- Eco hotels
Eco hotel is a term used to describe a hotel or accommodation that has made important environmental improvements to its structure in order to minimize its impact on the environment. Traditionally these hotels were mostly presented as Eco Lodges because of their location, often in jungles, and their design inspired by the use of traditional building methods applied by skilled local craftsmen in areas such as Costa Rica and Indonesia.
Today the term has developed to include properties in less “natural” locations that have invested in improving their “green” credentials. There are plenty of websites and guide books to help choose a hotel based on their environmental achievements yet no real global rating exist. One of the only rating systems (green stars) was developed and launched this year by an English website: [http://www.ecohotelsoftheworld.com Eco Hotels of the World] with a view of grouping together all the Eco Hotels and Lodges out there and rate them according to their environmental prowess.
According to this site the correct definition of an Eco Hotel is a property that fills a majority of the following Criteria:
*Dependence on the natural environment
*Proven contribution to conservation
*Provision of environmental training programs
*Incorporation of cultural considerations
*Provision of an economic return to the local community
The term is being used on a more regular basis as new websites devoted to the subject become more prominent and hotel owners are more interested in protecting the areas their guests have come to visit.
New properties are being built from sustainable resources – tropical hardwoods, local stone – and designed to better blend in with their environment. In addition they are also being run on eco-friendly principles, such as serving organic or locally grown food or using natural cooling as opposed to air conditioning, all of which is doing far more good than just asking guests to reuse their towels.
There are many ways of establishing the “green” credentials of your hotel and as there are more than 100 certification programs worldwide [http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-ultimate-green-hotel-august-2006/sidebar/1] there is a certain amount of confusion on the subject. It is up to guests to check whether the hotel is being run on environmental principles and the best way of doing this is to research your hotel before booking.
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