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Green consulting firm Fifty Shades Greener is offering a free online training programme for anyone in the hospitality industry who wants to be a green champion in their workplace. The Ireland-based business has opened the training course, Become a Green Leader in Your Workplace, to anyone worldwide who works in the hospitality industry. The programme, […]
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Life & Soul Magazine’s Travel Guide to Eco Spas will whet your appetite for a vacation that brings healing to holidaymakers in accommodations that work in harmony with the planet.
21. Banasura Hill Resort, Kerala, India
One of India’s greenest resort and spas, Banasura Hill Resort, is applauded for being the largest “earth” resort in the country.
Constructed entirely from natural materials – mainly mud known as rammed earth, recycled wood, and bamboo and coconut palm leaf roofs, Banasura Hill Resort sits some 3500 ft above sea level nestled on a 35-acre eco-friendly farm in Kerala’s Wayanad district.
The earthly, rustic charm of the resort, constructed using mud excavated from the very site that it stands on, blends harmoniously with its lush green surroundings which include gushing mountain streams, spectacular waterfalls, and coffee, tea, pepper and cashew plantations.
Using sustainable archictecture techniques, “earth” architecture was chosen in the building of Banasura Hill Resort as it would cause the least amount of ecological damage in this biodiversity hotspot, which is part of the Western Ghats UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its mountainous range sprawling with forests, the Western Ghats is believed to be older than the Himalayas, and indigenous tribes of the region have long been familiar with the rammed earth method of building.
An indigenous tribe from the nearby Kurichiya village played a significant role in contributing their skill and expertise in the construction of Banasura Hill Resort, including creating a bio-fence by planting thousands of bamboos of different varieties around the resort’s perimeter.
Since Banasura Hill Resort stands in the middle of a tropical forest, all views from the resort’s naturally cooled earth huts and cottages are awe-inspiring, including a view of Banasura Hill which looms majestically behind the resort. The natural terracotta-coloured walls of the accommodations are largely left bare so guests can marvel at the craftsmanship gone into Banasura Hill Resort, while bamboo furnishings enhance the natural look and feel.
The resort also has a rejuvenating Ayurvedic spa where guests can experience massages which make use of traditional herbal preparations and medicated oils. It also has an outdoor pool.
Banasura is committed to sustainable practices throughout its operations including harvesting rainwater, and a biogas plant which recycles organic waste into manure and kitchen fuel.
Banasura Hill Resort is likely to appeal to people of all ages, however it’s nature lovers that are to benefit the most from a stay at the Kerala-based resort given that stunning greenery such as cascading waterfalls, plantations, caves and a national park is “on your doorstep”.
Hotel Taselotzin, located in the Sierra Norte mountain range of Puebla in Mexico, is a sustainable hotel run by indigenous Nahua women.
Taselotzin, which in Nahuatl means “small plant or shoot”, started life as a hotel “with an indigenous heart” in 1995 as a result of the collective effort of the female-led organisation Masehual Siunamej Mosenyolchiacuani (“Indigenous women who support one another”).
Masehual Siunamej Mosenyolchiacuani was originally set up in 1985 to empower women within the community whilst protecting their indigenous heritage and traditions. Created and managed by more than 100 Nahua women of the region, many of whom are crafts people, the aim of the collective was to help indigenous women sell their crafts at fair prices and to improve their quality of life by creating jobs so to limit the number of community members needing to emigrate.
By 1987, the women’s collective realised that it was not enough to obtain income, and so on the advice of a student from the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM), who told the indigenous women that their embroidery could turn profitable beyond their home community of Cuetzalan, the idea of a community-owned hotel arose.
Cuetzalan, nestled in the northern mountains of Puebla, is a small village rich in indigenous history and heritage that is known for its coffee plantations, greenery, cobblestone streets, waterfalls, and caves.
More than 80% of the town’s inhabitants are of Náhuatl origin and live under customs of ancestral community management. These customs are based on conservation and respect towards nature, which have helped prevent the arrival of mining businesses into the area. The remote village has also become popular with conscious travellers looking to experience indigenous customs and traditions.
Hotel Taselotzin – which came about to provide work, preserve culture and halt migrations to big cities and other countries – is preserving the region’s indigenous way of life. Located a 10-minute walk from the city centre of Cuetzalan, Hotel Taselotzin offers basic accomodation decorated simply with Nahua symbols in the 14 bedrooms, a restaurant serving native dishes, traditonal crafts and herbal remedies sold at the hotel, and spa services which include a temazcal sweat lodge and massages.
Rufina Edith Villa, the Nahuatl leader who manages Hotel Taselotzin, said: “In a council meeting we considered this dream [Hotel Taselotzin]. What we wanted was to have our own resources, and not depend on any institution.”
More than 100 indigenous families benefit from the profits of the hotel, which enables indigenous women to be empowered. All profits are distributed among the community members, depending on their participation, during the annual meetings. The crafts are sold under a fair-trade policy and these profits are invested into a fund established to encourage continual product development. In addition, the hotel has its own microcredit system, which is accessible to all members in case of need.
The women say that each room at Hotel Taselotzin and each space is embedded in the pacha mama, the mystical earth mother. The spirit of the pacha mama is said to sip into the rooms, blessing the mountains and Cuetzalan.
Sustainability is a natural part of everything the women’s collective do at Hotel Taselotzin. The hotel participates in composting, and the women also support and partcipate in the conservation of green spaces.
Rufina Edith Villa added: “This place is rooted in nature and our hotel is like a plant, if we do not take care of it, it can wither. It is up to us.”
Hotel Taselotzin does not currently have its own website but rooms can be booked via Booking.com and other online travel companies
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com
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2020 is set to see sustainable travel continue to go mainstream with the rise of “slow travel” and conscious travellers, according to ABTA, the association for travel agents and tour operators.
The rise of “slow travel”, a shift towards electric aviation, and an increased focus by travellers on the environmental and social impacts of travel are among five key travel trends for 2020 highlighted in an ABTA research report.
Holidaymakers are choosing to slow down the tempo and make more genuine connections with local people and cultures on their travels, according to The Travel Trends 2020 report, based on market information and consumer insights collated by ABTA.
“Slow travel” is as much about enjoying the journey as it is the destination, and a less packed itinerary takes the pressure off having to visit all the usual tourist hotspots. With more time in one destination, it can potentially reduce the journey footprint and provide travellers with the chance to support more locally run businesses – resulting in a positive impact on the local economy and community.
Another trend for 2020 forecast by ABTA is a shift towards electric powered aircraft, as advancements in technology and increasing demands for more sustainable modes of travel have made the concept of commercial electric flights a very real prospect for short haul travel. With aviation under increasing pressure to improve its carbon footprint, “the future for electric aircraft looks bright, both for leisure and business travel” the ABTA report states.
With sustainability on the rise and climate change in the spotlight throughout 2019, industry experts are predicting 2020 will be the year of conscious travel.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Sustainability issues are now firmly in the minds of holidaymakers and are a continued thread throughout the report – from cruise industry initiatives to influencing three of our five trends. The travel industry continues to develop plans and initiatives which support local communities, their economies and the environment, so that tourism is a benefit to everyone.”
Other key trends expected to shape holiday choices in 2020, identified by ABTA research, include adopting digital customer service methods and personalised touring.
ABTA also revealed its “12 destinations to watch” which include Basilicata, Chicago and Lake Michigan, Georgia, Grenada, Madrid and its surrounding cities, Morocco, Namibia, South Korea, Singapore, The Netherlands, Uruguay and Vienna.
If you’ve ever dreamt of spending a night surrounded by your favorite cartoons you’re in luck — the Cartoon Network Hotel is (almost) open for business.
The Cartoon Network Hotel, located in Lancaster Pennsylvania, right next to Dutch Wonderland, is now accepting bookings for its June 2020 opening. The resort is just as over-the-top as you might expect from the people that brought you the Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time, Johnny Bravo, and more.
“From the moment you enter the lobby, you’ll realize this is unlike any place your family has stayed before,” the hotel explains on its site.”With our character-themed guest rooms and Dream Suites, it’s like having a sleepover…in a cartoon.
The hotel will feature 165 rooms, an indoor pool, an outdoor water park, a play area, a game room, a cafe where guests can dine with characters, a Cartoon Network store, and more.
“The Cartoon Network Hotel will be unlike any other property in the region,” Rolf Paegert, chief operating officer of Palace Entertainment said in a statement. “Cartoon Network characters and theming will bring the property to life and offer magical, interactive experiences around every turn. This hotel is going to set the standard for guest-focused, themed lodging immersion.”
Beyond the rooms, the Cartoon Network Hotel will also partner with Dutch Wonderland, the amusement park next door, where guests of the hotel receive special admission discounts to the park and its 35 family-friendly rides.
Though the hotel’s precise opening date isn’t set just yet, cartoon fans can start planning their late summer vacations to the park now. Standard rooms start at $289 a night and the hotel’s Dream Suites start at $489 a night.- BY STACEY LEASCA
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For the new 20/21 trend season, Heimtextil doesn’t expect attendees and interior lovers to solely align with a singular trend. Instead, it encourages them to respond to the statement “WHERE I BELONG” and define what it means to them. As the overarching theme for Heimtextil 2020, “WHERE I BELONG” addresses layered identities via five diverse trends determined by Heimtextil and the Trend Council participants.
Identity was a recurring topic around the annual Heimtextil trend table when creating the vision for Heimtextil 20/21. Questions surrounding tolerance and curiosity raised bigger conversations on gender and cultural diversity. The notion of identity is shifting. How individuals self-identify today is forged by experiences that take place simultaneously, on different levels. Locally, nationally, globally, both online and offline.
Identity, therefore, can consist of many different layers. In fact, we all have multi-layered identities. Identity today is curated, and individuals are reinventing their environments to reflect this. In 2020, multi-layered identities are being embraced.
Engaging the multi-faceted self doesn’t necessarily mean aligning with one singular trend. Instead, it’s about taking the parts which you see yourself reflected in, meaning each trend has the potential to connect with audiences simultaneously, despite the unique differences of each. “Maximum Glam” turns the glamorous life tech-savvy, while “Pure Spiritual finds balance in nature and mysticism. “Active Urban” values utilitarian, adaptable solutions, where “Heritage Lux” celebrates rich, historical legacies. Meanwhile, “Multi-Local” embraces global cultural influences for good.
Heimtextil aims to create a world in which everyone can see themselves reflected in. In January 2020, it’s up to all Heimtextil visitors to define where they and their target customers belong. By Edda Simon
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