An Introduction to Eco Accommodation and Eco Hotels

The term "eco accommodation" has grown out of the specific area within the global travel industry known known as the “ecotourism” movement.   In the context of we use the term in relation the global hospitality industry, within the field of travel and tourism rather than that of permanent accommodation.  So every usage of the term within this website will refer to an eco hotel or a green hotel depending on your preferred lexicon.  

In order to adhere to the term eco hotel these various forms of accommodation are deemed to be managed in accordance with the principles of responsible tourism or ecotourism.  As many readers will be aware there is a difference between the meaning of these two terms,  but by their nature they are often synonymous with another.  Ethical tourism is primarily geared toward the respectful treatment of employees, suppliers and local human communities, although it can also include an environmental dimension as well.  Ecotourism as its first syllable suggests is primarily related to the environment.  The ethos of the term is born from a wider environmental or "green" movement and is concerned with minimising the damage done to the planet by travelling but also in some cases actually working for good within a particular travel destination.  

The Difference between an Eco Resort and an Eco Hotel

Arguably the first type of eco accommodation to surface into the lexicon of mainstream travel relating to eco accommodation was the "eco lodge".  This was initially taken to mean any small accommodation provider in a particularly pristine natural environment, even if the eco lodge had no environmental elements elements as part of its offering.  These days eco lodges have become far more closely defined in terms of their environmental credentials, although there can still be a huge amount of difference between one and another.  The larger relations of the eco lodge are the Eco Hotel and the Eco Resort both of which are obviously larger accommodation offerings than eco-lodges.  Although the former is usually taken to mean (not surprisingly) in an urban setting while the later is usually applied to a non-urban location although some out of town resorts do favour the term instead of resort in some cases.  Regardless of their location they adhere to the same guiding principles of an eco-lodge, but because of their size they cannot be considered as “lodges”.   Eco resorts and eco hotels and green hotels again being one and the same, stem out of the eco lodge ethos.

These hotels may also have a commitment to wider Corporate Social Responsibility commitments to either specific NGOs and charities or local community projects, they may also provide employee training, benefits or mentoring so that the employees have improved working conditions.  In some cases they may have even created their own foundation and charities which they are involved with as a business.  

Ownership is perhaps one of the major differentiating factors between green hotels and eco lodges.  In the case of the lodge ownership is often shared with local stakeholders, or profits are donated to local NGOs.  While eco hotel owners may be independent and they may be or may not be local community members.  And the division between independent and hotel chain hotels which fall within the sector are more or less evenly matched.