While tourism has a number of benefits, the impact on the environment is not always as beneficial. The resources we consume as a result of staying in tourist accommodation are often much greater than that if we stayed at home.
But a new set of guidelines from ISO aims to help reduce the negative impacts of accommodation establishments, while retaining the benefits of tourism and even adding a few more.
Developed by TC 228, whose secretariat is held by AENOR and INNORPI, ISO's members in Spain and Tunisia, ISO/TS 13811, Guidelines on developing environmental specifications for accommodation establishments aims to help conserve the natural environment and its biodiversity, taking into account specific local conditions.
Project leader and TC 228 working group 10 convenor Ms Tuba Ulu Yilmaz said the Technical Specification is expected to be a widely recognized technical reference for a wide range of stakeholders, not just accommodation providers who want to be more environmentally friendly.
"It is also aimed at countries with no regulations to constitute a framework; national and international bodies to assess and harmonize their existing schemes or certifications; and consumers who want the choice to choose establishments that have the environment in mind," she said.
"It will foster the ultimate goal of environmental sustainability and raise the overall standard of the tourism sector."
The guidelines outline a number of things that accommodation establishments can do to reduce their impact, including conserving their use of resources, reducing pollution and better managing their waste, as well as ways they can make a positive contribution to the area. This includes things such as restoring natural areas of scenic beauty and educating staff, clients and the community, of the important role they too can play.
ISO/TS 13811 is available from your national ISO member or from the ISO store.