Sep 282010

EarthCheck is an independent, autonomous organization in the World Travel & Tourism Council. It oversees one system of international certification for sustainable tourism operators. More than 1,000 organizations in 60 countries currently use EarthCheck as a reliable measure of environmental sustainability.

Mexico has about 40 EarthCheck-approved hotels. These must meet specific criteria for environmental conservation practices such as recycling, programs to protect local flora and fauna, the use of indigenous plants in hotel landscaping, and beach clean-up campaigns. Major chains in Mexico with hotels that are EarthCheck-benchmarked or EarthCheck-certified (two distinct levels within the system) are shown in the table below:

Maya ResortsMaya Riviera, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco
BarcelóMaya Riviera, Cancún, Huatulco, Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta
Club MedCancún, Ixtapa
Hotel Pueblo BonitoEmerald Bay, Los Cabos, Mazatlán
- special case (all major chains at this location)Bays of Huatulco (Oaxaca)

Huatulco, on the coast of Oaxaca, is the first sustainable community to be recognized by EarthCheck in the Americas, and only the third worldwide. EarthCheck found that Huatulco exceeded “Best Practice” for energy consumption by 64.3%; renewable sources accounted for 23% of all the energy used in the region. It found potable water consumption (about 380 liters/person/day) exceeded “Best Practice” by 17%; 95% of all water used was recycled or came from rainfall-capture. EarthCheck reported that Huatulco’s solid waste disposal of only 0.2 metric tons/person/year is 9.1% superior to “Best Practice”. In addition, Huatulco’s hotels exceeded “Best Practice” by 73.5% for travel and tourism accreditation and by 52% for habitat conservation and maintenance of biodiversity.

While the EarthCheck system may be far from perfect, the fact that such certification systems exist and are being aggressively marketed is a sure sign that many hotel corporations now accept that some of their guests are finally taking a more serious interest in the many ecological issues associated with tourism. More and more people seek assurances that the hotels they choose are doing as much as possible to improve their level of sustainability.

Complete list of all Mexican hotels benchmarked or certified by EarthCheck

Many aspects of tourism, including the concepts associated with sustainable tourism, are analyzed in detail in chapter 19 of Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico. Please recommend Geo-Mexico to your local library or purchase a copy for yourself TODAY. Thanks!


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