Nearly 1 billion travelers crisscross the globe every year to experience new cultures, learn a new language, or to see new and exciting things. For some travelers and backpackers with a particular interest in the natural environment – untouched by human intervention – eco-traveling is the way to go. Green travel, or eco-travelling, describes responsible travel practices that focus on environmental sustainability, locality, and socio-cultural factors.
With the growing concern on environmental impacts, travelers are beginning to seek more eco-friendly accommodations and more meaningful travel experiences.
The rise of eco-accommodations in Asia
Eco-minded travelers are now exposed to many options to stay in during their journeys. Commercial accommodations that can facilitate this group can be categorized into two different levels: eco guesthouse and eco hotel.
Eco guesthouse comes as an accommodation designed to have the least possible impact on the natural environment in which it is situated in – far from a town site, noise and traffic. Guests staying at an eco guesthouse can really connect with the natural environment as well as participate in eco friendly practices provided at the accommodation place, e.g. learning about land management strategies, sustainable waste management systems and also water saving measures – while partly practicing it.
A prime example of an eco guesthouse hails from Bali, Indonesia. Serenity Eco Guesthouse, located in Canggu, Bali, offers a tranquil retreat for travelers all over the world. Most parts of its villas are built using natural bamboos to advocate a sustainable ecosystem. To preserve the natural environment, permaculture gardens, bee houses, medicinal plants, organic bananas and orchid gardens are featured to create a green oasis within the premise. The guesthouse also gives back to the community and environment by hosting regular charity events and participating in environmental activities, inviting guests and volunteers to join in as well.
The Greenhost Hotel in Jogjakarta, Indonesia,on the other hand, takes on a new spin as an eco-friendly boutique hotel. The rectangular building and the open space in the middle is completed with a transparent roof which gives off natural sunlight during the day, significantly reducing energy usage. The open airways provide good circulation and cool breeze inside the building, so there is no need for air conditioning systems despite the warm temperature conditioned by the tropical weather.
On a higher level, the ITC Royal Gardenia, in Bengaluru, India, is a luxury eco hotel which features the eco-friendly practices such as energy efficiency, zero solid waste management, and green banquetin. Due to these features, the hotel has been rated as the World’s largest and Asia’s first LEED Platinum rated hotel.
Sustainable traveling impacts the region in positive ways through several accommodations that are available to stay in.
Redefining eco-travelling with eco capsule
Conventional accommodations embracing sustainability concepts are already in place, but for some nomads, eco traveling and its sustainable practices go a long way.
At this point, a Slovakia architecture firm, Nice Architects, has designed the first egg-shaped portable low-energy compact living space (some would call it a house) which has the capabilities of a comfortable prolonged life span without the need to recharge or re-supply.
The Ecocapsule can be taken anywhere as it has 4 small wheels that are extendable from the legs, which can be rolled or rotated on smooth surfaces. It can be towed, pulled on the back of a truck or placed in a shipping container too. This offers something to the travelers that eco-hotels and eco-guesthouse can’t : mobility and continued eco lifestyle for as long as needed.
Ecocapsule is a new way of sustainable living for travelers and is equipped with tiny solar panel and wind-powered systems and may redefine eco-traveling without having to really alienate from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Staying in an Ecocapsule, by itself, already contributes to a positive environmental effort as part of the eco-traveling.
Its viability to grow popular in Asia seems promising, too. In addition, the Ecocapsule can serve as a shelter for travelers in Asia, where a lot of natural disasters occur.The egg shape also accommodates rainwater collection, which is then filtered for daily use, such as for drinking and bathing. Its portability and flexibility can be used as a lodge or even as an emergency shelter home.
The rising trend of sustainable practices gets to a point where eco accommodations across the region are now burgeoning. The variety of choices of accommodations for eco-travelers can range from guesthouses, hotels and even mobile/portable accommodation. It should be interesting to see how the trend develops and to which further extent sustainable tourism in Asia grows to be more promising as an industry and how much of an importance it will be finally realized. (AGB.com – VL )
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