Eco hotel

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An eco hotel, or a green hotel, is an environmentally sustainable hotel or accommodation that has made important environmental improvements to its structure in order to minimize its impact on the natural environment. The basic definition of an eco-friendly hotel is an environmentally responsible lodging that follows the practices of green living. These hotels have to be certified green by an independent third-party or by the state they are located in. Traditionally, these hotels were mostly presented as ecolodges 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.

These improvements can include non-toxic housekeeping practices, the use of renewable energy, organic soaps, energy-efficient light fixtures, and recycling programs. It is beneficial for these hotels to get certain certifications in order to be environmentally compliant. One beneficial certification specifically for hotels is the LEED certification. A LEED-certified hotel provides benefits to the environment through energy efficient practices. An eco hotel should follow a set of best practices in order to do their part to benefit the environment. Some of these best practices include serving local organic food in restaurants, reusing linens when a guest is staying for more than one night, and incorporating in-room recycling and composting programs. Hotels that have these certifications and best practices[1] can attract environmentally conscious travelers and stand out from other hotels.


An eco hotel must usually meet the following criteria:

  • Dependence on the natural environment
  • Ecological sustainability
  • Proven contribution to conservation
  • Provision of environmental training programs
  • Incorporation of cultural considerations
  • Provision of an economic return to the community


Green hotels follow strict green guidelines to ensure that their guests are staying in a safe, non-toxic and energy-efficient accommodation. Here are some basic characteristics of a green hotel:

  • Housekeeping uses non-toxic cleaning agents and laundry detergent
  • 100% organic cotton sheets, towels and mattresses
  • Non-smoking environment
  • Renewable energy sources like solar or wind energy
  • Bulk organic soap and amenities instead of individual packages to reduce waste
  • Guest room and hotel lobby recycling bins
  • Towel and sheet re-use (guests can tell housekeeping to leave these slightly used items to reduce water consumption)
  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • On-site transportation with green vehicles
  • Serve organic and local-grown food
  • Non-disposable dishes
  • Offers a fresh-air exchange system
  • Greywater recycling, which is the reuse of kitchen, bath and laundry water for garden and landscaping
  • Newspaper recycling program


An ecological hotel is one that is fully integrated into the environment without damaging the environment, contributing in some way to progress and improvement of the local community and sustainable growth of the tourism industry.

The term has been used on a more regular basis as new websites devoted to the subject become more prominent and hotel owners become 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. 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.

Ecolabels are labeling systems that show the environmental impact of good and services within regions around the world.

Ecolabeling of hotels in Europe[edit]

The EU Ecolabel is an official sign of the environmental quality of services and goods established in 1992[2] in the European Union (EU) that is both certified by an independent organization and valid throughout the many member states of the European Union.

Any tourism accommodation operator in the EU – from a large hotel chain to a small farmhouse – has been able to apply for the European Eco-label since 2003. The operators must meet strict minimum standards with regard to environmental performance and health standards. Tourism accommodation services need to meet certain set criteria by acquiring a minimum of 20 points of a range of mandatory requirements.[3][4] These mandatory requirements include the use of renewable energy sources, an overall reduction in energy and water consumption, measures to reduce waste and wastewater, environmental policy setting, the provision of non-smoking areas, and the promotion of environmentally preferable means of transport.[5][6][7]

The first eco-labelled hotel in the European Union was the Sunwing Resort Kallithea, located in Rhodes, Greece, in September 2003[8] and the first eco-labelled hotel on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) was the Hotel Jardim Atlântico on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Ecolabeling of hotels in South America[edit]

In Argentina, the Tourism Hotels Association (AHT) has created an annual award, Hoteles Más Verdes (Greener Hotel).[9] The prize – a monetary award and peer-recognition – goes the best eco-hotels in the country, both operating and under construction.

In 2014, the city of Buenos Aires has presented a new labeling system for hotels and hostels, Ecosello.[10] With three levels of certification (Committed, Advanced, and Excellence), the new label aims at developing eco-consciousness among tourism operators in Buenos Aires.

Ecolabeling of hotels globally[edit]

In 2008, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria was launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.[11] The Criteria, managed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, created a global standard for sustainable travel and tourism and includes criteria and performance indicators for destinations, tour operators and hotels.[12] The GSTC provides accreditation through a third-party to Certification Bodies to legitimize claims of sustainability.[13]

Additional initiatives[edit]

Eco hotels may also actively help in protecting its natural environment. For instance, the Misool Eco Resort was started as a funding vehicle for conservation work in the area.[14] A private marine reserve (which has grown to a size of 300 000 acres) was set up, and included a no-take zone. A salaried 15-person team of local rangers (which work for the sister charity, Misool Foundation) patrol the area and have a base camp at Misool Eco Resort (alongside additional locations in the area).[15][16] The Misool Foundation also has additional projects, including a collaborative program to end manta hunting in Lakamera (Savu Sea Alliance).[17] For the livelihood of the eco resort itself, the conservation work is also of great importance, as it leverages pristine reefs as its central asset[18] (the resort includes a dive center). The work has even increased this asset as an increase of 250% of biomass was observed over a 6-year period.[19]

Besides simply protecting the environment, eco hotels can also help the environment by coral growing initiatives (coral nursery). Iberostar Group's Wave of Change initiative focuses on exactly that.[20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Enz, Cathy (1999). "Best Hotel Environmental Practices". Best Hotel Environmental Practices: 1–8.
  2. ^ "EU Ecolabel - Environment - European Commission". Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  3. ^ Commission Decision (EU) 2017/175 of 25 January 2017 on establishing EU Ecolabel criteria for tourist accommodation (notified under document C(2017) 299) (Text with EEA relevance. ), 2017-02-02, retrieved 2022-05-12
  4. ^ "The New EU Ecolabel Criteria for Tourism Accommodation: What You Need to Know – GreenMindWarrior". Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  5. ^ Commission Decision (EU) 2017/175 of 25 January 2017 on establishing EU Ecolabel criteria for tourist accommodation (notified under document C(2017) 299) (Text with EEA relevance. ), 2017-02-02, retrieved 2022-05-12
  6. ^ "EUROPA - Environment - Ecolabel - Producers - Tourism". Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  7. ^ "The New EU Ecolabel Criteria for Tourism Accommodation: What You Need to Know – GreenMindWarrior". Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  8. ^ "EUROPA - Environment - Ecolabel - The EU Eco-label: News". Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  9. ^ Hoteles más Verdes, "Greener Hotels" Contest in South America.
  10. ^ Ecosello Buenos Aires.
  11. ^ Bushell, Robyn; Bricker, Kelly (2017-01-01). "Tourism in protected areas: Developing meaningful standards". Tourism and Hospitality Research. 17 (1): 106–120. doi:10.1177/1467358416636173. ISSN 1467-3584. S2CID 155767802.
  12. ^ "Coping with Success: Managing Overcrowding in Tourism Destinations". McKinsey & Company. December 2017.
  13. ^ Singh, S. (2019). "Recognising Sustainability in Tourism". Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
  14. ^ Misool Eco Resort: our story
  15. ^ Misool Foundation: we are here
  16. ^ Misool Foundation: Misool Marine Reserve
  17. ^ Misool Foundation: Our projects
  18. ^ Misool Eco Resort: our story
  19. ^ Misool Eco Resort: our story
  20. ^ Iberostar Wave of Change
  21. ^ "Could tourism be the key to guaranteeing the future of our oceans?". 7 October 2020.

External links[edit]