With summertime fast approaching, vacations are inevitable. Whether it’s a chore for you or the time of year you look forward to most, it never hurts to go ‘green’ while you’re on holiday. In fact, few people even consider going on a green vacation for fear of sacrificing comfort and style.
Sure, it’s a common misconception that ‘greening’ your holiday vacation entails shabby accommodations and limited activities to participate in, but we’ll show you that it’s possible to be environmentally responsible and indulge in the luxury of being green!
Green tourism allows you to do your part for the environment without asking you to sacrifice the comfort that holidays bring. Lately, there’s been a surge in the number of hotels that consider themselves ‘green’, but first, there are a few things that make them green, so make sure the hotel you select is, in fact, eco-friendly.
So, what are ‘green’ accommodations? According to the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, environmentally friendly hotels and resorts are those that are devoted to improving their environmental performances, and in effect, limiting (as much as possible) any negative impact that their operations may have on the environment.
The Green Eco-Rating Program is a system designed to rate the environmental performances of hotels, motels, and resorts worldwide. The system is based on a 1-5 scale on the performance of hotels, judged by a comprehensive environmental self-assessment. Further, these accommodations are offered guidance on how to reduce negative environmental impacts with minimal fiscal expenditure.
The assessment covers five main operational areas and nine sustainable practice areas. The operational areas are corporate environmental management, housekeeping, food and beverage operations, conference and meeting facilities, and engineering. The nine sustainable practice areas are energy conservation, water conservation, solid waste management, hazardous waste management, indoor air quality, community outreach, building infrastructure, land use, and environmental management.
Accommodations that have been rated by the Green Key Eco-Rating Program are also susceptible to on-site inspections to confirm the rating. To see how some of your dream hotels are rated, check out www.greenkeyglobal.com.
To get you started on the overwhelming selection of green vacation accommodations, we’re highlighting just a few luxurious eco-gems here!
Vancouver, Canada: The Fairmont Pacific Rim
At the Fairmont Pacific Rim, being green is a core value. The Fairmont pioneered the Green Partnership program and is committed to minimizing the negative impact that their hotel has on the planet through sustainable practices. Their green operations include focusing on improvements in waste management, sustainability, and energy and water conservation, and overall reduced utilities consumption, while participating in community outreach. The Fairmont uses methods varying from recycling and organic waste diversion to energy-efficient lighting and sustainable energy technology.
Hua Hin, Thailand: Six Senses Hideaway
Designed to be the best of eco-luxuries, the Six Senses Resort is devoted to reducing its impact on its environment. Its reduced energy consumption practices and priority of local, Thai, organic, Fair Trade products, and Marine Stewardship certified fish makes it an ideal ‘green-keeper’. What’s more, Six Senses keeps an organic garden that is hydrated using recycled water and uses recycled bottles, aluminum cans, and mud brick as its frame, with newspaper and compost from the garden’s mushrooms as the planting medium. The resort also prioritizes its aim to benefit the Thai people, not only with food, but also with crafts: almost all of the materials, products, furnishings, and decorations are made by Thai locals with natural materials.
Aigle, Switzerland: The Whitepod Resort
Explore the Swiss Alps in a luxurious, green, and definitely new way! The Whitepod Resort is a collection of eco-friendly pods, or dome-shaped tents, that are pitched on wooden platforms. Accommodations are low-impact on the alpine environment, isolated from urbanism. The Whitepod Resort practices sustainable tourism by limiting its impact on its natural environment, including using methods such as minimizing daily water and electricity consumption, reducing waste production, favouring the use of renewable resources, and increasing clients’ awareness of the need to protect the environment.
Certainly, these accommodations are evidence of the mutual respect that should exist between humans and nature. So next time you’re going on vacation, why not experience the best of the best while also doing your part for the environment? Throw those ecotourism stereotypes out the window and get green!