The 21st-century traveller is incredibly conscious of their choices. Where will they stay? What impact will this have on the environment? How will these travel experiences enrich their lives? These sort of questions often come up now, more than ever before.
A recent study revealed that travelling provides more satisfaction and happiness than any tangible material wealth – and Sustainable and Responsible Tourism takes this up a notch.
What exactly is Sustainable and Responsible Tourism?
It involves imparting minimal impact on the environment and community. As such, all stakeholders involved such as travellers, investors, developers and finally – the hotel itself, take the onus to marginalise environmental impact and promote sustainability.
Simply putting a “re-use” towel sign or using sufficient light bulbs does not constitute an environmental-friendly hotel anymore. In fact, only showing that you are eco-friendly on the surface is called greenwashing. Consumers are smart, and they are looking for more.
Here are the questions a traveller will ask before booking a hotel.
Where does the water come from?
How is the water sourced? Is the water source impacting a neighbouring water body? An Eco-Conscious hotel will try to collect water from sustainable sources. They would implement systems such as rainwater collection, low-flow toilets and more. Travellers also look into how the water is spent. If the water is being utilised in a useful manner and not being wasted unnecessarily, it is environmentally conscious. The Sunderban Tiger Camp represented by us has a special rainwater harvesting system.
Are their recycling options?
Does the hotel have an option to recycle? Before, guests would not have bothered about where the waste is going. But now, they are looking for recycling options not only in their rooms but also in other common areas. Hotels also need to ensure that their kitchen waste is either disposed of sustainably or re-used.
Where does the energy come from?
Hotels that switch to alternative options to harness energy are certainly making a bigger impact in the eco-tourism sector. Even if the source of energy is traditional, sustainable energy distribution is pivotal. Many hotels are now opting to harness energy through solar power, wind energy or geothermal energy.
Riverwood Forest Retreats, represented by us, use a low voltage of CFL and LEF light bulbs and have plastered the outdoor areas with solar lights.
How helpful is the hotel to the surrounding community?
Eco-conscious hotels, do not hamper, but provide utility to the surrounding environment. They hire the local staff and use products from local villages. This ensures that they help build a sustainable community around them. The traveller will also wonder if the property is infringing upon the surrounding natural environment and if they co-exist with nature. Paatlidun Safari Lodge, one of the properties we represent, employs the locals in surrounding villages so that they do not need to relocate to the city in search for employment.
If you need to know more information on eco-tourism and sustainability, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!