Category Archives: Sustainable Tourism

How to Improve your Hotel or Tourism Business’ Sustainability Performance

Tailored Training Options for hotels, lodgings, resorts,  tour operators, MICE venues and companies – tourism and hospitality brands

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Divine and Right. Banyan Tree Mayakoba.

Based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council -GSTC Industry Criteria and guided by practical insights from leading sustainable tourism experts, the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) offers tailored curriculum based on your company’s specific needs and goals, and help improve your company’s sustainability practices through tangible actions that fulfill the globally recognized standard of sustainability best practices.

GSTC Industry Criteria (GSTC-Industry)

 

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Paradisus Riviera Maya – La Perla and La Esmeralda: a model of eco efficiency and sustainability.

The GSTC Industry Criteria (GSTC-Industry) have been initially created for the accommodation and tour operation sectors, developed through analyses of 4,500 criteria and 60 certifications systems, and with the input of over 2,000 stakeholders. The latest edition of the GSTC-Industry (updated in 2016) includes separate indicators for hotels and for tour operators, and other sub-sectors can be created (e.g. cruise, MICE, aviation, etc.), enhancing the applicability of the standard to the entire tourism industry.

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Architect Arturo Amaya showing the architecture, nature and design, highlighting environmental conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico. 

The GSTC-Industry is a globally recognized set of sustainable tourism principles and performance indicators that can be used by tourism businesses to:

· Guide various sustainable business practices, from product development to supply chain management.

· Assist sustainability training and skills development efforts, helping improve employee sustainability performance.

· Communicate to customers and to the media about sustainable business practices more effectively.

GLOBAL AUTHORITY ON SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

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GSTC CEO, General Manager, Chairman and Trainers from the Philippines and South Korea.

The GSTC is a UN-endorsed independent organization recognized for our critical role as the global leader in providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability in tourism. Based on our extensive knowledge base, the GSTC STTP offers both global and regional perspectives to help your business achieve your sustainability action goals.

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At Rio Secreto, Riviera Maya multi-awarded natural reserve and ecotourism company. From left: #SustainableRivieraMaya CEO Ms. Beatriz Barreal, Society for Sustainable Tourism President & CEO Ms. Susan Santos de Cardenas and Ms. Kristel Arce, PR Manager of Rio Secreto.

FROM WORDS TO ACTIONS, TO LONG-TERM IMPACTS

The objective of the GSTC STTP is not to offer a one-time exercise of reviewing what should be done; rather, we will work with you towards tangible and meaningful goals, focusing on the long-term benefits of sustainable tourism policies and practices and assisting your business to successfully achieve sustainability performance goals over time.

OVERVIEW: TRAINING AND CERTIFICATES

The GSTC offers tailored training options to meet your organization’s specific needs and to accommodate various learning and capacity building requirements based on the desired training outcomes.

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 ONE OR HALF-DAY SEMINAR

A short small-group session focused on select best practice cases and key sustainable tourism approaches. 

Our half-day seminar is ideal for travel and tourism businesses seeking to better understand what it means to become a sustainable tourism destination. Recommended for managers and team leaders, the seminar covers:

  • Sustainable tourism practices for the sound business growth and development;
  • GSTC Industry Criteria as a framework for your company’s sustainability action plan;
  • Benefits of your sustainability actions – for your staff, stakeholders, and customers; and
  • Practical insights into sustainable tourism business best practices based on real-life examples and lessons.
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Grand Palladium Riviera Maya Hotels – award winning Earth Check certified and GSTC Sustainable Hotel Ambassador

3-DAY INTENSIVE CLASSROOM TRAINING

In-depth training on sustainable tourism standards and best practices, supporting your company’s sustainability strategy and action plan.

 Offered as a 3-day-long intensive and interactive training class, our onsite training sessions offer a unique opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the GSTC Industry Criteria and performance indicators. Incorporating case studies and best practice examples relevant to tourism businesses, the training class provides practical insights that will help you make informed decisions on how to implement sustainability actions, and establish viable plans and strategies for your company.

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Paradisus Riviera Maya – GSTC Sustainable Hotel member, Trip Advisor’s Eco Leader,  Earth Check Certified.

GSTC Expert Trainer 

SUSAN SANTOS DE CÁRDENAS – GSTC Country Representative, The Philippines / GSTC Trainer CEO and President, Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development- SSTDI

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Saying “hola” to the iguana, at the Grand Palladium Riviera Maya,  Sustainable Hotel Ambassador of Sustainable Riviera Maya.

See her bio in our Society Stewards Page.

Learn more about the STTP-Industry and our programs or how we can help your hotel/resort/lodging/tourism business implement sustainability best practices.

UNWTO has made it clear that with the predicted growth of tourism (1.8 billion international tourists in 2030), embracing sustainability is not an option, but a necessity. – Luigi Cabrini, Chair, GSTC

 

What does it take to become a sustainable tourism destination?

GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program for Destinations – your journey towards sustainability

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The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) offers customized solutions to your destination’s sustainable tourism development and management needs. Whether you’re working to build a foundation or seeking to take your sustainability impact to the next level, our team of international experts will provide the guidance, support and resources needed to achieve your destination’s training and capacity building goals.

About GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is the global expert in standards for sustainable tourism. Founded in 2008 through collaborative efforts by sustainability leaders from UNEP, UNWTO, the UN Foundation and the Rainforest Alliance, the GSTC is an independent not-for-profit organization (registered in the USA as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) pursuing the goals of:

· Promoting sustainable tourism knowledge and practices;

· Facilitating the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles; and

· Building demand for sustainable travel

At the core of this work is the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, a framework to ensure the sustainability of tourism businesses and destinations across the globe.

GSTC Criteria for Destinations 

Danjugan Island

Danjugan Island

To effectively implement sustainable destination practices and to guarantee long-term sustainability, a suitable balance must be established between the four pillars of sustainable tourism: Sustainable Management, Economic Benefits, Community Benefits and Environmental Benefits.

The GSTC Criteria for Destinations (GSTC-D) outline interdisciplinary, holistic and integrative approaches to these four key areas of sustainability objectives, and serve as a common language to promote sustainable tourism at the destination level. Designed as the global baseline standard for destinations, GSTC-D has been vetted and adopted by a number of destinations around the world.

Global Authority on Sustainable Tourism

The GSTC is a UN-endorsed independent organization playing a critical role as the global eader in providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability in tourism. Based on our extensive knowledge base, the GSTC STTP offers both global and regional perspectives relevant to the specific context of your destination’s sustainable tourism journey.

From Words to Actions, to Long-term Impacts 

TCI CB Series II- Green Leaders Forum, July 2013

The Coron Initiative – GSTC Standards Training for Destinations, soon in Coron!

The objective of the GSTC STTP is not to offer a one-time exercise of reviewing what should be done; rather, we will work with you towards tangible and meaningful goals, focusing on the long-term success of your destination’s sustainable tourism development and on-going management practices.

GSTC Expert Trainer 

Susan Santos de Cárdenas, Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific

Susan Santos de Cárdenas, President and CEO, Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. – SSTDI, GSTC Country Representative

Susan Santos Cárdenas specializes on sustainable tourism development and stewardship initiatives with Community Social Responsibility (CSR) at grassroots application. A savvy tourism professional and hotelier with more than 20 years’ experience managing sales, marketing, operations, events – M.I.C.E. and human resources development for start-ups and luxury hotel resorts, tour operators, travel agencies, lifestyle events and publications, in the Philippines, Singapore, Peru and Japan.

She had been a keynote speaker & resource person in capacity building and training workshops for sustainable tourism development to include Ecotourism, Community-based and Agri-tourism promotion. She was a consultant and adviser for Local Government Units (LGUs) in the Philippines. She is a founding board member of the Asian Ecotourism Network, Country Representative & Trainer of Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Learn more about the STTP on how we can help your destination or contact us for more details.

How Tour Operators Can Take Responsibility

As a link between tourists and service providers, tour operators and activity providers play a significant role in implementing sustainable practices.

Sustainable tourism is looking out for the economic, social and environmental influences – including the visitors, the economic sectors linked to the tourism industry and the host communities.

The question is Whose Responsibility Is It to Educate Travelers?

Tour operators and activity providers can influence their consumers, suppliers and the routes chosen (Tour Operators’ Initiative, 2003)in order to increase the awareness of the responsibilities each party involved should take on to achieve more sustainability in tourism.

When contributing to sustainable tourism, tour operators and activity providers should work to:

  • Make sure that the local community receives full benefits
  • Minimise the negative impacts on the environment
  • Educate tourists about their responsibility

Source: How Tour Operators Can Take Responsibility

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotels, destinations – LGUs, host communities,  private stakeholders and the grassroots and tour operators with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs for Destinations, Hotels, Tour Operators and Industry in general include Environmental ConservationGood Governance, Climate Resilience. The objective is to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change. WASTE TO ENERGY solutions are now offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.

101 Reasons to visit Lima!

On a global scale, Lima, Peru moves up in rankings for international events, which started with hosting the World Travel & Tourism Americas Summit and the COP 20 (UN Climate Change) last 2014, the World Bank-IMF Summit in 2015, APEC Peru 2016, EITI 2016 & the UNESCO World Congress for Biosphere Reserves, among the varied world summits.

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Caballo de Paso – dancing the “Marinera,” Peru’s National Dance. Photo via Hacienda Los Ficus

 

Called Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings) by the Spanish conquerors, the capital city is much more than the gateway to Peru. With the country’s best museums – more than 20 of them, plus striking baroque and renaissance churches, colonial mansions and houses (casonas), world-class restaurants, and outstanding night life, Lima deserves more than a quick stopover. The old colonial center, now identified as a World Heritage site, was the crown jewel of Spain’s South American empire. 

A mix of colonial heritage and Latin passion, grime and glamour — Lima is a tantalizing appetizer of what Peru has to offer. – Frommer’s

Modern Lima is an enigmatic, energetic city of contrasts, dotted with pre-historic sites and archeological ruins, and comprised of distinctive districts and neighborhoods. Sophisticated San Isidro, with elegant old homes and the lovely Olive Grove; as well as the galleries and bistros of artistic Barranco, and the charming flower filled parks and artisan shops of Miraflores, offer intriguing, uniquely Peruvian, urban attractions.

With Peruvian cuisine having captured the fancy of international epicures, Lima has become Latin America’s gastronomical capital, so let’s begin our breakdown of  101 reasons to visit Lima!

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Huaca Huallamarca, against backrop of high rise apartments.

12 Huacas (Ancient Adobe Pyramids): Pachacamac, Pucllana, Huallamarca, Maranga Complex (8 pyramids), and a little further up north, Caral;

Lima Art Museum

Museo de Arte de Lima – “MALI”

 9 Museums: Larco, Museo de Oro, Amano, Arte Lima, Arte Italiano, National Archaeological, Anthropology and History, Pedro Osma;

 9 Theaters: Gran Teatro Nacional (Grand National Theater), Municipal Teatro de Lima, Plaza Isil, Teatro Peruano Japones, Segura, PUCP Cultural Center, La Tarumba, Teatro Canout, Marsano;

 12 Historical Buildings: Casa Aliaga, Palacio Torre Tagle,  Archbishop Palace, Presidential Palace, House of Congress, Lima Municipal Palace, Casa de Riva Agüero, Casa Larriva, Casa de Osambelo/Casa Oquendo, Casa de la Moneda, Casa Miguel Grau, Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes;

9 Churches: Lima Cathedral, San Franciso, Santa Rosa, Nazarenes, San Pedro, La Merced, San Sebastián, San Agustin, Convento de los Descalzos;

Lima is also a mecca for handicrafts and arts enthusiasts, and a top shopping destination where hundreds of stores offer outstanding traditional crafts of the highest quality, as well as remarkable silver and gold jewelry, antiques, objets d´ art, tapestries, exquisite wood carvings, paintings and pottery. Colorful outdoor markets are popular, filled with dazzling traditional Peruvian items not to found in shopping malls.

Artesanias Markets/Shops (Handicrafts) Market & Specialty Shops: Mercado Central Lima, La Paz silver crafts Street, Miraflores antique shops, Mercado Indio, Barranco, Dedalo, Alpaca Shops in Larcomar.

43 Cuisine Specialties. Comida Criolla(Peruvian/creole): Jose Antonio, El Senorio de Sulco, Huaca Pucllana, Brujas de Cachiche,  Panchita, El Rocoto, La Rosa Nautica Fiesta, Malabar, Central, Astrid & Gaston; Cafés: La Tiendecita Blanca, Café café, Mangos, San Antonio, Café del Museo, Manolo; Cevicherias(seafood): Punta Arenas, La Rana Verde, La Red, La Mar, Pescados Capitales, Segundo Muelle, Punta Sal, Big Ben; Chifas (Peruvian Chinese): O Mei, Lung Fung, Wa Lok, Royal, Salon Capon, El Jade; Fusion/Japanese: Costanera 700, Cala, Hanzo, Kintaro, La Miga, Matsuei, Rafael, La 73, Osaka,  Amor Amar, Toshiro, Edo.

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Blessed with a mind-blowingly fertile ecosystem—3,000 varieties of potatoes is just the half of it—Lima is emerging as a new global culinary epicenter. – Conde Nast Traveler Magazine

43 restaurants, are just a tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  Hundreds more, old and new, big or small, are yet to be explored and savored!

For more information on Lima &  Peru, check out our blogs on Peru. Take a PERU DREAM TRIP by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay – any day departure. For travel assistance and bookings, check our Green Travel Exchange or contact us.

Photo Credits: Visit Peru, Gran Teatro Nacional

 

Peruphernalia- travel essentials to Peru

Peru is host to APEC 2016 and other key international events that started with EITI 2016, the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, among others. In order to make the most of your visit to this empire of hidden treasure and to prepare for probably the most incredible trip of a lifetime, here’s a compilation of useful guide and insider’s tips for you! Know and share.

Watch Peru, Empire of Hidden Treasures. Don’t just watch the movie, live it for real! “Enjoy the highest level of comfort, the most exquisite cuisine, breathtaking landscape filled with magic and fantasy and the entertainment you can only find here. Only in Peru. Empire of the hidden treasures.”

If Peru didn’t exist, travel guide books would have to invent it. It’s a land of lost cities and ancient ruins, brooding Andean peaks, dense jungles, quaint cities, festivals con-celebrating Roman Catholic masses with mysterious Incan rites. It’s like a whole world in a snow dome.- from the Travel Book.

Rich with majestic natural beauty, gracious people, and the legacy of  great ancient civilizations, Peru is a country that touches the soul.

The multifarious faces of Peru, one of the  friendliest people on earth.

The multifarious faces of Peru, from its three major geographical zones- Pacific Coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazon Rainforest – are some of the friendliest people on earth.

When planning to travel to Peru, in order to fully capture its magic and mystique, you need to understand what to expect. Prepare wisely with these important information for what will be one of the most amazing trips of your life.

Scenes from Lake Titicaca, seat of at least thre Peruvian cultures/civilizations.

Amazon River, one of the World’s New Seven Wonders of Nature.

 PERU FAST FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

 Acclimatization

Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the decreased oxygen at high altitudes. Considering varying altitudes of the Andean mountain region destinations (Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca), try to go first to the lower ones before ascending to higher altitude cities. It is a slow process that could take place over a couple of days. Given enough time, your body will adapt to the decrease in oxygen at a specific altitude.

Multi-civilizations - conserved cultural scenes from Lake Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake at 3,800 meters (17,000 feet) above sea level.

Multi-civilizations, scenes from Lake Titicaca, world’s highest navigable lake at 3,800 meters (17,000 feet) above sea level.

Altitude Sickness Prevention

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS) or soroche is a pathological condition that is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure usually above 2,400 meters (approximately 8,000 feet). The main cause of altitude sickness is going too high too quickly. When you travel to a high altitude destination, do these to avoid altitude sickness: rest upon arrival, limit any walking or touring activity on your first day, drink plenty of water (or tea – they usually serve mate de coca – coca tea, for soroche), avoid taking alcoholic beverages and only eat light soup for your meal.

Connectivity / Communication

Peru is well connected with telephone landlines and mobile phones, as well as internet/ WiFi connections in most hotels and internet shops (cabinas de internet) in smaller cities and towns.

Seven Wonders: Peru has an archealogical motley of at least seven civilizations before the Incas.

Seven Wonders: Peru has an archealogical motley of at least seven civilizations before the Incas.

Currency/Credit Cards/ Foreign Exchange

Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.) or Soles (plural). Peru is typical of many South American countries that operates a dual currency system; US$ American Dollar and the local Sol. In the provinces, credit card facilities may be limited only to major establishments. Travelers’ cheques are not common, so have cash  preferably in Soles on hand as foreign currency exchange is limited. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are mostly available only in the main cities.

As varied as the multi-cultures, wide array of exquisite cuisines awaits you at the Gastronomy capital of Latin America!

As varied as the multi-cultures, wide array of exquisite cuisines awaits you at the Gastronomy capital of Latin America!

Health/ Medical/Travelers Common Illness

To avoid any illnesses or travelers’ diarrhea, take care when eating raw or exotic foods. Drink bottled or boiled water and take precautions when buying/eating  street food/beverages. Hospitals and clinics provide adequate services, especially in Lima and the other main cities and can contact health care insurance directly.

Language

The official languages are Spanish (80% of the population), Quechua(Andean and highland regions), and Aymara (in the region of Puno high plateaus). It is generally easy to communicate in English with tourist service workers such as tour guides, travel agency employees and hotel staff in general, however it is very handy to know and practice a few basic phrases in Spanish. Besides, it also projects you as a savvy traveler, not to mention an educated one!

Luggage/Baggage Limit

Please know the baggage limit, number of pieces and weight allowed by domestic airline to your destination. Most domestic airlines have lesser baggage allowance (usually max. 10 kilos) than the international airlines (usually max. 23 kilos). In case of multiple destinations, it is advisable to travel light and bring only the essentials.

From the Amazon to the Andes and many cities in between there's an outdoor thrill for everyone.

From the Amazon to the Andes and many cities in between there’s an outdoor thrill for everyone.

If you are going to Machu Picchu, please take note that Peru Rail has imposed luggage limitation on the train to Aguas Calientes. Peru Rail Luggage Transport is a maximum hand-carried allowance of only 5 kilos/11 lbs. and measuring not more than 62 inches/157 cm (height, length & width) per passenger. Your heavier and bigger baggage may be transported in another train at an extra cost (US$1.80/kilo, one way, maximum 10 kilos) or may be left for storage at Peru Rail’s Luggage Storage only in Ollantaytambo Train Station at US$5.00/day.

Security  

It is important that you take common sense precautions when visiting Peru, just like in any major destination in the world, such as taking extra care of your belongings in public places or avoiding deserted places at night. The following are recommended as precautionary measures:

  • Secure electronic copies of your passport, airplane tickets and credit cards. Leave all your travel documents (passport, tickets, hotel vouchers etc) in the hotel safety deposit box and take only electronic copies with you.
  • Know the unsafe areas of the city/destination and avoid visiting them, especially at night. If you must exchange money, do so authorized money changers and exchange bureaus, or in banks. Avoid doing this in plain sight.It may not necessarily an immediate threat to you, but you should always be extra careful in crowded places such as busy avenues, airports, markets and tourist sites.
  • Try to learn a few key phrases in Spanish before you go, if not to help yourself get by, then at least to make the locals think you can speak the language and thus make you a more conscientious traveler who is careful and prepared.

    With over 3,000 festivals, how many native dances shall there be?

    With over 3,000 festivals, how many native dances shall there be?

Travel Insurance

It is recommended to buy a travel insurance to provide you general coverage in case of emergency or medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption, lost tickets, baggage or damage, etc. This way, for any unforeseen event or circumstances, you have an insurance to fall back on.

Vaccinations and/or Medications  

It is recommended that you take the proper measures to protect yourself, specially from mosquito bites, in order to prevent infection from, among other diseases, yellow fever (vaccination) and malaria (repellant and medication). Consult your doctor before traveling.

Water

Potable water is limited in some areas. It is recommended to drink bottled water only and do not buy from street vendors or hawkers.

Conserved handicrafts, a living and thriving culture through centuries.

Weather/What to Wear

The Peruvian Coast is hot and sunny (northern area) or very humid (raw or damp, in Lima). Generally light comfortable clothing and footwear during the day and a light jacket for cooler nights.

At the Peruvian Andes, rainy season is between November and March, so best to bring water proof windbreaker or parkas. Temperatures drop dramatically at night, thus one should always prepare warmer clothes to layer. The Peruvian Jungle is hot, with a tropical climate, so we suggest light, (neutral-colored, khakis or forest green) cotton to wear; however certain times of the year, the jungle experiences “friaje” or cold front. It has daily temperatures averaging the 30°C and night temperatures could drop to cold 15°C so bring warmer clothes to layer. For more accurate information, please check your favorite destination weather website for forecast prior to travel.

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, or contact SSTDI.

Photo credits: all photos via Visit Peru

Eco-Friendly Lodging: Green Tips for Hotels

Guest post by Bryn Huntpalmer of Modernize

From filling out paperwork to selecting vendors and managing staff, if you own a hotel, you are certainly busy. With so many elements to juggle, environmental friendliness can slip down the ladder of importance. It may seem daunting to address the term “eco-friendly” when it involves company-wide changes, so we at Modernize have a few tricks to maintain a greener environment without sacrificing your guests’ comfort and satisfaction.

Boost Your Energy Efficiency

Let’s face it; hotels require significant energy levels to function, from heating and cooling to laundering and powering electronics. Monitoring utility bills is the first step in making a change. Set a goal to reduce energy consumption and design an action plan.

One of the biggest users of energy is a hotel’s HVAC system. Go eco-friendly by upgrading to an adjustable, green system that will keep both you and your guests comfortable. Innovative HVAC systems are equipped with digital thermostats that guests can set, just like they would at home. The revolutionary “unoccupied” setting is the key to conserving energy. Smart systems can sense when a guest leaves the room, reset to a standard temperature, and then sense when the guest returns and readjust accordingly. This eliminates wasted energy when no one is even in the room to enjoy that cool blast or cozy heat.

You’ll love the lower utility bills, the raving reviews from guests and the clear consciousness of doing your part to protect the world we love.

 

Stock Your Kitchens with Organic Food

Food can be a decadent part of the hospitality industry, from buffets to room service, breakfast bars and restaurants. Improve the taste and quality of your cuisine by shopping for organic ingredients. Guests will appreciate how much you care and enjoy the deliciousness of your meals. It may seem like a small change, but supplying your business with organic food is actually better for the environment, too.

Organic gardens are more sustainable over time, and farmers don’t use harmful chemicals and nonrenewable energy sources to grow their crops. Agrochemicals, which are often used for non-organic produce, contribute to global warming and water contamination. Supporting organic farmers and local vendors will reduce these harmful effects.

If you are ready to make a huge change, you can even grow your own garden and pull herbs, produce and legumes right from your own backyard!

3Rs

Recycle and Reuse

Switch to green paper products crafted from recycled material to eliminate paper waste. Unbleached and recycled paper towels, coffee cups, plates and straws are a few of our favorite eco-friendly hospitality products.

Promote recycling in your hotel by training staff and setting up recycling bins in each guest room. Don’t forget to encourage eco-friendly practices by placing recycling bins in the lobby, gym, pool room and other common areas. Order supplies in bulk to cut down on the amount of packaging waste.

Reduce waste by reusing items and donating to the local community. When it’s time to update your hotel’s decor, donate unwanted furniture and linens instead of tossing them out. You can also donate wrapped, unopened groceries to local food banks, benefitting both the planet and your neighbors!

 

Best Practices for Eco-Friendly Hotels

Establishing green practices is a team effort, so train your staff to be on team Earth. Establish rules for turning lights off when exiting a room, unplugging unused electronics and reducing personal waste levels. Offer incentives for staff who are dedicated to eco-friendly practices, and applaud their efforts regularly.

When choosing vendors for supplies like toiletries, coffee and tea, support local, fair-trade businesses. Keep everything bright and shiny by switching to non-toxic cleaners to improve indoor and outdoor air quality, so that you and your guests can literally breathe easier.

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Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotels with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs include Environmental ConservationGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change.  For Training information and assistance, contact us.

Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

Sustainability meets splendor at the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Living culture at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
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High in the Peruvian Andes, a verdant valley cuts a pathway between the imperial Inca city of Cusco and the dramatic peaks that protect the citadel of Machu Picchu. This is the Sacred Valley of the Inca, once the heartland of the Inca Empire and still shrouded in the mysteries of their great civilization. Perched on a slope overlooking the valley floor, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba reflects the region’s Andean and Spanish-colonial influences, capturing the essence of a destination with many cultural layers.

Upon arrival at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, you might first be struck by the spectacular vistas—in a lodge where nearly every window shows a panoramic view of the Andes, it can be difficult to look away.  Each excursion provides cultural insights into the storied Sacred Valley—opportunities to uncover the secrets of the Inca and the vibrant traditions of their descendants. ~ National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

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Bespoke Design, Owner’s Suite.Stay in a stunning countryside spanning 10 acres (4.05 has) at the property with 12 rooms including a three-room ‘Owners Suite’. Enjoy the panoramic views of the valley as well as the astounding Andes around you and be completely immersed in the overwhelming scenery. An additional 24 casitas will be opening the summer of 2015, offering a private and bespoke accommodation choice.

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For your comfort, relax at  exclusively designed custom made interiors and framed pre-Columbian textiles that accent the walls carefully picked by Denise Guislain-Koechlin, with help from her husband, Inkaterra’s founder and CEO Jose Koechlin.

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Earth to Plate Experience. With the Inca history being so deeply engrained in the local region, it is no surprise that the new Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes inspiration from this ancient civilisation with 10 acres of farmland, the new hacienda uses some of the same methods that the Incas used centuries ago. The property is surrounded by an organic plantation, where you can pick your own produce from quinoa and artichokes to Urubamba giant corn.  Guests are encouraged to get involved in the natural farming methods used to maintain the land, including ”tacllas” – a hand plough, pulled by an oxen.

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Crops such as Quinoa, Potato and Corn are resilient, ideal for the Peruvian climates thanks to how the Incas farmed them all those years ago.  At Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, they have recreated and solely use the traditional methods of the Incas to grow these crops.

Quinoa Flickr image courtesy of net_efekt http://bit.ly/1Jq0WVn

 They use tacllas, a foot plough, developed by traditional farmers to prepare the soil for planting by using human weight to turn up the ground.

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Oxen and llamas are also used on the farm and they also only use traditional oxen carts, instead of modern farming such as machinery and tractors to transport crops, thus it’s low impact and zero carbon emision.

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These farming methods have helped the lodge develop its exclusive ‘Earth to Plate’ concept, giving guests a completely unique taste and food experience.

Spotlight on Sustainability

The lodge works closely with the National Geographic-sponsored Inkaterra Asociación, a nonprofit organization that develops scientific, technological, and cultural research projects geared at managing and protecting the biodiversity and local communities of the Peruvian Andes. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba purchases produce from the association’s Andean Farm Project, which has gardens in the nearby town of Huayoccari. Here, cutting-edge agro-ecological techniques are applied to the growth of organic produce and medicinal plants. The cultivation techniques were carefully selected for their ease of replication, with the initiative’s long-term objective being to establish an agricultural training center for local farming communities. – National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

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See this traditional farming at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba as part of your Inkaterra Experiences. Enjoy a range of in-house activities such as bird watching (over 30 species of birds on the grounds) and horseback riding. Excursions can also be taken to the surrounding areas to ensure you have a truly authentic Inkaterra holiday.

Why We Love This Lodge

Many visitors to Peru’s southern highlands treat the Sacred Valley as the road to Machu Picchu, and some bypass it altogether by boarding a train in Cusco bound for the legendary Inca citadel. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba invites guests to stay awhile and soak up the spirit of the valley—an enigmatic place where ancient fortresses mark Inca-Spanish battlegrounds, traditional weaving still lives on in hillside hamlets, and the majesty of the surrounding mountains inspires awe in onlookers.

The lodge helps tell a different part of the Inca story: one of life in the empire’s heartland. Guests can spend time in local farming communities and attend spiritual services to hear Quechua, the language of the Inca; walk through the surrounding hills to see evidence of Inca agriculture and architecture; and sit on the lodge terrace to gaze at the same celestial bodies that inspired the building of Inca temples. Here, traces of the empire are everywhere, and Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba strives to help guests discover them. ~ National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

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Learn more about Peru by checking our blog posts Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975 with 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay – any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.

The Inkaterra Hacienda Urubama experience:

Sources: Inkaterra and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Photo credits: Inkaterra blog.

Peru: come, live the legend!

Watch “Peru, Live the Legend” video:

“Peru is often called the quintessential South American destination evoking images of Andean mountains, fabled lost cities, panpipe players, llamas and, of course, the ever-fashionable and functional poncho.” – Blue List, Lonely Planet.

High fashion inspired by Cusco. Photo via Visit Peru.

High fashion inspired by Cusco. Photo via Visit Peru.

Peru is everything unexpected: from its vast sandy dunes and deserts all throughout its coasts, stunning uplands in the Andes home to the country’s greatest attraction: the Inca city of Machu Picchu and beyond the intimidating heights, the astounding lush jungles with meandering rivers and vast waterways, one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the Amazon River and Basin.

Viewing Nazca Lines - "Candelabro" on the desert. Photo via Visit Peru.

Viewing Nazca Lines – “Candelabro” on the desert.

However, there’s more to Peru than Machu Picchu: this immense wealth of sights and experiences has its roots in one of the world’s richest heritages, with its fabulous archeological gems of six Pre-Inca civilizations, the monumental adobe temples and ruins along the desert coast and mysterious Nazca Lines which can only be viewed best from the sky. Enjoy city life in Spanish-influenced cosmopolitan capitals, with their colonial-era mansions, churches, monasteries, and museums.

Cindy Crawford selfie in Machu Picchu, photo via her Instagram.

Cindy Crawford selfie in Machu Picchu, photo via her Instagram.

THE DESTINATIONS

Lima's city center - UNESCO World Heritage Site -highlights include balconies & the Plaza de Armas.

Lima’s city center – UNESCO World Heritage Site -highlights include balconies & the Plaza de Armas.

LIMA – CULTURE, CRAFTS & CULINARY CAPITAL 

Called Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings) by the Spanish conquerors, the capital city of Lima is much more than the gateway to Peru. With the country’s best museums – more than 20 of them, plus striking baroque and renaissance churches, colonial mansions and palaces, world-class restaurants and amazing shopping, Lima deserves more than a quick stopover.

You can also Lima from the sky through paragliding! Photo via Visit Peru.

DID YOU KNOW? You can also see Lima from the sky through paragliding! Photo via Visit Peru.

Experience highlights

  • Visit remarkable cathedrals, cloisters and monasteries, appreciate some of Peru’s best archeological and art museums, and feel a sense of awe in the city’s elegant old colonial center.
  • Savor exquisite Peruvian cuisine in the “Gastronomy Capital of Latin America,” with varied influences from the coast, mountains and the Amazon.
  • Experience Lima’s incredibly varied shopping, from exclusive factory visits, to artisan and antique shops, souvenir and handicraft markets offering an endless selection of handmade alpaca clothes and accessories, silver jewelry and decorative pieces, pottery, colonial religious art and wood carvings.

SACRED VALLEY – VALLE SAGRADO – EXPERIENCE LIVING CULTURE

Sacred Valley of the Incas - Valle Sagrado, Urubamba. Photo via Visit Peryu

Sacred Valley of the Incas – Valle Sagrado, Urubamba.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, home of the finest Inca sites offers a glorious beginning to your Cusco visit. The Valley’s sublime climate, overwhelmingly beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, colorful folk arts and crafts and warm, friendly local people all reflect the Peru that visitors travel thousands of miles to see. The valley is also a haven for eco sports adventure such as trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking and river rafting.

Ancient Incan sites: Maras Salt Mines & Moray Rice Terraces.

Ancient Incan sites: Maras Salt Mines & Moray Rice Terraces.

Experience highlights

  • Start your Cusco discovery to acclimatize in glorious sunny weather, either before or after your Machu Picchu visit.
  • Perfect base to myriad activities in the Valley: visits to Inca ruins and archaeological sites and gourmet picnics.
  • Spectacular location for outdoor adventures such as horseback riding, mountain biking, river rafting or trekking.
  • Interactive and socially responsible excursion in a visit to a workshop or community of weavers, pottery, ceramics, among others.

MACHU PICCHU – THE ROYAL INCA RETREAT

Who wouldn't want to visit Machu Picchu?

Who wouldn’t want to visit Machu Picchu?

“Machu Picchu was… the favored country retreat for the royal family and Inca nobility.” – The New York Times

Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is a magical place that fascinates through its vast archaeological remains, geological formations, unique flora and fauna, and spectacular cloud forest. The most remarkable part of the reserve is the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the world’s New Seven Wonders. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, is considered “the Garden of Eden” by Condé Nast Traveller where you will experience life at an exclusive royal Inca retreat for your stay.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Experience highlights

  • Explore the wonder of Machu Picchu and discover the essence of a Royal Inca retreat.
  • Authentic barefoot luxury in whitewashed casitas and villas in a private 5 hectare Andean Garden of Eden, teeming with orchids and hummingbirds.
  • Visit the ancient Machu Picchu Citadel in company of a certified English-speaking guide, as well as other attractions in the Natural Reserve.
  • At Inkaterra Hotels, included in house excursions such as Bird Watching, Orchid walk, Tea Plantation Visit, Nature Talks, among others, offered on 12-acre grounds.
  • UNU Spa

CUSCO -ENDURING FUSION OF INCA MYSTIQUE AND SPANISH SPLENDOR 

Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan empire (that's South America, folks).

Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan empire (that’s South America, folks).

Vibrant is the word which best describes Cusco, capital of the vast Inca Empire some six hundred years ago, now transformed as themost important colonial center in the Andes, an axis of exploration and favorite destination for today’s international traveler. Inkaterra La Casona Cusco, an exquisite 16th century colonialmansion, is an exquisite and exclusivemanor, carefully restored to retain its historical heritage. It offers guests contemporary luxury without sacrificing authenticity with the privacy and privilege experienced by those who once lived there.

Inti Raymi, Cusco's foremost festival.

Inti Raymi, Cusco’s foremost festival. Photo via Visit Peru.

Experience highlights

  • Discover a four-century fusion of Spanish colonial and Inca culture, both in Cusco and at Inkaterra La Casona, Hot Listed Best New Hotel by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine U.S., U.K. and Travel+Leisure.
  • Enjoy contemporary luxury without sacrificing authenticity, in an exclusive privilege and privacy experienced by those who once lived at the fully restored 16th century manor.
  • Explore from Inkaterra La Casona, a destination as well as a hub from which to begin your discovery of the Andes, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu as well as Lake Titicaca.
  • Visit Cusco’s landmarks, impressive churches, museums, quaint neighborhoods, artisan workshops and other remarkable Incan archaeological sites.
Inkaterra La Casona,  former Incan Royal & Peru's conquerors' residence, now Cusco's foremost luxury boutique hotel.

Inkaterra La Casona, former Incan Royal  residence & Peru’s conquerors’ quarters, now Cusco’s foremost luxury boutique hotel.

Suggested Itinerary in Brief:

Day 1 – Arrival in Lima; Overnight

Day 2 – Full Day  in Lima

Half-Day City Tour – Peruvian Welcome Lunch; Rest of Afternoon Free

Day 3 – Lima – Cusco- Sacred Valley; Check in at hotel & Acclimatize

Day 4 – Full Day in Sacred Valley – Pisac & Ollantaytambo Tour

Day 5- Fully Day 2 Sacred Valley –Chinchero, Maras & Moray

Late afternoon – Train to Machu Picchu Pueblo – overnight;

Day 6- Full day in Machu Picchu; Overnight in Machu Picchu

Day 7 -After lunch, train ride to Cusco; Acclimatize; Overnight

Day 8 – Full Day Tour & Shopping in Cusco

Day 9 – Depart Cusco for Lima; Overnight Lima

Day 10 – Departure from Lima

For more information on Peru, check out our blogs on Peru. Take a PERU DREAM TRIP by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay – any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.

Photo credits: Visit Peru & Inkaterra.

Go on a green beach holiday to Coron!

TCI FB Cover SeriesIIWorld’s Best Island Green Getaway

Go off on a green beach holiday, swim in pristine white beaches and turquoise lagoons surrounded by limestone cliffs, snorkel in cerulean lakes blessed with overwhelming marine biodiversity, go on island hopping excursions on over 60 islets or scuba dive in stunning corals where World War II ship wrecks lie. Travel to a virtually unspoiled countryside, with cows grazing through rolling grasslands and sometimes crossing the road where practically no man-made structures is in sight. Discover the Philippines’“last frontier!”

 Focal Points

Twin Lagoons. Photo by Al Linsangan III.

Twin Lagoons. Photo by Al Linsangan III.

  • Limestone landscapes – the steep and protruding karst cliffs and spires at the Ancestral Domain of the Tagbanua indigenous tribe.
  • Islands and Beaches – pristine, uninhabited white sand beaches and dozens of islands.
  • From reefs to wrecks – Busuanga Island and its bays offer a very peculiar combination of relatively rich coral reefs (notably in Siete Pecados, Bintuan-Sangat, etc) and the famous 12 Japanese World War II shipwrecks.
  • Wildlife sanctuary areas – The Calauit Game Reserve and Wildlife Refuge is a major tourist destination for wildlife interaction, as well as routes and trails along the way.
  • Bird watching trails offers good forest cover, such as the beach forest in Barangay Old Busuanga and the rich mangroves in Bugtong, Sagrada, and Concepcion.

Foremost Jaunts (Full-day excursions):

Iconic Coron excursions.

 Iconic Coron excursions.

Islands Expedition – swim and snorkel at select pristine islands and beaches: Malcapuya, Banana & Bulog Islands.

Wildlife Safari – go on a tropical wildlife adventure : Calauit Wildlife Park, Concepcion Falls & Bintuan Mangrove Walk.

Reefs and Wrecks – set off to a green diving and snorkeling expedition: Lusong Ship wreck, Coral gardens, Calumbuyan Island &  Sangat gunboat.

Nature Park Hiking & Kayaking – all aboard to Kingfisher Park for nature hiking & kayaking: nature trail, picnic lunch by the river and kayaking by the mangroves. Ideal for birdwatchers too!

GET INSPIRED!

Birding Coron2

Coron: A birdwatching paradise! 

Green Honeymoon 

Kayangan Lake Wedding & Coron Honeymoon.

Kayangan Lake Wedding & Coron Honeymoon.

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Eco Friendly Escapade

Isla Bulungan_Al

Nature & Wildlife Photo Expiditions

SUGGESTED ITINERARY

In order to make the most of your visit and trip, you deserve to stay at least 4 Days & 3 Nights, no less!

Suggested Itinerary: 4 Days & 3 Nights minimum.

Suggested Itinerary: 4 Days & 3 Nights minimum.

For more information and reservations send us a message.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

Love the green? Travel green in Negros Occidental!

Countryside, Crafts & Culinary delights Travel green to Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, the Philippine’s foremost sustainable agri-tourism and organic farm capital. Step back in time to the countryside, re-living turn  of the century old towns and haciendas, feeling a sense of green and tranquility as you traverse along undulating sugarcane fields. Take an eco-trip to a rainforest and marine reserve, learn the importance of coastal biodiversity conservation to combat climate change and savor exquisite Negrense cuisine from freshest exotic seafood to healthy options of organic farms and produce.

Rapha Valley, Don Salvador Benedicto

Rapha Valley, Don Salvador Benedicto

Focal Points:

  • Visit remarkable churches, stately mansions, and diverse organic farms
  • Enjoy culinary delights from traditional home style cooking to East-West fusion, with a wide array of seafood, organic and healthy options.
  • Buy local, support local – world-class handicrafts, from exclusive factory visits, to community and producers’ shops, souvenirs showroom.

    Handmade Gallery Useful Gifts

    Buy local, support local. Eco-friendly, world-class arts and craft abound in Bacolod City! Photo via Handmade Gallery.

Foremost Jaunts:

Organic Farms & Sustainable Agri Tours: North, Central & Southern loops.

Sustainable Agri Tour- Northern Loop, Negros Occidental

Sustainable Agri Tour- Northern Loop, Negros Occidental

Souther Farms Loop

Souther Farms Loop

Central Farms Loop

Central Farms Loop

Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB)Rapha Valley

DSB's Rice Terraces. Enjoy it while it's clean and green!

DSB’s Rice Terraces. Enjoy it while it’s clean and green!

Danjugan Island

Danjugan Island

Danjugan Island

GET INSPIRED!

Green Weddings & Events (M.I.C.E) 

Green weddings and events at Nature's Village Resort. Photo via midorimoon.com

Green weddings and events at Nature’s Village Resort. Photo via midorimoon.com

 Stay green!

Nature's Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Nature’s Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

 Ecofriendly Family Getaway & Educational trips

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

SUGGESTED ITINERARY – 4 DAYS/3 NIGHTS

To make the most of your visit and trip, stay no less than 4 days/3 nights, otherwise, before you know it, you’ll be planning your next vacay again!

Don Salvador Benedicto Waterfalls

  • Day 1- Arrival, Check in at Nature’s Village Resort. Bacolod City Half Day tour
  • Day 2 – Full Day Tour, Southern & Central Loop, Overnight at Rapha Valley
  • Day 3 – Full Day Tour – Northern Loop & Souvenir Shopping, Overnight at Nature’s Village Resort
  • Day 4 – Departure

For more information and reservations, please send us a message.

 “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”

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