Sustainable tourism can be a tricky thing to achieve. Balancing out the luxury and leisure with the need to keep your carbon footprint low whilst maximizing your positive impact on the local community is no mean feat. Keeping the number of visitors within a manageable and sustainable range is another issue. We have written in the past about special eco-tourism destinations becoming victims of their own success. For example, the Siwa Oasis in Egypt is currently under threat as the growing tourism industry is putting pressure on the scarce water resources.
However, there are some hotels and organisations getting it right and it’s great to see them getting the recognition they deserve. The Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards help supply that recognition.
1. The Fauzi Azar Inn in Nazareth won the Best Accommodation For Local Communities award for its efforts to boost local/tourist interaction and support the local economy. Located in a 200-year old Arab mansion, it runs free tours of the city, encourages hiking and is also currently offering a free nights stay in one of their dorms for backpackers who have travelled through Syria, Lebanon or Iraq. See their website for the full details.
2. The Feynan Eco-Lodge in Jordan was highly commended in the Best Poverty Reduction category. Developed by Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, the eco-lodge is located in the Dana Biospere reserve and helps raise funds to support local Bedouins through employment opportunities. Run on solar power, the lodge is lit at night by candles produced from local Bedouin women and they are also running a weaving project.
3. Last but not least is the Kasbah Du Toubkal in Morocco, which was highly commended in the Best Accommodation For The Environment category. Green Prophet editor Karin Kloosterman stayed there this summer, and Tafline Laylin was lucky enough to spend time (well hike up) Mount Toubkal where this very lodge is located. A mountain retreat, the hotel was originally a summer home of a local chief which was lovingly restored and the organisation retains very close link with the local Berber community.
Top image via Feynan Eco-Lodge website and others from respective hotels
More going green sustainable tourism:
Middle East Destination Tops Ethical Tourism Sales
Morocco, Egypt Eye Eco-Tourism Markets
Romantic Desert Lodge In Egypt Offers Fresh Eggs & Sanity