used by many in our daily lives, but applied on a large scale. From composting food waste from their restaurants, to changing light bulbs with more energy efficient ones, to self-producing some of the energy they consume, each of these hotels adapts as best it can to respect the surrounding environment.
If these changes at first glance seem expensive and unnecessary for hotel managers who are reading, you will be pleased to know that Hospitality Insights reported that efficiency updates typically pay for themselves in less than 3 years and generate energy savings from 5% to 15%.
Already this is a good goal, but more importantly, eco-hotels not only seek to be sustainable for the Ecosystem and Reduce emissions, they also want to be socially sustainable, thus giving jobs to the local community, contributing to community development and supporting local businesses, for example by sourcing food from local agricultural cooperatives and hiring local staff.
If you consider that many young travellers choose their destinations and stays taking into account the sustainability of the facilities of the Place, making the transition eco-friendly has for sure Numerous Advantages in the medium-long term.
A study by Just Capital, an outlet that classifies US companies on issues such as fair pay, equal treatment and ecological impact, found that companies that outperform their competitors on environmental indicators enjoy a medianoon equity return 3% higher than counterparties.
In other words, sustainable hotel management pays, both in terms of efficiency and customer loyalty.
For those of us who have just begun their journey towards sustainability, there are several ways to choose an eco-hotel.
In 2019, the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment ranked the most sustainable hotel chains worldwide, so if you have time to do your research before a trip, you can check out this list and get an idea based on your destinations and budget.
For those who are more of a spontaneous traveller, who always has their suitcase ready and leaves at the last minute, nowadays there are specific sites that deal with evaluating the sustainability of hotels to facilitate the process of selecting and booking your stay.
One of these is eco-hotels.com, which offers numerous choices in many parts of the world, and continually adds locations, so that booking your next sustainable vacation is as easy as booking one that isn’t.