5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE CHOOSING ECO CERTIFIED ACCOMMODATION
If you’re not thinking about the environmental footprint of your holiday accommodation, you’re in the minority.
That’s what research by Booking.com found in its most recent Sustainability Travel Report, released for Earth Day in April this year. The findings showed that 87% of travellers want to travel sustainably, with most people seeking out eco-friendly accommodation in order to help reduce environmental impacts, enjoy a locally relevant experience or feel good about their choices.
To celebrate the rise of the eco-conscious accommodation-seeker, we thought we’d give you our top 5 reasons to choose an ECO certified place to rest your head on your next holiday.
1. THE HASHTAG FACTOR
We’ve all seen them, and let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to be them.
They’re the people who take amazing photos of their once-in-a-lifetime holiday experiences, backs to the camera as they face the afternoon sunlight, swimming in the rainforest, lying in a hammock at a beautiful secluded beach, camping out under the stars somewhere remote…the list goes on. It’s enough to make you want to leave your normal life behind and spend all your money on travel (or at least an entire lunch hour dreamily looking at Instagram).
All of these experiences are not only completely #bucketlist worthy; they’re also experiences which benefit the environment as much as your social media following. Oh, and you can still get that perfect ‘facing out to the beautiful landscape’ shot.
2. THE FEEL-GOOD FACTOR
Have you ever felt like you want to make a difference in the world but been told that just one person can’t achieve much?
Well, it’s time to tell those nay-sayers where to go.
Staying in an ECO certified accommodation is a super easy way to make a difference to the environment and communities that you travel to (even if it’s small!).
These days, many people choose to offset their carbon footprint by ticking the box when booking a plane ticket, but did you know that there are some accommodations (like this luxury lodge and this farm stay accommodation) that are actually 100% carbon neutral?
On top of this, many ECO certified accommodations are doing a whole lot of other things to leave a positive impact on the environment – check out this beach house whose owners planted a forest of flowers to bring back the Western Pygmy Possum, this eco lodge which includes conservation activities with real ecologists in your stay and this island escape which is working hard to restore its vegetation and habitats to how the island was in 1616, when it was discovered.
3. THE HEALTH FACTOR
There’s a growing body of evidence* worldwide which shows that being close to nature is good for our health and wellbeing. According to one study, exposure to nature can reduce high blood pressure, respiratory tract and cardiovascular illnesses, improve vitality and mood, help combat anxiety, restore attention capacity and fight mental fatigue. Feeling connected to nature has also been found to improve memory, boost creativity, create meaningfulness, increase general life satisfaction and boost happiness.
What’s not to love?
Aside from giving you a chance to sleep among nature (whether it’s the beach, rainforest, bush or outback), ECO certified accommodations often add special touches and facilities to enable a fresh sense of connection to the world around you. Check out romantic Paperbark Camp, which offers canoes, kayaks and bikes inclusive of their accommodation rates, family-friendly Yallingup Forest Resort with its tree-encircled tennis court, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat and its seasonal, local, organic and home-grown cuisine, Lorne Bush House Cottages + Eco Retreat for its 43 acres of private bushland and yabby dam for fishing and Billabong Retreat for its yoga, health, mindfulness and meditation retreats.
We’re feeling more relaxed just writing about them.
4. THE RESUME FACTOR
Ever dreamt of having a career in tourism or conservation but been told you need experience? Or heard that including volunteer work on your resume shows that you’re a ‘balanced’ person who has a true passion for an important cause?
You’re in luck again!
By staying in an ECO certified accommodation, you have the opportunity to gain experience in wildlife conservation, ecosystem restoration, animal rescue, ecological surveys, work with Aboriginal communities, or scientific lab research.
ECO certified businesses work hard to understand and support the habitats around them and your help is often welcomed and encouraged. Many of these conservation programs are recognised by government and research institutions, so your work will not only contribute to a greater cause but also give your CV that extra boost it needs to snag your dream job. Plus, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of working in the field and in direct contact with nature.
For ideas on where to start, check out Taronga Conservation Society Australia’s volunteer roles in life sciences, bush regeneration and more, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden’s volunteer guide program (for when you’re staying at The Jungle Lodge) the farm work opportunities possible at Childers Ecolodge or Conservation Volunteers Australia’s hands-on conservation and research trips run by NatureWise Eco Escapes.
5. THE FUTURE FACTOR
If you’re like us (and let’s be honest, if you’re still reading, we must have something in common) you love to travel. You love nature, and you love discovering new places and returning to ones you love.
In Australia, we’re surrounded by some of the world’s most incredible natural landscapes: World Heritage listed reefs and rainforests, spectacular desert lands, outback locations steeped in Indigenous history, alpine regions dotted with wildflowers and coastlines that stretch on for days.
In all of these incredible locations, you’ll find unique and unusual places to stay. But have you ever stopped to think that the more unique a location, the more it requires protection?
Australia’s Protected Area Managers recognise and reward Ecotourism Australia certified businesses with longer licences and other benefits because they’re deemed to operate in the least disruptive and most sustainable way possible. In some places, you’re not even allowed to operate a business at all if you don’t have certification. So, if you want to experience staying in some of the most unique places in Australia (and ensure that you can keep returning in the future because these places are being looked after), choose accommodation that’s Ecotourism Australia certified.
>> We’ve loved sharing some of our amazing ECO certified accommodations with you in this article. Looking for more? Check out our Green Travel Guide.
[Cover photo: Orpheus Island Lodge]
*Check out these resources for more on this topic: