An ecolodge is a facility which is designed to accommodate ecotourists, people who are interested in traveling in a ecologically-friendly way. Ecotourism is also referred to as “sustainable tourism” and “green tourism." At an ecolodge, accommodation of tourists is important, but so is benefiting the environment and the local community. The facilities at an ecolodge can be quite varied, from simple tents to luxurious spa retreats.
Several characteristics differentiate an ecolodge from other types of hotels. Typically, an ecolodge employs local people, and it is often owned locally as well. The facility is built with local labor, using materials found in the region, and it is usually built in an environmentally-friendly way. Building materials may be recycled, for example, and the facility may be powered with alternative energy. Graywater recycling systems water the gardens, the kitchen composts its waste, and guests are encouraged to take small steps for the environment like reusing towels and sheets.
Ideally, an ecolodge has a positive environmental impact, in contrast with conventional hotels, inns, spas, and so forth, which often come with a high environmental price tag. A variety of innovative techniques might be used to make the space environmentally friendly, and profits from the ecolodge tend to benefit the environment and the local community. For example, an ecolodge might be used to fund a community school.
Being environmentally-friendly doesn't make an ecolodge spartan, and many are quite comfortable. The lodge may also have features like a welcoming common area to encourage the guests to interact with each other and with members of the community. It may also be linked with an adventure, nature, or educational tourism country, allowing guests to engage in a variety of activities with local guides.
Some ecolodges are linked with community service projects, encouraging their guests to volunteer in the local community for a few hours during their stay. Guests might assist in a school, help to build homes, or work for a few hours in a community garden, contributing positive benefits to the communities they visit.
Ecological tourism attracts a great deal of interest, and some unscrupulous companies have established ecolodges which diverge far from the spirit of responsible tourism, making only a few token efforts to lead guests into believing that they have chosen an environmentally sound vacationing spot. People who want to take ecotourism trips should read reviews of ecolodges carefully, and they may want to consider staying with an ecolodge which has been accredited by an ecotourism organization.