Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What constitutes an Eco-Friendly Resort?

 What is an Eco Resort?

At Platinum International Real Estate and Investments we have been approached many times about what constitutes and Eco-resort and have finally come up with your basic answer.
An eco-resort protects the environment, benefits local communities, and helps guests learn about the local surroundings while they explore them. Eco-resorts are not just for leisure but offer the tourist a complete eco-experience. A true Eco-resort not only offers eco-friendly sightseeing , but the accommodation, transport and cooking methods are also eco-friendly. Using solar heating, bio-toilets, and using transport systems more efficiently are all eco-friendly examples put to use to reduce the effect of people on the environment and in essence reducing our carbon footprints.

What is the standard criteria for the Certification of an Eco-Resort?

• Design and Construction
• Water conservation
• Liquid waste management
• Solid waste management
• Energy production and conservation
• Natural areas and conservation
• Lawn and gardens
• Protection of flora and fauna
• Contamination of air, water and soil
• Environmental education
• Quality standards

 Since only about 1% of the eco-resorts are actually certified, it is sometimes better to check with the resorts directly.
Here is a list of some questions to ask and keep in mind.
What does the resort do to protect and conserve the local flora and fauna?
How does it involve local communities?
What interpretive facilities (cultural or ecological) are available to guests?

Other questions that are at the micro-level for the observant and discerning traveller are:
What are the ways in which the resort contributes to the local community? Are there employment opportunities, education programmes for the people employed and the guests? Does the eco-resort contribute to the area's economy by buying local products?
What does the property do to minimize waste? How do you manage garbage, waste and recyclables?

Are the towels and bed linen changed every day for a guest automatically or is it done only if there is a guest request?
How are the toiletries packaged? And is the packaging recycled?
How is grey water and sewage treated ?
Are any alternative energy resources like solar or wind used?
Is there air-conditioning or air cooling?
Do you have any other water conservation measures? And if so, what are they?
Did you use environmentally friendly building materials and indigenous plants in the construction and landscaping of the resort?

Some of Belize's Eco-Friendly Resorts are : Blackadore Caye, Black Rock, Blancaneaux Lodge, Casa Del Caballo, Chaa Creek, Chan Chich Lodge, Cotton Tree Lodge, El Pescador, Hamanasi, Jaguar Paw, Journey's End, Kaana and Lamanai. This list is certainly not complete being that there are many others that we have not mentioned.

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