Japan Ecolodge Association: Ecolodge Guidelines and Sustainability Checklist

Japan Ecolodge Association: Ecolodge Guidelines and Sustainability Checklist

Member Press ReleaseThe Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA) released the first Ecolodge Guidelines developed specifically for Japan on June 18, 2006 at its annual general meeting in Kyoto. The tourism ambassador to the city of Kyoto joined ECOLA members and Board of Directors to celebrate the launch of the guidelines. The Ecolodge Guidelines comprise of a checklist of 110 items, covering six categories (Environmental Sustainability; Food and Beverage; Reduction of Wastes and Recycling; Saving Energy and Water; Green Purchasing; and Environmental Conservation). The first five categories comply with the Green Purchase Network's Guidelines for Hotels and Inns.

 

Founder and Executive Director of ECOLA, Masaru Takayama, foresaw the need for ecolodge guidelines for the Japanese market as the demand for high quality responsible travel and accommodation is growing in the domestic market. "Japanese have been guilty, in general, of developing nature lodges and resorts at the cost of the surrounding environment," he comments, "It's about time we revisited our tradition and cultural heritage that cherish nature – like a Buddha image in a temple, we should praise nature at a distance, and only approach closely in a properly respectful and thoughtful manner"

 

Development of the ECOLA Ecolodge Guidelines began in 2003 with input from stakeholders of various disciplines and walks of life who supported the concept – from ecolodges owners to ecotourism consultants, energy conservation experts, ISO specialists, GIS experts, outdoor photographers, a web-designer and engineer, a green purchasing expert, a temple carpenter and an organic farmer. A draft of the Guidelines was sent out for public comment, and finalized in April this year.

 

The Guidelines are designed for small- and medium-sized accommodations located in natural areas with either in-house or local professional ecotour guides showcasing the natural attractions around the lodge and providing interpretation about the lodge’s best practices and information on how to implement or improve sustainability initiatives.

 

It is hoped that the Guidelines will be picked up and supported by local tourism offices or regional ecotourism associations to complement other sustainability or conservation initiatives. The Shiretoko World Heritage Site in Hokkaido, the northern-most of the main islands of Japan, is considering the implementation of the ECOLA Guidelines to support their program.

 

The Ecolodge Guidelines can be viewed and downloaded at the ECOLA website. The Association is currently in the process of upgrading the website in order to enable ecolodge owners to analyze their sustainability performance and submit information online.

 

For more information on ECOLA and its Ecolodge Guidelines, please contact:

Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA)

Casa Verde, Takatsuji 901 329, Kotsuya-cho, Shomogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8425 JAPAN

Email: info[at]ecolodge.gr.jp

 

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