Five steps to a successful towel and linen reuse scheme

Following several recent news stories about hotel approaches to towel and linen sustainability, here is a simple guide to getting it right. 1:  USE THE MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MATERIALS POSSIBLE W Hotels in North America have launched a new range of bed linen made from recycled plastic bottles. Early May saw the hotel launch the Ekocycle range of bedlinen, designed in a partnership between Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, and Coca Cola. Each king size Ekocycle sheet contains around 31 … [Read more...]

Tourism and water use – time for some fresh thinking

I've been looking into hotel water sustainability innovations over the last few days, trying to find some stories for a blog to mark World Water Day, which happened last Sunday. I've been reading how water accounts for 10% of utility bills in many hotels. And how globally demand for water is projected to exceed supply by 40% by 2030. I've also read many of the efforts the industry is making. Of the impact of low flow showerheads and toilets, or simply washing smaller loads in smaller machines. … [Read more...]

Will Airbnb and the sharing economy hurt or help responsible tourism?

A few years ago I visited around 200 ecolodges, homestays, community run guests houses etc around the world as part of my research for a book on the best in sustainable tourism. As a result of my experiences, I knew I would always seek out these places for my own holidays. Not just because of their ethics, but because I had a much better time. I met more inspiring people, got closer to wildlife, stayed in more remarkable places. Over the last two months I have been exploring what has happened … [Read more...]

Which is more revolutionary – Airbnb or a caravan park?

The cover of Time magazine for February 9, 2015 is an article by Joel Stein called 'Tales From The Sharing Economy'. It looks at how various companies are disrupting entire sectors, from Uber for taxis to Yerdle for unwanted home goods. For tourism the big name here is Airbnb, founded in 2008, but already operating in 190 countries, with more than 425,000 people using it every night, and valued at more than $13 billion. Over the last month I have stayed in three Airbnb properties in Australia. … [Read more...]

Beyond the bucket list: My dream destination for 2015

I wasn't going to join the ritual of list making that takes place at this time of year, especially as I already had a go in 2014. But then people I respect kept reinventing the bucket list, and I wanted to get stuck in too. First Bret Love and Greenglobaltravel asked five of the world's leading responsible tourism experts for their ideas for countries that actually 'deserved' our tourist dollar. Then last week in these very pages Harold Goodwin chose not to look for destinations for 2015, but … [Read more...]

Why I think the DearTripadvisor Campaign is wrong

Strange things are happening in the world of certification and sustainability. It's all to do with a campaign called DearTripadvisor, which is urging the world's largest travel review site to let it's users rate hotels on sustainability, and then for Tripadvisor to include their rating alongside the ratings for cleanliness, service, food etc. Last year, Tripadvisor launched the Greenleaders scheme in the US, enabling hotels to apply to sign up. Earlier this year it launched in Europe. In the … [Read more...]

10 things I learned from WTM 2014 and its responsible tourism programme

Having sat in almost every single seminar and event throughout the four days last week, I had plenty of chances to learn from some of the leading experts in the Industry. Here are 10 key facts and figures I learnt, and where possible a link to a video of them at WTM this year.  1) Elephants could soon be gone from Africa Colin Bell said that due to the escalating poaching crisis, the continent was losing 30,000 elephants a year to poachers, translating to 1 every 15 minutes. So bad has poaching … [Read more...]