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Sustainable tourism is more than just a new way to travel in an environmentally responsible way. It is becoming clear that it is an awareness of all those involved in the tourism process. Like many vacation destinations, hotels and guests are waking up to realise that a green mentality is spreading across more and more sectors of society.

A key part of this puzzle is the travel agency, which is often the first point of contract for a person in search of a holiday. Responsible Hotels has set out to explain just why this new focus is so important and what the most common customer requirements are.

Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism

Beginning with our Nordic neighbours, who were the first to awaken to this environmental awareness, this new practice has been spreading across Europe for years now. This progress has increased significantly over the last decade, including a growing level of involvement and demands from travellers regarding the sustainability of their destination and travel choices.

The British Travel Agents Association (ABTA) recently conducted a survey, where relevant data was available, regarding the role of this sector has to play within the context of responsible tourism. 

1. Paying More For The Environment

According to data collected, 21% of consumers would pay more for their holidays in order to choose choose a company with a positive environmental and social track record. Travellers are increasingly more likely to consumer products and services that are environmentally conscious than from companies who are not.

2. A Responsible Destination Is the Agency’s Responsibility 

However, one curious finding that may be of value to travel agencies is that responsible tourists - despite being aware of the environment – believe that the responsibility for sustainability lies mostly with travel companies. For them, it is the agency that must ensure that destinations offered are respectful to all principles of sustainable tourism.

3. Think Green? “Better That You Do It For Me?

Thus, 49% of respondents said that they do not want to ‘think green’ while on vacation. From the time they leave the house, they prefer to be done with that issue

and devote all of their time to fully enjoying their time off. This point makes clear that most travellers believe that it is up to the travel industry to lead on sustainability rather than it being an issue they have to pay attention to while their are on holiday.

Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism

4. Measuring The Sustainability Of An Agency

How can you tell if the travel agency you choose is consistent with responsible tourism? This is a question considered by many consumers and according to the ABTA survey, 36% of those asked supported the idea of establishing a ratings system on sustainability and social responsibilities, similar to start ratings for hotels. 

5. The Younger You Are, The More Aware You Are

Another characteristic of responsible tourists is that they tend to be younger, according to the survey. Young people between the ages 16 and 24 were found to be the most sensitive to environmental projects linked to the tourism sector, suggesting that this attitude is like to grow among consumers.

6. Experiences Make For A Better Trip

One of the main reasons why customers are willing to pay more for their trips is because they are realising that sustainable vacation options tend to be better. For example, people are enjoying themselves more when they can taste typical local products or engage with the indigenous culture of their destination.

7. The Agencies Are Responsible

The message is clear for travel agencies. More and more consumers are demanding greater involvement and responsibility on their part in search of “green” tourism. Respondents to the survey made clear that they would prefer to leave their home knowing that their vacation meets all the requirements of sustainability and can enjoy their long-awaited holiday without worry.

Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism

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A pleasant tropical climate and a magical rainforest environment are just two highpoints for nature lovers. If you add an ecolodge to the mix, what happens? The answer is, an incredibly interesting destination for ecotourists. This is the case with the Rio Cuasa Ecolodge in Ecuador. Responsible Hotels reached out to the hotel’s manage, Oscar Ortiz, to find out more about what makes this natural destination special.

Ecolodge Rio Cuasa en Ecuador

Ecolodge Rio Cuasa en Ecuador

 -The Rio Cuasa Ecolodge is located in the Ecuadorian rainforest. When and how did this inn come to be? Where did the idea come from? 

The project was founded in 2006 during a family meeting to figure out how best to use and honour the natural setting of our farm in a tourist-friendly way, which gave way to the construction of hosting spaces and a restaurant for visitors. Thus began our project, starting with the first two cabins and a dining area and after adjustments were made, we erected a camping area and greenery along the river. Since then, it has continued to grow year after year and now we have 7 quadrangle cottages, nature trails, a camping area, birding towers, a wildflower garden, mini-sports courts, canoes and buoys in the river and a restaurant.

- Can you describe the natural environment?

It is surrounded by a tropical rain forest on the coast of Ecuador, located just inside the entrance to the Mache Chindul nature reserve, just 10 metres from the Cuasa Riverside, where natural and crystal clear water flows from the heart of the reserve.

-What are the main characteristics of the natural environment?

We live in an environment with a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging between 16° and 26°. Here you can find up to 360 different bird species.

- What is the best way to enjoy this nature? 

Relaxing on the deck in the company of a good book, walking the self-guided trails, bird watching with ease throughout the ecolodge, relaxing in the refreshing waters of the river and placing mud on your body for a natural exfoliation – these are just some of the options available to visitors to enjoy nature, as well as guided tours.

Ecolodge Rio Cuasa en Ecuador

Ecolodge Rio Cuasa en Ecuador

- What kind of trips and activities can you schedule from there?

The main journey is a walk to the Mache Chindul ecological reserve. The route begins in our ecolodge, crossing by the gazebo and by undefined streams. The hike includes a look at an array of flora and fauna throughout the rainforest, led by a local naturalist guide. If you find yourself there during the rainy season, you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the waterfalls, pick some local fruit, take some photos and maybe even learn some local secrets and survival techniques. The itinerary of this tour can be modified depending on weather and the conditions of the travellers, with available duration between 2 and 5 hours. 

Other excursions and activities include a guided trek through the forest, a river canoe trip, picking fruit in the garden, milking a cow, a flower arranging workshop, cheese making, an artisanal chocolate workshop – “From the Bush to the Table”, horseback riding, and even a walk to see monkeys in the wild.

-Speaking of which, what kind of contact is possible with animals? 

Tourists can appreciate animals in their natural state by photographing them in a prudent manner, allowing them to get a closer look at how they live. Among the different species, we have the howler monkey, the sloth bear, birds, toucans and armadillos.

- What are the main attractions?

The entirety of the Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve includes lush flora and fauna, exotic landscapes with waterfalls, natural pools – all in protected lands along the Ecuadorian coast because of its 360 species of birds and waterways that feed into the river systems and estuaries in the area. This all combines to make it a truly unique attraction to visit.

Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve

Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve

-How does the ecolodge help contribute to the care of the environment? 

We promote the care and respect for nature, revealing the value and importance of the ecosystem that surrounds us. When tourists visit the ecolodge and participate in tours, they will be subject to a certain level of education about the important role played by each and every living being on the planet, encouraging them to respect and care for it. We organise environmental awareness events and campaigns, providing an example of our sustainable tourism practices. We also participate in forest conservation and reforestation.

- What kind of green projects do you have going?

We are working on producing organic fertiliser from kitchen waste. We also hope to create a workshop to teach and promote this system to nearby communities. Then there is the planting of organic fruit. With the campaign “Use your thermos”, we aim to help minimize the use of plastic bottles. As a part of this effort, each visitor carrying a thermos receives a free juice and water during their stay.

Another initiative is “Recognition Animal Protector” where we promote wildlife protection awareness to local communities. With this, we are encouraging citizens to care for different local species, allowing the release and reintroduction of several animals, including turtles,  toucans, sloths and monkeys that were in danger due to hunting and trafficking wildlife.

For now, we are also working on the “Ecological Path of Glory”, which is a guided tour running about 1400 metres, where tourists can enjoy nature walking with views, waterfalls and rivers.

Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve

Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve

Pure nature and contact with animals – the Rio Cuasa Ecolodge preserves the essence of the rainforest while respecting the surrounding environment. It is an original way to spend the holidays responsibly in the privileged environment that Ecuador offers. It is an opportunity to unwind and spend a few days of real rest.

 

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Tourism plays an important role in society and this has led us to a new strategy for sustainable tourism which benefits both locals and visitors at various destinations. This is one of the reasons why different work groups related to the sector met in Barcelona a few days ago at the International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, where a set of recommendations that will marks the tourist developments over the coming years was agreed. From Responsible Hotels, we present the five main conclusions that emerge from this “Barcelona Declaration for Responsible Tourism”:

 1. Take responsibility for the environmental impact of tourism

Tourism is a hugely important economic activity which creates jobs and promotes understanding and respect for different societies and cultures, but we must not forget the negative impact it has on the environment. The consumption of non-renewable resources such as soil or water, its contribution to climate change and air pollution are some of the points which must be prevented in the best possible way. The control of these and their proper management are essential for preservation of the environment and the livelihood of tourism. Among the solutions which have been mentioned, planning for sustainability is paramount. The involvement of all those involved is very important and must include from the locals and tourists to businesses and the public sector.

In this regard, it is also important for companies to adopt an approach in which the destination is managed and cared for, and which tries to minimise negative impacts by providing environmental information to tourists. In addition to this, “sustainability marketing” is essential, i.e., the promotion of local products, preservation of cultural and natural heritage, cooperation and integration of the host societies and the contribution to the improvement of local life and economic development.

 Sustainability Marketing

Sustainability Marketing

 2. The role of governments in destination management and planning

Governing these destinations is more than just public administration and therefore must identify all those involved and ensure they work together. This requires those in charge of institutional and administrative matters to have a tourism plan which includes all those involved, precisely identifying anyone who is involved in this process and actively involving them in the planning and management of tourism. Local governments have to take responsibility for general issues such as transport, planning and public services as well as also promoting and contributing capital to develop products that address the gaps in demand the destination has and building on its strengths.

Another point to consider in this Barcelona Declaration is the assessment of the magnitude and impact of tourism beyond the typical amount of visitors. In this regard we should also consider the tourists’ qualities and the distribution of the economic benefits of tourism, and better understand the sociocultural impact for citizens. Another important aspect to consider is to maximise the tourism potential to increase tourism in the long term and possibly even attract foreign investment. This new model of more permeable tourism therefore requires greater communication between authorities and citizens.

work together

work together

 3. The sense of the place: local communities, responsibility and the visitor experience.

The sense of place is at the centre of responsible tourism, contributing to the identity and links inside it, while also improving the visitor experience. It is important to balance the desire for authenticity with the need to control or avoid impact from tourism. The destination’s image can contribute to a sense of place that can be a competitive business advantage and the interaction of citizens and tourists is essential to understanding the sociocultural impacts of tourism. Creating a better place to live and work creates a better place to visit.

Practical steps can be taken to understand and manage the interaction between locals and visitors, learning from the experiences of other destinations. These practices and management processes should be reflected in an action plan in order to identify those responsible for each action. Improving the destination is essential with the help of everyone, including visitors.

responsible tourism

responsible tourism

4. The extension of social participation in tourism: access for all.

Everyone, without exception, have the right to free time and relaxation which allows them to develop all facets of their personality and their social integration. It is therefore very important to aim for inclusive tourism where there are no physical, sensory or intellectual barriers for the disabled. Similarly open social tourism must be promoted for groups with economic constraints or geographical difficulties.

In the Barcelona Declaration, a strong commitment to the social inclusion of people with disabilities has been established by providing services and training to ensure accessibility to all areas of life, enabling them to function independently and participate actively in their environment. Working against architectural barriers that hinder this integration is essential in this area. The tourism industry must take responsibility and support programs that ensure access to all tourists, recognising the potential of this market segment as a business opportunity.

inclusive tourism

inclusive tourism

 5. The management of cruise tourism in the Mediterranean.

Cruises and related services must also be designed with sustainability in mind. Other factors should be included, such as efficiency and environmental protection measures, fair working conditions and suppliers. It is important that locals benefit from the arrival of the cruise and are themselves responsible for the services needed. Environmental and social criteria must be incorporated by the companies supplying goods and services for cruises and land excursions.

Care for cruise destinations and avoiding crowds of people which reduce resources and space, forcing locals to move away, are also important factors. This flow of passengers must be managed in a responsible manner so that there are no problems between locals and tourists.

cruises

cruises

The Barcelona Declaration is the basis for the development of sustainable tourism involving all those affected. Of all the conclusions that can be drawn from the document, this basic premise is the most vital: the effort and the work of all those involved is required. The experiences of locals and tourists are added to the opinions of industry players and the local government in order to work together as a community, making the tourist destination more attractive and environmentally friendly while tourists’ satisfaction levels grow and enable new tourists, who until now haven’t been able to travel due to their disabilities, take part. This is a joint effort which becomes improvements in the economy and the natural environment.

      

          1. The Location, Always The Location

The Inspira Santa Marta Hotel is located only 80 metres from the Avenida da Liberdade and 300 metres from Marques de Pombal Square. It is an ideal place to explore the wonderful city of Lisbon, its avenues and the old part of the city.

          2. The Design

This is a destination where design, centred around the Oriental art of Feng Shui, is present in the luxurious rooms of the Inspira Santa Marta.

         3. The Cuisine

This hotel hosts a wonderful restaurant where you can sample local delicacies and where organic food plays a major role.

          4. Sustainability

This is a hotel with strict sustainability policy, applied to all projects, which is reflected in aspects such as the use of materials with a low environmental impact, a rational use of paper and a concept level of gastronomy.

          5. High Customer Satisfaction

The Inspira Santa Marta Hotel is a leader in customer satisfaction in Lisbon, as seen with its stellar online reputation.

The Inspira Santa Marta is a different kind of hotel, which creates an ideal atmosphere thanks to its commitment to the values of responsible hospitality.

         

          1. The Personal Touch:

The Hotel Nautilus is a customer satisfaction leader in Lanzarote, which is a guarantee of a great vacation before you even leave home.

          2. A Commitment To Responsible Tourism:

Since making its pledge to sustainability, the hotel has made a clear commitment to accessible tourism that enables their guests, regardless of age, physical and circumstantial limitations, to enjoy their vacation. Technical aides are available to visitors, including a hydraulic chair lift in the pool so that people with reduced mobility can enter and enjoy the weather as well. This is the first of its kind installed in the Canary Islands.

          3. The Decor:

This beautiful hotel is decorated with original works of art belonging to the hotel’s private collection, allowing guests to enjoy fine works during their holidays, making them feel more at home.

          4. Major Goals:

The next step for this hotel is to be focused on self-sufficiency by 2016, while 30 percent of the energy used by the Nautilus Lanzarote is currently clean. Moving forward in an environment like Lanzarote can be quite a challenge.

 

The Rio Bidasoa is a small hotel in Hondarribia ideal for those suffering from sensitive stomachs and allergies. Their ability to meet these needs is based on the gastronomical approach of their restaurant, Sugarri. This magnificent restaurant is run by Bixente Muñoz, a great chef always on the lookout for new sensations, innovative spins on traditional menu items earning a number of prizes in multiple pincho competitions. Bixente has been recognised in several international publications, including The New York Times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hotel boasts spacious, hypoallergenic rooms, decorated in a minimalist style. If you suffer from allergies, the Hotel Rio Bidasoa offers special “Green” rooms. The system implemented in “Green Rooms” includes:

  • A selection of rooms that satisfy the appropriate conditions needed to prevent the presence of allergens.
  • The Regular Removal of dead skin cells, dust mites, mould spores, animal dander and other allergens.
  • Appropriate settings for temperature and humidity, as well as other environmental conditions.
  • A reduced number of surfaces and objects that might collect dust.
  • Treatment of surfaces and objects with vacuum cleaners with HEPA filtres
  • The use of sheets, pillowcases, comforters and other objects with small pore sizes and suitable materials to avoid the presence of allergens.
  • The development of a guide to ideal hygienic practices to control allergens while cleaning the room, the sheets, pillowcases and comforters.
  • Ventilation of the rooms.
  • Control over the presence of animals.
  • Input pollen control.

This dual sensitivity to gastronomical and allergy sensitivities help make this location stand out as an authentic example of a responsible hotel.

 

Robledillo de Gata

Robledillo de Gata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a few places in Spain with a certain, special charm and that is precisely the case in the small village of Gata Robledillo in Extremadura. Their houses are made of adobe and wood, giving it a highland feeling in the middle of the Sierra de Gata. To get to know the area, we at Responsible Hoteles reached out to Ms. Caridad Hernandez, manager of the Casa Manadero, a peaceful accommodation for anyone in search of a green and rural escape that is distinguished by its commitment to Responsible Tourism.

Ms. Caridad Hernandez

Ms. Caridad Hernandez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- One of the typical characteristics of Robledillo de Gata is its architecture. What is a Manadero House? How does its construction set it apart? 

The architecture of the town is very distinct for the area. The houses are built with high ceilings and wood adobe and have spacious balconies. Our accommodation fits the aesthetics of so called “black architecture” as we make common use of slate. The Manadero House was restored by an architect who was an expert in bioclimatics as we have always sought to be as respectful as possible to the environment. The materials used are all natural and indigenous. For example, the wood used is a chestnut tree that is typical of Extremadura.

- This property is located in a small village of just 140 inhabitants. What makes it so charming?

Robledillo de Gata has been declared a site of Cultural Interest, joining other towns in the area to create a stunning rural tour. The town is very quiet and everything is done by hand. The villagers have a winery where they can make their own wine. The town is immersed in a valley with a large slope, allowing a visitor to catch a glimpse of all the local houses and the surrounding environment. They can also wander through the town’s narrow streets. The Museum of Oil is another interesting location to visit as one of the town’s points of pride is this liquid gold.

Robledillo de Gata

Robledillo de Gata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- When speaking about the natural environment, what would you highlight?

The natural environment surrounding Robledillo de Gata is truly awesome. It is located in a valley surrounded by vegetation of all kinds in the north of Extremadura and the Atlantic climate always makes everything very wet. Chestnuts, olives and grapes are the main crops, helping to create a spectacular scenery around this special town in the Sierra de Gata.

- What kind of contribution does Casa Manadero make to environmental conservation?

We are always aware of our impact and contribution to the local environment and always try to do everything we can do. We use low consumption light bulbs and separate our waste, but that’s not all. Our most important task is to be informative. We offer environmental awareness lectures for our guests and we try, every time we organise an activity, to make clear the importance of respecting the environment. At the Casa Manadro, we also have a Mesón, which serves organic food taken from our garden and farm.

Casa Manadero

Casa Manadero

- What can you say about the local fauna?

This area is characterised by having one of the largest reserves of lynx in the world. There is also a well-known black vulture reservation in the area, as well as a wide range of bird species. We offer our guests the opportunity to catch sight of these birds with a guide along with them to provide explanations throughout.

- Many visitors are searching for activities and sports that get them closer with nature, along with relaxation. What opportunities are available in the area? Are there walking routes?

The area offers a number of possibilities for hiking routes that highlight both the natural and cultural amenities of the local landscape. Robledillo de Gata is a municipality with steep narrow streets, including passages so narrow, they are only accessible by foot. It is very comforting to walk in this environment. In addition to hiking and walking trails, we also recommend trying a “tandem kayak” on the Alagon River, which is accessible from our location. This allows a safe and organic journey through the local lakes.

- What other activities could you highlight?

At Casa Manadero, we have organised a number of activities for our guests. One of them is the mycological conference, or the study of mushrooms. During this time of year, the climate and topography make mushrooms appear throughout the local area. We encourage those who want to to venture out to explore and provide a monitor to accompany them, offering explanations as they go. We also do wine tastings, which are very important in this area thanks to the number and quality of the local vineyards.

- On that note, what can you tell me about the local food? Is there a special dish? Is the food organic?

At the Casa Manadero, we host a Mesón, serving food we’ve gathered from our local gardens and farm. The most outstanding dishes included the orange salad, the escaberche trout and delicious chestnut pudding, among other local dishes like goat stew.

Not far from the Hurdes, in northern Extremadura, one can find a small picturesque village in the Sierra de Gata. The combination of traditional architecture and the often wet surrounding nature help make this an unbeatable point of rest and relaxation. This is a quiet getaway complemented by close contact with nature and fine wine in equal measure.

Casa Manadero

Casa Manadero

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The Canary Islands are, without a doubt, a privileged natural harbour. One of the most important sites in this treasured environment is the Nublo Rural Park, which houses the Integral Inagua Reserve and the Nublo Roque Natural Monument. This location represents the second most important volcanic landscape in the world after Iceland.

So with all these features, Tejeda, the town that hosts this stunning natural landscape, has become a popular destination for nature lovers who want to spend a few days off, specifically the Fonda de la Tea Rural Hotel, a part of Responsible Hoteles. We contacted the hotel’s director Serafina Suarez to provide us with some details about this unique property and its commitment to responsible tourism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • One of the indisputable elements of this property is the natural setting where it is located. What other attractions can be found in the Hotel Rural Fonda de la Tea?

It is a combination of factors that make our hotel a charming place. We start with a house from the late nineteenth century. The rehabilitation of the area provides the elements that give the structure its own identity – a combination between traditional Canarian  architecture and an impeccably tasteful interior design. Proof of this is seen in the typical Canarian patio that retains the flavour of yesteryear, with water and shade during times of rest or siesta.

  • Nublo Rural Park is the natural setting of this hotel. What are some of its main features?

Tejeda has the largest drainage basin in the Canaries. These vertiginous ravines, which emerge from the Roque Roque Bentayga Nublo, have drawn the attention of scholars, artists and tourists. I refer back to Miguel de Unamuno, who spotted the Tejeda Basin in 1911, saying it seems like a “whole petrified tempest”. These reflections can be read in his book “The Lands of Portugal and Spain”. All this attention makes this area ideal for trekking. This landscape is the second most important volcanic area in the world behind Iceland, attracting  prestigious state volcanologists as Emilio José Mangas Viñuela and Bervera Herreros. These physicists claim that the trachytic cone of Tejeda levee system is truly unique.

  •  Given the natural area surrounding the hotel, how does the Hotel Rural Fonda de la Tea  contribute to environmental conservation?

Our main work is based on customer awareness of the importance of the environment and respect for it as well. We are always available to provide information on both the environment around us with the development of natural activities. We also have very visible waste separation containers.

Guests at the Hotel Fonda de la Tea are usually very responsible and healthy, arriving with no bad habits, in search of peace and quiet. We also offer information on our natural museums, including the Centre of Medicinal Plants or Bentayga Archaeological Park. In short, the Tejeda mountain area is a spectacular landscape that attracts true lovers of nature – People who are really sensitive to nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •  What are the natural activities that customers can take part in?

A wide range of possibilities thanks to the environment in which we find ourselves. For those in search of the area’s volcanological features, hiking is the main activity followed closely by trekking. It is also very common to see people riding horses or bikes. The truth is that this environment offers plenty to enjoy, especially sports.

  •  Given the richness of the place, what would you say about the wildlife ?

The fauna is especially based on examples of vultures, kestrels and other various birds. However, the real stars of the local landscape are the sheep and goats that graze in the mountains each morning.

  •  Are there specific dining options in the area?

Yes, and very good ones. Among the most traditional dishes are watercress soup with Tejeda potatoes, fried pork and a variety of cheeses.

Moreover, we are very interested in publicising local products. There are a number of Tejeda almond pastries, as well as wonderful local wines. At breakfast, try some local fruit, depending on the season. We now have great guava, plus a pumpkin tortilla with organic eggs, figs, honey and indigenous cheeses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are considering a few days off, the Nublo Rural Park offers a natural destination with personality, complete with sporting activity options in the middle of world’s second largest volcanic setting. A place to relax and truly enjoy contact with nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate change is a reality that more and more of us witness in our day to day lives. Despite public awareness campaigns, there is still a segment of the population reluctant to change lifestyle habits that may affect the environment. However, it’s not just citizens facing this issue – businesses must adapt as well.

More than many others, the tourism sector is being affected by this phenomenon in a very direct way so hotel owners have to get used to new system requirements. This is due not only to a responsibility to the natural environment, but also because tourists are increasingly demanding more in this area. 

“Tourism for Tomorrow” is a recognition that awards responsible tourism efforts each year and are given each year by the WTTC (The World Travel and Tourism Council). This year’s edition has paid special attention to studies surrounding the impact of climate change. Those ideas and initiatives presented should consider hotel accommodation in the context of the struggle for the common good of our environment.

This effort occurs alongside an assumption that the implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures to climate change will create a loss of competitiveness for tourist destinations. Responsible Hotels has set out to provide examples of actions aimed at mitigating these effects:

          1. A Reduced Carbon Footprint

The carbon footprint is the measure used to assess the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Hotels have to become aware of the importance of this and try to reduce it in any way they can. A number of tourist destination will soon witness the effects of climate change. Rising temperatures and water scarcity will be the main factor for sun and sand destinations, while the mountains will suffer from a lack of snow. For that reason, its important to remember that the more you reduce these emissions, the better it is for destinations that have to fight against this phenomenon.

          2. Use of Renewable Energy

The use of renewable energy provides not only an environmental benefit, but also economical one for tourists. All hotels should have this kind of system to help combat carbon emissions and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The most commonly used among these is solar energy, but there has also been a lot of growth in wind and hydro efforts as well.

          3. Saving Water and Waste Separation 

It is very important, especially in the Mediterranean area, to launch water-saving measures in the face of climate change . Hotels have to develop initiatives to help preserve this precious commodity. Garden irrigation systems with recycled water or offering guests the option to wash one’s sheets and towels on a daily basis are just some ideas that can be implemented. As to the separation of waste, it is very important considering the amount of waste generated by a hotel, most of which can be divided appropriately for recycling.

          4. Investment in Infrastructure

There are hotels with long histories that may be reluctant to invest in changes that could help create a more sustainable infrastructure model. Changing toilets for water-savings models, installing more efficient heating systems or simply investing in the structures needed for renewable energy usage can sometimes pose a problem for employers. In these cases, we have to point out the many reasons for such an investment, because in the years to come, these changes will prove to be not just a contribution to the environment, but an economic benefit as well in the form of energy savings.

          5. Customer Awareness

Tourists are becoming more conscious about the environment and desire responsible behaviour on the part of hotels, but it is also true that it is not a widespread or well-known practice. For this reason, it is important that hotels make the effort to inform their guests about policies and habits that are good for the environment. Many establishments are encouraging their guests to use a bicycle as transport or even suggest activities that involve walking. The separation of waste or water reduction are two steps that the guest can be involved in during their stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These five steps should be essential for any accommodation if we hope to reduce the impact of the tourism industry on our environment. In addition to these efforts, many hotels are introducing additional measure to help fight the dreaded effects of climate change. These efforts can affect tourism migration in the future and help ease climate issues that are now a reality in many current destinations. Tourism has to be adapted to these new circumstances and must also help fight to avoid further effects of climate change.

Check our database to see who is doing what in the name of responsible hotels.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tranquillity of a natural setting, the intimacy of a small town and the close proximity to the capital of the Basque Country all combine to make the Agroturismo Arkaia, a part of Responsible Hoteles, a magnificent destination for some time. The delicious Basque cuisine and cultural offerings available to visitors make this a point of rest and total disconnection. Arroyo Angeles explained the ins and outs of his unique destination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Nestled in the countryside of the Basque Country, what are some of the features of Agroturismo Arkaia

Agroturismo Arkaia is the result of a thorough and painstaking restoration of a nineteenth century, original building, which has preserved the traditional architecture, leaving a full rental cottage for up to 9 people (plus 2 extra beds). It is a comfortable and modern accommodation that is fully accessible, i.e. no barriers. Additionally, we are very committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.

  • What are some of the natural features of your location?

It is located in a small village of only 90 inhabitants named Arkaia, situated in a tranquil rural setting, just 5 miles from the historic centre of the capital of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the Camino de Santiago, a few metres from the greenway railroad Basque-Navarre and the Salburua wetlands (the green ring of Vitoria- Gasteiz). Our accommodation has an enviable location, located less than 100 km from Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Logrono, Rioja and Alava, the French Basque Country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •  So, the accommodation is environmentally friendly? What are the most curious measures taken to meet this goal?

A respect for the environment, along with tourism and our commitment to the social integration of the companies and associations that help form our DNA, form the basis of our dedication to society and define our policy responsibility, or CSR.

From the beginning of the restoration effort, issues were addressed to ensure energy savings and the reduction of our ecological footprint. These included the use of natural materials (stone and wood, often reused from the original building), the installation of high quality insulation to reduce energy costs, thermostatic taps, under floor heating, a biomass boiler and much more, all in support of our philosophy.

As far as day-to-day management is concerned, we’ve included waste separation and recycling, green cleaning products, green advertising and stationary, a booklet of best practices for our clients, an organic garden for general consumption, the use of ash from the biomass boiler to fertilise our gardens, waster composting, bike rentals and information on public transport options to Vitoria-Gasteiz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Besides taking advantage of the tranquillity of the place, what kind of activities can be enjoyed on the property?

There are many nature-related activities that can be enjoyed there. One, for example, is hiking and biking through rural roads, on the Basque-Navarre rail greenway. Tourists can also watch the birds in the wetlands of Salburna and enjoy this environment. Of course it is very interesting to visit Vitoria-Gasteiz, designated the “Green Capital” in 2012. Besides this, visitors can sample the famous cheese tastings and txakoli .

  •  Why should a tourist should not miss this place? What are the main reasons to visit?

You can enjoy the tranquillity of the rural environment and direct contact with the surrounding nature without sacrificing the cultural and entertainment highlights offered by the capital of Vitoria-Gasteiz and other nearby cities.

The property represents an alternative form of tourism with cosy, quality facilities that contribute both to the preservation of the environment and collaboration with social projects.

  •  The Basque country is known for fine dining – what is the typical local cuisine? Can a guest request something special?

Interestingly enough, the closer bars and restaurants are to the environment, the easier it is to enjoy delicious tapas and fancy cuisine. At Agroturismo Arkaia, Hazi has collaborated with the Basque Government as a part of an initiative to raise awareness of local products and the Quality Label. As a result, guests can have access to high quality food, local and organic producers (Wines of Rioja Alava, Txakoli­ of Araba/Álava, cider, cheese with a Idiazabal DO, homemade sausages, alavesas pinto beans and other legumes, canned vegetables with the Basque Quality Label, green chips, or chocolate truffles, etc.).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are planning a getaway, Agroturismo Arkaia could be an excellent choice for relaxation and the enjoyment of some fine food. The location offers a smart combination of the natural and the cultural, all while respecting the environment and erasing any barriers that could pose problems to visitors. Agroturismo Arkaia is a prime location in the heart of the Basque Country.

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