Just because there is recycled water and plants all around doesn’t mean a hotel is ecofriendly. There is much more to it than these superficial indicators.
Ecofriendly tourism has been around since the 1980s. This type of tourism places more emphasis on conserving the flora and fauna in a place. The other experiences are secondary.
Since the late 2010s, the movement has really taken off. More people are seeking green hotels every year, and there is a drastic increase in awareness about the topic. Because of that, hotel administrators are finding it harder to get away with implementing inadequate green methods. The guests are holding them accountable.
If you are a traveler that is keen on keeping your vacation ecofriendly, then this is the article for you. Read on to know how to gauge whether a hotel is truly sustainable or not.
It Will Be Plastered On Their Website
A hotel that is environmentally friendly really likes to talk about how environmentally friendly it is. So, if a hotel is truly green, you can find the information all over its website.
Information like how many resources it has saved will be available front and center. Most hotel websites will have a report addressing where they get their water and energy from. Hotels that recycle or use renewable energy will have it on their website.
It Will Have a Sustainability Policy
This is a document that lays out the hotel’s blueprint for following sustainable practices. This policy is regularly updated and will be available on the website.
A sustainability policy will mention all of the certifications that a hotel has received. If these certifications are from credible organizations, you’ll have found yourself a truly green hotel.
This policy will prominently display all the sustainable activities the hotel partakes in.
If you can’t find this document on the hotel’s website, call them and ask for it. If they give it to you, all’s well. But, if you catch them beating around the bush, chances are they aren’t as ecofriendly as they want you to believe.
The following are some prominent organizations offering green accreditations to hotels:
• LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
This is an international program run by the U.S. Green Building Council. It awards buildings that are extraordinary green in their designs. LEED offers awards to all types of buildings across the globe.
• EMA Green Seal for Hospitality
This award is exclusively for hotels and resorts that are environmentally friendly. This award is given to help customers identify green hotels, and therefore helps promote ecotourism. It is given by the Environmental Media Association.
•The Green Globe Certification
This certification measures the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of the business. But, that’s not where it stops. It also verifies the sustainability practices of the supply partners. If a hotel has a Green Globe Certification, it can definitely be trusted.
How to Identify Greenwashing
The organization does this to convince you that it’s green. Many organizations are guilty of engaging in greenwashing.
Such hotels give the consumers misleading information to portray that they are ecofriendly, or they may advertise things like hang-drying towels or banning single-use plastics as being green. Though these measures are needed, it is the least an organization can do.
If the hotel claims that it is energy-efficient, but doesn’t detail the amount of energy saved, then it is not trustworthy. Similarly, if any claim isn’t backed by numbers or authentic sources of information, odds are the hotel isn’t legit.
Greenwashing is a deceptive tactic that attempts to pull in customers.
Check the Activities Offered By the Hotel
If a hotel is green, the activities offered by the hotel should also be green. If you’re going to a beach resort and the resort offers you the chance to swim with dolphins, this could be a red flag.
Usually, when a resort is offering an animal-related activity, their conservation plan is given away. Meaning, they would rather give their guest a good time at the cost of wildlife. But, this is not always the case.
Many hotels that offer animal-related activities actually go the extra mile in protecting those species. The verification for this should come from an authentic third-party organization.
Other activities like ATV riding or helicopter adventures are fuel and energy-wasting. If the hotel you’re staying at offers these pastimes, then rethink your booking.
Where Is The Food Sourced From?
It is highly unlikely that an African hotel will serve authentic Italian cuisine. If it does though, be cautious. There is a lot of energy wasted when shipping food from one place to another, and when the distance increases, more energy is wasted.
So, check the menu of your hotel before you book your room. If they provide food that is native to the country, then you’ll know that the food is locally sourced.
This will also give employment opportunities for local farmers, which is a step towards social sustainability.
At the other end, you can also check where the leftover food goes, or if the food waste is composted. Many big organizations are in the habit of throwing away uneaten food. Check what your hotel’s policy is about food waste.
Who Do They Employ?
Sustainable traveling goes beyond simply following green methods. The hotel also needs to be socially responsible.
Social responsibility is evident through the employees at the hotel. Are the employees locals? If not, check if the hotel gives back to the local community.
These are healthy indicators that the hotel you’ll be staying at is one that cares.
Who Are Their Partners?
Not many people think to check this, but it is an important factor to take into consideration.
A big hotel or resort is usually partnered with a large corporation. Dig deep into who its partners are. If you find that the partners are also engaged in clean activities and sustainable practices, it’s a safe hotel to book your room at.
If the partner has been engaged in dubious activities, then be wary while you are booking. The hotel may not deserve your money.
Do They Hand Out Mini-Toiletries?
It is well-known that single-use plastics are not environmentally friendly. A hotel cannot call itself green and still distribute mini plastic bottles.
Many properties are replacing these bottles with larger refillable ones. Beyond this, there are other plastic materials that the hotel can cut out. These include straws, q-tips, and takeaway containers.
In a bid to eliminate single-use plastic bottles, hotels have water refilling stations. All these are good indicators that a hotel is green.
It is important to be informed before you confirm your bookings. This research will add an additional 15 minutes to your booking time, but once verified, you can rest assured knowing the hotel you’re going to is a sustainable one.
A Moment to Address Insurance
Regardless of where your travels take you abroad, it’s a smart idea to invest in travel insurance or travel medical insurance before you depart. Not only can this help you save money in the event of a flight cancellation or loss of baggage, it can also help you receive necessary emergency medical treatment in a foreign country without being a drain on local resources. It is one further step you can take to be a resourceful, conscientious international traveler.
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