Trying to appear greener than you are is called greenwashing (the word is a spin on the term “whitewashing,” which means glossing over wrongdoing). The word is lobbed at companies that spend more time and money on marketing themselves as green than they do on actually reducing their environmental impact.
The rise of ecotourism is big business for hotels, tour operators and tourist attractions that lean green. The tricky part for travelers is telling the difference between green and ‘greenwash’ – when operators give Most travel providers aren’t trying to dupe their customers. It’s more likely that they’re over-emphasizing their lone concession to reducing their carbon footprint. There might also be something lost in translation: after all, “Eco Lodge” and “animal sanctuary” don’t carry the same connotations worldwide.
So how do you cut through the waffle to plan a trip that’s truly green? Here are four questions to ask.
Do their green commitments sound vague?
Eco-lodge. Natural. Chemical-free. These descriptions sound lovely but mean almost nothing. There are no globally enforced rules about describing a business as an ‘eco-lodge’, and ‘natural’ is a flimsy term (crude oil occurs ‘naturally’). If your hotel’s shampoo is truly ‘chemical-free’, then it isn’t shampoo (fruit extracts, detergents, fragrances…they’re all chemicals).
We are using Coconut Soap and we ask our guest to reduce the use of Shampoo and Balsam, but we understand that banning is not the solution.
We stand on this policy: “as long we don’t have a better solution, we have to stick with the old one. Let’s try not to abuse”
Is your ‘green’ hotel too focused on towels?
Practically every hotel bathroom carries a tag urging guests to reuse towels for the sake of the environment. Yes, reusing towels reduces water waste – but if an avowedly green hotel makes their towel policy a major headline, it doesn’t bode well.
We do not ask you to keep your towel for the whole week, just not change it two times a day!
Don’t be afraid to call and ask before you book. Hotels that are genuinely eco-friendly are often delighted to explain their methods; after all, they’ve put in the hard yards installing energy-efficient lighting and researching organic toiletries.
Are they doing good, or making me feel good?
Increasing concern about animal welfare is changing the travel industry for the better. In the past few years, riding an elephant has gone from being a common Asian holiday photo-op to a travel taboo. Thailand’s infamous Tiger Temple was shut down in 2016, putting an end to an era of tourists posing with maltreated tigers.
Animal sanctuaries are less clear-cut. Supposedly they’re refuges for wounded or rescued animals, and many do excellent work. Our Scuba Diving and Snorkeling policy focus on minimum impact and continuous education
One big issue for us is the Whale Shark experience.
We have Code of Conduct especially made by scientist to reduce the minimum impact, but the excitement and the so call “expectation” is a clear conflict to this good practice.
Boat operators and dive master are obliged to do what is in their power to have the guests swimming with the whale sharks. This often become a breach in the code of conduct.
Please, respect the Code of Conduct and other people job!
Are you being served an ‘eco sandwich’?
Imagine you’ve found an incredible-sounding ecotourism experience: a jungle lodge, a sanctuary for rescued animals, or a sensitively managed hike into a nature reserve. How much do you know about the gritty details?
Unfortunately, ecotourism experiences are sometimes served up alongside environmentally destructive practices. This is otherwise known as an ‘eco sandwich’: the filling is green, but the rest is pure stooge.
Perhaps, somewhere along your hike into a fragile national park, your guide pulls plastic-wrapped lunches from their rucksack, each one accompanied by a single-use spoon. Or maybe, to reach a stilt-perched lodge in a remote stretch of a river, the transportation is a gas-guzzling motorboat that spooks the water creatures.
It’s a good sign when a tour guide or hotel gives information up-front; for example, if they recommend that guests hire bikes, or give a reminder to pack out all rubbish when leaving a national park.
Our Eco Cuisine plan is not based on a particular diet, but simply focus on the use of local products. Planned meals instead of A’ la carte choice, reduce wasting and improve quality.
We do provide shuttle to and from Diving Centre, but 10 minutes’ walk is a Green Attitude.
Very important part of our “GREEN” is local community oriented.
This means the more than 90% of our employees are form Mafia Island.
We use materials and services from Mafia Island.
We help local entrepreneurs to improve they service and business.
This is Eco Shamba Kilole Lodge.
We hope you will enjoy your stay.