Monday, December 31, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ranweli Holiday Village Sri Lanka

Ranweli 18 Km away from Colombo International Airport is located in a coastal wetland estuary amidst mangroves. An area rich in bird life it encompasses an area of 9Ha. A paddle ferry across a lagoon gets you to Ranweli. Ranweli Holiday Village was a runners up in the Environmental Experience Category of the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2003. It also has the distinction of being selected by the World Tourism Organisation as one of the top 55 'Good Practices' Enterprises in Ecotourism. Budget Travel rated it among the world's 10 best ecolodges. Good practices like using treated waste in the gardens, promoting environmental and cultural education, supporting Conservation,ensuring benefis to the local Community are followed here. Check out this place if you are going to Sri Lanka.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

Wish You A Merry Christmas

New wave ecolodges

While surfing I came across this article “New wave ecolodges” in timesonline. Gives you an idea about trends in UK. Makes interesting reading.Have a look at it.

Follow this link

http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/new_homes/article1352664.ece

Saturday, December 15, 2007

La Ruta Moskitia, Honduras – Winner of best in park or protected area award of, Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2007

La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance (LARUMO Alliance).Honduras, which won Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2007, is 100% community-owned and operated. All financial benefits go directly to local communities.Six indigenous communities have developed ecotourism products and services within the Rio Pl├ítano Biosphere Reserve. This earns them good money and has lessend dependence on hunting, fishing, slash & burn agriculture and cattle grazing which were taking heavy toll of biodiversity of the area. La Ruta Moskitia has received support from the United Nations Development Program’s Small Grants Program in Honduras and Rare (http://www.rareconservation.org/), an international conservation organization whose mission is to protect wild lands of globally significant biodiversity by enabling local people to benefit from their protection. Rio Pl├ítano Biosphere Reserve encompasses over 525,000 hectares and was the first World Heritage Site to be designated as such in Central America. The Reserve encompasses coastal wetlands, pine savannas, tropical forests, and is home to rare species, like Jaguars, and Manatees as well as over 300 bird species, including Parrots, Toucans, and the elusive Harpy Eagle. An estimated 2,000 vascular plants can be found in the reserve.200 amphibian and reptiles species have been recirded. The beaches of the Reserve are critical nesting grounds for four species of endangered sea turtles.

For more details log on to http://larutamoskitia.com/about.html

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How Ecolodges Work

Regular readers have requested me to post details of good writeups I come across on the net. I was reading this article “How Ecolodges Work” in How Stuff Works and find it interesting and useful. If you are new to ecolodges this article gives you enough fodder. Gives you an account of ecolodge principles,ecolodge experience,finding an ecolodge and ecotourism. Have a look at the following link

http://travel.howstuffworks.com/ecolodge.htm/printable

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Responsible Tourism Awards 2007

My friend James Zechariah was telling me that even though the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2007 was announced on 14th November 2007 not many people are aware of the winners in various category. He feels that it would be useful to put the names on this blog. As per his suggestion I am giving below the list of winners. Hope it will be useful to all of you

Best Tour Operator: sponsored by The Adventure Company

Gecko's Adventures, Australia

Best Small Hotel/Accommodation: sponsored by Tourism Queensland

Finca Esperanza Verde Ecolodge, Nicaragua

Best Large Hotel/Accomodation: sponsored by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

Apex Hotels Ltd, UK

Best Low Carbon Transport & Technology: sponsored by Virgin Trains

Eurostar, UK

Best in a Mountain Environment: sponsored by Blacks

Explorandes, Peru

Best in a Marine Environment: sponsored by Tourism Tasmania

Blue o two, UK

Best for Poverty Reduction: sponsored by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Check Out for Children

Borana, Kenya

Best in a Park or Protected Area: sponsored by Conservation International

La Ruta Moskitia, Honduras

Best for Conservation of an Endangered Species: sponsored by Sri Lanka Tourism

Grootbos Nature Reserve, South Africa

Best for Conservation of Cultural Heritage: sponsored by Jamaica Tourist Board

Andaman Discoveries, Thailand

Best Volunteering Organisation: sponsored by Lonely Planet

Azafady, UK/Madagascar

The eight best eco lodges in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has some of the best ecolodges in the world. I was reading this article in timesonline about eight best eco lodges in Costa Rica. Gives graphic description about the places. The 8 picks by

Southern Pacific: Sirena Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park

Southern Pacific: Tiskita Jungle Lodge

Southern Caribbean: The Iguana Verde Treehouse

Caribbean: Selva Bananito

Central Highlands: Bosque de Paz

Central Highlands: Leo’s House, Rancho Mastatal

Southern Talamancas: Las Cruces Biological Station, Wilson Botanical Garden

Northern Central: Curubanda Lodge

If you are keen to know more about the places follow the link below.

http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/travel/article2425319.ece?token=null&offset=12

Monday, December 3, 2007

Luxury Ecolodges - A Misnomer?

Commander Thomas Mundakkal who runs the Thattekad eco camp feels that lodges which flaunt the label luxury ecolodges consume non renewable resources in profligate ways and does not exactly practice the precept ecolodge in its pure pristine form. He feels that many of them should be classified as green hotels or resorts instead of using the term ecolodge. I fully subscribe to his views. Cambridge dictionary defines lodge as “small house in the country used especially by people on holiday or taking part in sports, or one on the land owned by a large house”

Britannica defines it thus Originally an insubstantial dwelling, or one erected for a temporary occupational purpose (e.g., woodcutting or masonry) or for use during the hunting season.The lodge became a more permanent type of house as the lands around European mansions were developed as parks. The lodge was often the cottage of the gamekeeper, caretaker, gatekeeper, or gardener, or it could be a larger building for occupation by a higher-ranking person. Today the word suggests a rustic dwelling or inn in a natural setting, often one used seasonally (e.g., a ski lodge).

Yes, it should be an inn like structure in a natural surrounding where profligacy is taboo. But very few qualify for this description. The term ecolodge is being bandied about by every Tom, Dick and Harry.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

25 Great Ecolodges

I was reading this article by David Hochman titled 25 Great Ecolodges. It gives a birds’ eye view of what he rates as the world’s 25 great ecolodges. Hochman says “One hotel's idea of ecotourism is another's ploy to cash in on conscience. Some eco-sensitive retreats ask guests to reuse towels and insist they've saved the world. Others can't seem to do enough to serve the three-tiered mission of responsible tourism: positive impact on the environment, on the local culture, and on the traveler.”

I enjoyed reading this informative piece. Only one lodge from India measures up, Green Hotel, near Mysore.

If you want to have a look at the whole article have a look at

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/25-great-ecolodges/?page=2

Friday, November 23, 2007

Green Washing

There are many lodges out there which prefix eco in an effort to green wash their operations.Please check up how eco is the place before you make a booking. The organisation "Responsible Travel" gives guidelines about how to do this
Here are the 10 ways advocated by them

1)Ask the lodge owner if they have a written policy regarding the environment and local people. If its not written down then it probably means they are not taking it seriously.
2)Ask them to describe the single contribution to conservation or local people that they are most proud of.
3)Ask them how they measure their contribution to conservation and local communities.
4)Ask the lodge owner how many local people they employ, what % this is of the total, and whether any are in management positions.
5)Ask them what they have specifically done to help protect the environment and support conservation, and which local charities they work with.
6)Ask them what % of produce and services are sourced from within 25km of the lodge.
7)Ask them how they treat waste water and how they heat their building (solar is better than firewood, which can cause deforestation)
8)Ask them what information and advice is provided to tourists on local cultures and customs.
9)Ask them if they employ guides from the local community (local guides not only provide unmatched insights into local cultures, but are also aware of areas/behaviour that might cause offence among local people.
10)Ask them for ideas on how you might get involved with local people and conservation in a worthwhile and rewarding way for you and the destination.

That is all folks for now. I will keep you posted about some of the ecoldges and how I rate them