TRAVEL industry experts say eco-tourism has proved more than a 'travel trend' in 2012, stabilising as a key tourism industry market with staying power.
Cheap hotels and accommodations website Quickbeds.com saw eco-style accommodation bookings in February 2012 nearly double against eco bookings data from February 2011.
Quickbeds.com general manager John Feenaghty said eco-tourism should be seen as an industry movement and not a passing trend.
"A few years ago there was a lot of hype around green travel and eco-tourism was a real buzzword, but it has outlived that hype and cemented its status as a real travel industry market that's here to stay.
"Environmental concerns are a strong focus and motivator in the tourism industry as more eco-savvy travellers are booking hotels with a conscience.
"Some of Quickbeds.com's most frequently and steadily booked properties comprise green hotels, back-to-nature style 'glamping' trips and high-end eco-resorts, like Broome's Eco Beach Resort," said Mr Feenaghty.
Eco Beach Resort's sales and marketing manager Kristy Bailey attributes the resort's success to their ability to offer luxurious accommodation that is green behind the scenes, but provides no difference in quality to the guest.
"We provide a way for people to experience the wilderness and get close to nature without compensating on luxury," said Ms Bailey.
Competition comes hand in hand with increasing popularity, but Bailey isn't concerned; she hopes eco-tourism only continues to grow its share of the domestic market.
"We are in such a unique and amazing location...at Cape Villaret, where the two worlds of the Australian outback and the Indian Ocean meet," she said.
"More tourism businesses and travelers should preserve and protect the environment or we simply won't have the opportunity to have wilderness experiences in the future."
John Feenaghty's top five things to look for when booking an eco-stay:
- Does the hotel/resort have its own onsite organic garden or crops?
- Is it solar powered?
- Does the property recycle grey water?
- Does the hotel separate packaging and other waste into designated recycling bins?
- Are guest bathroom products and cleaning products used at the resort made from natural ingredients and are they environmentally friendly?
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