How to be Responsible Travel Accommodation : First Steps

Green Getaways

Take 3 for the Sea

November 2018


How to Be a Responsible Tourism Operator: First Steps

In 2019, the way forward for many travellers is responsible tourism. Responsible travel is a new type of travelling, for people who want to reduce the impact that they are having on the environment as they travel. And these travellers are looking for places to stay that will help them minimise their impact on the environment.

Although this may seem a bit overwhelming at the beginning, there are a few practical steps you can take to make your accommodation more environmentally friendly. First and foremost, you will need to create an environmental policy, so you know what you are already doing and how you can improve. Your policy will need to set achievable and realistic targets will enable you to continually reduce the negative impacts of your business, while increasing the positive effects your operations have on the social and physical environment.  

Water use

• Conduct a water audit to figure out where your accommodation is consuming the most water
• Offer guests the opportunity to choose cleaning of their rooms and changing of towels every second day or on request in order to avoid water waste.

Support for Local Charities or Conservation Groups

• Donate to local conservation groups, and invite your guests to do the same
• Offer information about local conservation efforts to tourists who are interested in getting involved, demonstrating how much you care about your local community
• Invite local conservation leaders to lead tours of the local environment, (or lead them yourself!) and invite guests to come along and take the opportunity to learn more about conservation.


Recycling and composting

If you intend to take responsible tourism seriously, recycling and composting are a must.
• Create a composting bin and use it to start your own garden
• Place recycling bins throughout your accommodation. Train your staff to use them properly, and leave information for guests to guide them on what should be thrown away and what should be recycled.


Recycling bins


Responsible Use of Food

  • Source food as locally as possible and serve food that is seasonal to your area, rather than having it transported halfway across the world.
  • Serve fish that has been farmed sustainably.
  • Look for food items that have a fair trade label.


Energy Use

• Install solar panels to generate your own clean electricity.
• Use timer switches and thermostats to control your heating system’s output.
• Get low-energy lighting like fluorescent tubes or LED light fittings.
• Purchase energy-efficient rated units when replacing appliances.


Responsible tourism will help your business become more successful as new marketing opportunities open up in an evolving and expanding space.


Local Economy

  • Source your supplies locally to support your local community
  • Recommend local guides and suggest to your guests that they eat at locally owned restaurants.  Keeping the profit in the community will both ensure that the destination continues to exist and the local community can prosper.
  • Supply information about public transport in the local area.
  • Promote growth within your local economy by hiring nearby residents and using as many locally-sourced goods and supplies as possible.
  • Showcase local products that are unique to your area, or partner with nearby businesses to cross promote local goods and services.




Local Environment

  • Plant indigenous trees/shrubs in your area. 
  • Provide information to guests to help them understand the local ecosystem and to minimise damage to the environment, wildlife or marine ecosystems.


The positive impact made by these changes will make your efforts worthwhile.

Quite aside from the knowledge that you are helping to protect the environment, responsible tourism will help your business become more successful as new marketing opportunities open up in an evolving and expanding space. Sustainable, responsible, green, eco friendly… these words are appealing to more and more travellers who want to reduce their impact on the planet, but don’t necessarily know how to go about it. Your accommodation business can take the opportunity to allow them to do this.

And if you would like to go further, you can find more detailed information at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council




Take 3 for the Sea


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