Sustainable tourism definition




Sustainable tourism is tourism that follows the principles of sustainability, minimizing the impact on the environment and local culture, while contributing to generate income and employment for the local population.


The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines sustainable tourism as tourism that fully takes into account the current and future economic, social and environmental impacts to meet the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and the host communities.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is an international organization created in 1975 that aims to promote tourism. Formally linked to the United Nations since 1976, when it became an executive agency of UNDP. In 1977 an agreement was signed that formalized the collaboration with the United Nations, being a specialized agency of the United Nations system since 2003. It has its headquarters in Madrid (Spain) and has 156 member states.

According to UNWTO, the principles that define sustainable tourism are:

  • The natural and cultural resources are conserved for their continued use in the future, while they report benefits;
  • Tourism development is planned and managed in a way that does not cause serious environmental or socio-cultural problems;
  • The environmental quality is maintained and improved;
  • It seeks to maintain a high level of satisfaction of visitors and the destination retains its prestige and commercial potential; Y
  • The benefits of tourism are widely distributed throughout society.



These characteristics make sustainable tourism a strategic tool in local and national economic development. On the one hand, tourism is a great opportunity in some urban and rural areas, where there are no other alternatives for economic activity. At the same time, as part of the services sector, it offers more opportunities for the emergence of local companies (we must bear in mind that even in the most developed countries, this sector is mainly made up of SMEs). And despite being a sector that requires heavy investments in infrastructure and equipment, it also uses labor intensively, thus offering numerous job and business opportunities, without distinction for men, women and young people.

This trend of tourism called Sustainable Tourism is also supported by UNESCO, who argues that "The development of sustainable tourism must be ecologically sustainable in the long term, economically viable, as well as ethically and socially equitable" (BRESCE, 2009).

Guide to know if the hotel where you stay is sustainable.


Surely you know that sustainability has become an added value in any type of trip. You should also know that there are hotels that, in an effort not to be left behind, are described as 'green' when they are not. But do you know how to detect if the hotel you visit passes the basic standards to be sustainable?

If you want to determine how responsible you are when it comes to environmental responsibility, here are some criteria to determine your credibility.

Its construction is sustainable

Look at the architecture of the place. Many of the new hotels use recycled materials for their construction, such as wood or cotton for interior decoration. Others concentrate on not damaging the space in which they stand, transplanting trees or creating protected spaces. In addition, there are increasingly more structures to absorb natural energy evident in the properties, from solar panels to rainwater collection systems.

It has a system of saving resources
Maintaining the consumption of resources to a minimum is a decisive step in the search for sustainability. For this, hotels often install lights with sensor controls that turn off completely when there is no one in the room. Another tool is to install showers with little pressure to reduce water consumption.

Help the community or the surrounding environment


A sustainable hotel will do everything possible to return something to the environment in which it is located. Some support the local community with jobs or financial assistance to an organization, while others support environmental conservation initiatives. This information is something that you can easily find on the website, or else, of any staff member.




Use ethical products

Another indicator that you should look for is the supply chain that the products used in the hotel follow, from the room amenities to the food. The vast majority of sustainable hotels have adopted the 'farm to table' philosophy, with seasonal menus based on local farming, organic farms and sustainable fishing cycles.

It has an eco-friendly certification

The last indicator, and perhaps the most forceful, is the certification of sustainability, validated by experts in the field who have studied all aspects of the space to evaluate it. Symbol of pride, this is usually announced on the website, as well as at the hotel reception. Look for stamps like Green Key, LEED, Green Leaf or Earth Check among many others.


Sustainable hotels: trends and experiences


Several WorldHotels establishments are working in the line of sustainability and energy efficiency. With their good practices, they contribute to creating unique, locally relevant experiences that are capable of generating benefits in the environment in which they operate.

Sustainable tourism experiences, friendly to the environment, are already part of travelers' expectations, and hotels are no strangers to this reality. In addition, travelers understand sustainability from a more global perspective, which not only covers energy efficiency, respectful practices with the environment, but also integration with the community and the local environment, capable of enhancing the character and authenticity of a destination.

The high-end hotels have been working in this line for years, including the establishments that form part of the WorldHotels network, they have developed innovative ideas and strategies to increase their sustainable practices and to add this commitment to the guests with an original, relevant and memorable approach. .



Urban beekeeping


Beekeeping is finding spaces in urban environments to grow. Bees are more comfortable in cities since higher temperatures ensure a longer flowering period than in the field, which lengthens the feeding period and the production of honey by each bee.

In cities with low levels of pollution, the bees of the city have several alternatives for feeding and are healthier than the colonies in the countryside, weakened by monocultures. For this reason, several hotels recreate natural environments in the city, also getting local products that incorporate the experience of the guests.

The Atrium Hotel Mainz, in Mainz, Germany is home to two colonies of "dark bees", a species declared extinct in Germany in 1975. In this way they not only contribute to the conservation of this species, they also produce homegrown honey that It is part of the culinary offer of the hotel and, in addition, the surrounding farmers are delighted with the pollination of their fruit trees.

Le Plaza Brussels, in Brussels, Belgium has installed three hives on its terrace. The first crop of the hotel weighed 20 kilograms and, since then, it is offered to the clients and members of the hotel team; similar proposal to Hotel Daniel Vienna, in Vienna, Austria, which also has beehives on the seventh floor.

On the roof of the Nordic Hotel Forum in Tallinn, Estonia, there are six beehives of more than 60,000 bees that guests can visit virtually through the web camera that shows the hidden life of bees.




Local and proximity products


The demand for local foods and fresh products continues to rise and hotels are no strangers to this trend: many opt for urban gardens or gardens dedicated to vegetables and herbs that are used in the kitchen of the hotel, or agreements with farms or nearby crops for other raw materials, which allows to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the purchase and distribution of raw materials for the kitchen, using fresher products, and in many cases organic and ecological.

Practices of this type are standardized and recognized through entities such as Green Chefs, to which the head chef of the Hotel Atrium Mainz belongs. This organization is dedicated to promoting the respectful use of food, good management of waste, local purchases and products of proximity. They also defend environmental awareness, low energy consumption, reduction in CO2 emissions and fair working conditions.


Environmentally friendly materials and design


Integrating exteriors and interiors through the design of spaces and the use of local materials is the response of hotel interior architecture to sustainability. The panoramic views, interior waterfalls, vertical gardens and natural light techniques are just some examples that allow guests to get close to nature from the comfort of an interior space, preserving the feeling of being in the middle of nature.

This philosophy has inspired the design of Dorsett Shanghai, in Shanghai, China, a certified ecological hotel located just across from Century Park, the largest park in Shanghai. More than 60% of the rooms have views of the park and, in the interior spaces, plants and local vegetation have a great role.

Another hotel that takes nature within its facilities is the Carlton City Hotel in Singapore, which has green walls and vertical gardens in various parts of the building.


Sustainability was also the most important criterion that guided the Anam project, in Nha Trang, Vietnam. In its design, wood from sustainably cultivated forests was used, and it is the main thread of interior design, which fuses the hotel's facilities with the natural environment that surrounds it.



SMART hotels and energy reduction


Technology not only contributes to enrich the guest experience, it is also an indispensable ally to increase the efficiency of supplies. In addition, many establishments incorporate good practices in the maintenance of their water and air management systems, the monitoring of consumption or the use of more efficient, alternative and renewable energy sources.

The Leopold Hotel Antwerp, in Antwerp, the Netherlands the hotel works with Nanogrid, a system that allows to map the energy consumption of different parts of the hotel, controlling and optimizing the system continuously in order to reduce costs and its environmental impact. In addition, it has incorporated good practices such as efficient lighting and ignition patterns associated with natural light, use of biodegradable cleaning products, among others.

The Caravelle Saigon in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam is the first and only hotel in the country able to recycle its 40,000 cubic meters a year of treated wastewater for use in cooling towers and flushing toilets since 2010. They have also updated its elevators, installing high efficiency motors, have incorporated efficient lighting and digital temperature control systems in all rooms.

The Stamford Plaza Airport Hotel, in Sydney, Australia, produces energy through solar panels and efficient lighting systems, has incorporated more efficient refrigeration and air conditioning systems with less environmental impact.




Waste management


Luxury is no longer synonymous with waste, but a conscious use of resources to achieve a unique and special experience. It is about recycling, reusing, reducing costs and environmental impact without sacrificing the quality of the experience.

Like many Spanish hotels, El Anam, in Vietnam, has put a brake on the use of plastic by phasing out its use and incorporating glass and bamboo as substitutes, a philosophy that they seek to extend beyond the hotel. In addition, its staff contributes to the cleanliness of the beach, uses recycled water to irrigate the gardens of the complex, and works with suppliers to reduce waste and encourage the rational use of environmental resources throughout the value chain.




Commitment of the guest


The success of sustainable initiatives in hotels is greater when guests are part of their implementation, not only explaining the scope of the measures but also inviting them to actively participate in the process.

For example, the Carlton City Hotel in Singapore invites its guests to reduce their ecological footprint and be part of their environmental practices; a similar strategy to the hotels of Marmara Antalya, Marmara Pera, Marmara Sisli, and Marmara Taksim, in Turkey, which also have energy control systems for areas and rooms that are not being used.


Five places to do ecotourism in the Amazon river


If you have the opportunity to organize your holidays without a date limit, the best time to go to the Amazon is perhaps between August and September, because the climate is more pleasant for those who are not used to heat and humidity.

Behind the beach, the colonial cities, the great museums and others, those who visit the Amazon are going to take a trip through nature to recognize its charms, usefulness and know what remains of the indigenous traditions. According to the National System of Cultural Information, the department has 26 indigenous ethnic groups with a population of 47,000 members. It highlights 14 linguistic families among which, the most numerous, are the Tukano, Arawak, Tikuna, Huitoto and Tupi.



What can be done in the Amazon? The first thing is to have the ticket, which according to supply and demand can cost on average about $ 700,000. Once you have purchased the flight you will have to define if you want to stay in the two available municipalities Leticia or Puerto Nariño or if you want to stay in the jungle with the indigenous communities. These two services are offered by the department and its costs with variables.

A lodging in Leticia can cost from $ 17 in hostel format to $ 133 in a houseboat per night. If you already have the reservation for accommodation in the same hotel or in the city you can put together your tourist plans, it is recommended not always take everything planned as the costs vary if you take a plan in the area or from your city of origin.

Next, we present the five most striking options for ecotourism offered by the department to its visitors.


Island of the mmonkeys



The island of the monkeys has a unique attraction and is to enter the habitat of one of the largest communities of monkeys or squirrel monkeys. It is located 35 kilometers from Leticia and is reached by boat on the Amazon River after a 45-minute journey. It is a natural reserve of flora and fauna and the monkeys interact with tourists in a natural way taking into account the proper precautions because you are the one who arrives at your place where the animals live.


Port Nariño


It is the second municipality of the department and its main attraction is that it is a quiet place, a town without cars where all the streets are pedestrian. It offers a variety of restaurants and lodging, as well as a viewpoint where you can see the greatness of the Amazon River. It is located 80 kilometers from Leticia, which is done by boat and is about 30 minutes from the first bordering Peruvian municipality.




Macedonia and Mocagua



The community of Macedonia is home to a good number of Ticuna Indians. When visiting your home you will have the option to see skills for crafts with seeds and wood. In Mocagua, there is another native population that allows interaction with them, who are venturing into lodging ventures of maximum 50 people in their homes. They also offer lunches, canoeing, artisanal fishing and ecological walks.


Amazon World Park




Reserve Tanimboca



This reserve, which is half an hour from Leticia by car, was created in 2003 to conserve part of the jungle with the Huitoto community. In 2004 the first trails were made that lead to a tree called tanimboca, hence the name of the reserve. It offers accommodation in cabins in the trees and has the capacity to host up to 55 people. The cabins cost $ 180,000 per person and the night includes a night walk and breakfast. In addition, it offers extreme sports.



This is Sandymount, the greenest hotel in Europe


For the second year, this hotel located in Dublin stood out in the World Travel Awards in the greenest category.



Sandymount Hotel

Sandymount Hotel, located in the city of Dublin, Ireland, once again won the World Travel Awards as the greenest hotel in Europe by winning, for the second time, in the "Leading Green Hotel" category.

This hotel is a family business that was renovated a few years ago to offer its visitors a complex committed to the environment, constantly refining its ecological commitment; a trend increasingly adopted within hotels worldwide.

 Up to 95% of its waste is recycled thanks to the implementation of ecological actions.

The hotel waste is recycled almost in its entirety; the hotel has introduced biodegradable elements such as disposable cups and lids, as well as straws that are used inside the bar. The attachments in the showers have managed to reduce up to 47% of the water used, while products such as soap and other toiletries are also recycled.

The hotel offers its guests incentives to join the ecological commitment to save energy during their stay. Similarly, the electrical energy they use corresponds to renewable sources, which has allowed them to save considerable sums of energy since they adopted this mission that is now again recognized by the World Travel Awards.

 Even inside their bar they have implemented actions, such as the elimination of the use of straw, to continue with their mission.

The ecological approach that they maintain and improve, in addition to their amenities, have been the reasons to be imposed once again as the greenest in Europe in the category that grouped hotels in countries such as Italy, Portugal, Austria and Turkey, among others.

Dublin, the capital of the island was never as ecological as before, highlighting the creation of lodgings committed to the search for a better environment.

 For the second year this property of Dublin has taken the recognition.



Glamping on an island, the fashionable lodging in New York


New York, one of the most cosmopolitan metropolis in the world, surrounded by the modernity of its skyscrapers, as well as luxury and fashion complexes, lots of fashion, offers its visitors a new proposal that you might not think was available: glamping on an island.




If as a child you loved camping and having close contact with nature, now you can have a similar experience but New York, in the middle of an island without having to deprive yourself of the comforts and luxury that allow you to spend a comfortable night.


Collective Retreats is the company that makes it possible. A few weeks ago they inaugurated their glamping - term proposal that refers to the experience of camping with luxury - in the Gobernador Island, an extension of land of 70 hectares where this experience is accessed for the most adventurous.


The camping type cottages have everything you need for the demanding tourist who does not want to miss the opportunity to enjoy without complications of the experience. Inside, each and every one of them retains a modern style conditioned with the best amenities.


The glamping complex adds to the options of accommodation in New York to enjoy in summer, where the pleasant temperatures will make the stay more pleasant, in addition to the guest will be able to admire from the island the great skyscrapers, the Statue of Liberty and appreciate the sunsets, in addition to enjoying other recreational options offered by the island, such as cycling.

Collective Governors Island is one of the points where this group has settled in the United States, and the only one that, to reach it, you have to take a ferry and follow an easy and uncomplicated path.



The first luxury space hotel will open in 2022


The company Orion Span, based in Houston (USA) hopes to launch the "first luxury hotel in space", baptized as 'Aurora Station' in 2021 and have its first guests already in 2022.

The first luxury space hotel will measure about 13 meters long X 4 meters wide and the wealthiest tourists will have a new orbital destination within a few years if the plans of this startup go as they wish.

"We will launch the first affordable luxury space hotel," said Orion Span founder and CEO Frank Bunger, who presented the Aurora Station idea at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California.

Of course, 'affordable' is a relative term. A 12-day stay aboard the Aurora Station could cost from 9.5 million dollars. However, it is true that it is far less than what orbital tourists have paid in the past.



From 2001 to 2009, seven citizens made a total of 8 trips to the International Space Station (ISS), paying an estimated price of between 20-40 million dollars each time. Not suitable for any pocket.

"There has been innovation around architecture to make it more modular and simpler to use and have more automation, so it is not necessary to have EVA [extravehicular activities] or spacewalks," Bunger said of the luxury space hotel .


Some of the leading engineering experts involved in the construction of the Aurora Station space hotel have helped in the past to design the International Space Station; They are manufacturing the hotel in Houston and developing the necessary software to operate it in the Bay Area.

Aurora Station will be about the size of a large private jet cabin. Measures 13.3x 4.3 meters) and presents a pressurized volume of 160 cubic meters. For comparison, the ISS measures 109 meters long and has a pressurized internal volume of 916 cubic meters.

The private outpost will orbit at an altitude of 320 kilometers, a little lower than the ISS, which is about 400 km above the Earth on average.

Aurora Station will have capacity for four guests and two crew members; In all probability, the expert staff will be made up of former astronauts, according to the company. Most of the guests will be private space tourists, at least initially, but Orion Span will be available to a variety of clients, including government space agencies.

The space hotel hopes to grow with time, if everything goes according to plan. As the demand grows, Orion Span will launch additional modules to link up with the original outpost.

"Our long-term vision is to sell real space in these new modules, which is what we call a spatial condominium, so whether it's for living or subletting, that's the vision of the future: creating a long-term sustainable human habitation in the orbit. goes down from Earth, "says Bunger.



More competition


Orion Span is not the only company to follow this path. Other companies, such as Axiom Space and Bigelow Aerospace, also aim to launch commercial space stations in low Earth orbit in the coming years to meet the anticipated demand of space tourists, national governments, researchers and private industry. Other private players, such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, will start commercial operations soon.

People wishing to become space tenants will undergo a three-month training program, which will culminate on board the space hotel.

This is how the tourist 3.0 travels


The democratization of technology has radically modified many aspects of our daily life, including the way we travel.

What until many years ago seemed impossible, today is within our reach without much effort. One of the sectors that has evolved, due to the almost unlimited possibilities offered by new technologies, is tourism.



Our way of traveling has changed markedly. When we proposed a trip a few years ago, the planning was much more expensive. Currently we have at our disposal countless specialized travel blogs that clarify even the slightest doubt that arises, and that are replacing the well-known guides on paper. That anxiety before the unknown dissipates before an almost complete knowledge of the place to which we decided to move.

Travel agencies have been relegated almost to the background due to the rise of online agencies, in which the consumer can organize the trip to suit you, choosing the options that best suit your situation and all this sitting, without need to move from the armchair of his house.


Buying a plane ticket is no longer an odyssey, there are many search engines that offer price comparisons, and to acquire one simply follow a few simple steps. Therefore, currently eight out of ten flights are purchased through the Internet. Depending on the characteristics of our flight, there is no longer a need to go to the airline's counter, but we can check in from the company's website and download the boarding cards directly to our mobile phone in the form of a QR code. This supposes a considerable saving of time. In addition, with the proliferation in recent years of low cost companies, the cost of tickets is available to many more people.



We can say then, that we are before a tourist 3.0, who does not have the need to buy several guides before embarking on his trip, but has an infinite number of possibilities offered by travel apps available for all types of Smartphones. Simply with being accompanied by our phone or smart watch we have at our disposal everything that is essential to move around the world:



- The heavy cameras of photos are replaced by the objectives of our mobiles of last generation, or by sport cameras with objectives of 360º to not miss any detail.

- The old maps on paper, so complex to understand sometimes, are replaced by the simple GPS applications on our smartphone, which give us clear instructions.

- Simultaneous translators convert past paper language dictionaries into preterit.

We speak of a fully informed traveler who reads a huge amount of opinions. Nothing remains in the hands of chance but the choice of a destination, accommodation, restaurant or visit is based on the valuation that other travelers have previously left. Undoubtedly, today, the avatars of the charismatic character of Jules Verne, Phileas Fogg, in Around the World in Eighty Days, would be much easier to cope with a Smartphone or a smart watch. Of course, letting go of the adventure continues to have its charm.

The blue bridge


Through the blue bridge I will pass to the other side of the world,
and I will listen to the voices that come from far away.
The wishes are crossed on the blue bridge,
looking in the eyes for the southern star.
The words fell like raindrops on the ground.

The thought went through the blue bridge to the clouds,
It was then the land that came back.
The wishes are crossed on the blue bridge,
looking in the eyes for the southern star.
The words fell like raindrops on the ground.

By the blue bridge some day you and I will see each other,
by the same path that goes from white to black.
The wishes are crossed on the blue bridge,
looking in the eyes for the southern star.
The words fell like raindrops on the ground.

On the blue bridge.

The wishes are crossed on the blue bridge,
looking in the eyes for the southern star.
The words fell like raindrops on the ground.


The new trend of ecological and sustainable hotels


While a few years ago, the quantity of quality of tourist accommodation prevailed (there is no more to see the large cities built from nothing on the Mediterranean coast), it seems that in recent years this trend has been reversed. Now both hoteliers and clients seek and offer special, different accommodations, as is the case of ecological and sustainable hotels.

The increase in concern for the environment and its conservation has led the hospitality industry to offer innovative places to spend their vacations. From rural houses in the middle of natural places of high biological interest, to hotels that feed the heating burning the bones of the olives. Everything is valid if the ultimate goal is the environment.

In many cases the rural factor is combined with the interior design, architecture and respect for the environment, are known as ecological and sustainable hotels. This type of accommodation has two clear objectives: on the one hand to collaborate with the environment maintaining and promoting the biodiversity of the area where they are located and on the other that the guests feel comfortable.

The new forms of tourism have also generated that the search engines and Internet companies have been adapted. This is the case of Expedia, which has decided to join this ecological trend by incorporating a new advanced search filter to facilitate the choice of this type of accommodation on its website.

Responsable tourism

As the director of online marketing of the travel agency, Llibert Argerich, explains, "responsible tourism is a new form of tourist behavior", which has made the agency has improved the resources available to "provide ecological awareness to our users "points.

When choosing the accommodation, the agency itself recommends taking into account several aspects of ecological accommodation, which in the end differentiate one from the other. Among these differences is harmony with the environment, renewable energy, food, distance to large urban centers and leisure opportunities.