A green guide for glampsites from Green Tourism, the world’s largest sustainable tourism certification programme.
A growing number of UK holidaymakers consider supporting sustainable tourism when choosing a holiday destination. According to the latest report from World Travel Market, almost 40% see it as an important factor when choosing where to spend their hard earned cash, and glamping can be a truly sustainable experience, with minimal carbon footprint compared to traditional serviced accommodation.
Reduced energy costs, improved customer proposition and playing a part in protecting the planet all create a compelling case for an environmentally friendly approach for a glamping business.
As the go-to standard in sustainability across the UK within the hospitality and tourism industry, Green Tourism has vast experience in supporting businesses on their sustainable mission. With its help, a campsite or glamping destination can become truly green. It provides a comprehensive framework for managing green operations, based on a rating of bronze, silver or gold, depending on how far a site is on its green journey. Plus, it’s not just expertise in meeting sustainable standards that Green Tourism brings; by becoming an accredited Green Tourism business, the organisation will provide valuable marketing support to connect consumers with accredited businesses.
Sustainable tourism is about tourists visiting somewhere and attempting to make only a positive impact on the environment, society and economy. A Green Tourism award allows the consumer to make a clear ethical and responsible decision about where to holiday, stay or visit.
Camping and glamping sites are naturally more sustainable businesses than traditionally serviced accommodation, and therefore have some redeeming green features, but being accredited by Green Tourism means thinking about sustainability throughout the entire business – from investing in renewables to reusing materials, focussing on nature, reducing costs and minimising fossil fuels. Consider how you can ensure you are ‘future proofed’ too, from good site planning (to avoid floods etc) to lowering energy bills and building good community relations.
This Green Tourism guide to glamping will focus on what makes a great ‘green’ site and offer suggestions on how you can develop your glamping site to meet the required green credentials, with examples from top sites around the UK that have achieved a silver or gold accreditation with Green Tourism.
1 Be a real green leader
Go the extra mile when it comes to being green; it’s not just about water use and carbon emissions, it’s about appealing to new consumers and making their experience the best it can be. Forest Holidays – with five gold and five silver rated destinations across the UK – has an excellent green ethos in place. It monitors a wide range of elements, from the fuel used in vehicles (allowing them to keep costs and fuel emissions to a minimum), to the species seen on site including insects and birds. This nature register allows it to highlight the richness of the natural surrounding area and has helped develop its nature activities for families.
2 Be water wise
It’s easy to reduce your water usage and it not only helps the planet, it also reduces the bills! Embers Camping, a gold accredited site in Hampshire, is an excellent example for businesses to follow. It has invested in low flow taps and showers, urinals with an eco-filter and toilets that have an eco-flush fitting. This saves on water use and helps to reduce bills. If you want to take it to the next level, consider compost toilets; Cosy Under Canvas, a gold accredited site in Kington in Wales, now has tree bogs, a novel natural compost loo using willows.
3 Be an energy saver
From solar panels to wood burning ovens and LED lighting, there are many ways you can save energy at your site. The Secret Yurts, in Powys, Wales, is an excellent off grid site that uses LED lighting throughout to save on energy demands and lower its carbon footprint. This silver accredited site uses a 4.5kW PV array and ground source heat pumps. Making a long-term investment in renewable energy and capital gains, the gold accredited site at Bloomfield Camping installed 12 solar PV panels on site to minimise its carbon footprint. Contributing to its silver and gold ratings, Forest Holidays invested in the latest A-rated appliances on site, including boilers, fridges and washing machines. If investing in new appliances, it is worth knowing that A+ appliances are now available and may save a further 20% energy compared to A rated units.
4 Be a local hero
Source as much as you can for your site from local suppliers – ideally within a 50 mile radius – whether it’s food and drink, wood or event craftsmen. You can increase your green rating by supporting local businesses. Bloomfield Camping, a gold rated site in Dorset, provides each pitch with a box of growing herbs to use for cooking. It’s not just suppliers though; you can also team up with local attractions and develop reciprocal agreements to appeal to campers. Working with local businesses, such as restaurants and attractions, will help to bring tourists into the area and can provide significant local benefits to all involved, including your site.
5 Make a home for nature
Look after the area surrounding your glamping site – Cosy Under Canvas, another gold accredited site, planted 100 trees in the year it joined Green Tourism as well as creating nesting boxes for kestrels, owls and bats. This not only gives back to nature but also provides an extra attraction for visitors and guests to enjoy when staying at your site.
6 Minimise your waste
As well as recycling waste, find innovative ways to reuse materials. With a creative mind this can set you apart and attract future customers. Meadow Keepers and Woodcutters Cottage, gold accredited accommodation in Sussex, are examples of creative recycling done well. The cottages were built with wheels by local craftsmen using local wood, and were featured on Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces.
7 Live the green dream
Provide your customers with everything they need to live a sustainable life during their stay, including activities they can enjoy in the surrounding area. Swallowtail Hill, an off-grid gold accredited glamping site in East Sussex with an incredibly small carbon footprint, is a supporter of all things sustainable, from organic cotton sheets and furnishings to using local suppliers, farmers and home grown produce. The gold accredited Jollydays Camping offers a range of activities, from the Bush Babies forest school to broomstick making and bat walks, while Cosy Under Canvas has wood fired hot tubs together with a star chart and telescope so customers can enjoy a night under the stars.
8 Bank on sustainability
Invest in a positive future. Ensure your money works to support sustainable development not undermine it. This means investing with like-minded banks that invest in areas like renewables such as Triodos Bank, as used by Bloomfield Camping.
With nearly 20 years’ experience in sustainability, Green Tourism has seen the changing landscape of sustainability within the hospitality industry, but one thing has stayed the same – the overall effect it has on the planet. The ambition for the future of Green Tourism is to continue meeting the demands of sustainability, helping businesses save money and save the planet.
Green Tourism is a not-for-profit organisation, established in 1997. With more than 2,000 members across the UK, Ireland, Italy, Canada and Zimbabwe, it is the largest and most established sustainable tourism certification programme in the world.
To find out more about Green Tourism and Green Tourism accredited businesses visit www.green-tourism.com. All the businesses featured in this article are Green Tourism members within the UK. They all welcome visitors and would be happy to share their experiences.
CASE STUDY: The Secret Yurts
07733 282 639
Tracey Phillips explains how she and her husband have made glamping at The Secret Yurts a truly sustainable experience.
Living where we do, surrounded by rolling Welsh hills, we are conscious that our luxury holiday yurts also have to strive towards becoming an eco-masterpiece. To do this we decided to pair innovation with good old fashioned nature.
No fossil fuels are burnt here, all heating and hot water is provided through ground source heating and solar panels. We have installed a rainwater harvesting system, which provides water for the toilets, washing machine, outside plants and cleaning wellies. All our firewood comes from sustainable sources and is provided for during our guests’ stay at no extra charge.
Our innovative eco-showerheads are designed to use a mix of air and water from the mains water supply; a full rainwater shower experience, while using only half the amount of the water – that’s rain power!
The hot tub is environmentally friendly too. It uses an Energy Smart system, which makes it highly efficient, and a water care system, which decreases the need for chemicals, making it friendlier to the environment. Each time the spa water is changed, it can be reused for outdoor cleaning or irrigation (we have an extensive area to water!). The spa water can also be recycled into the rainwater-harvesting tank for flushing toilets and the like.
Encouraging all guests to recycle, we have provided some recycling bins housed in a very smart, purpose-built unit located just outside the kitchen for convenience.
We also offer a ‘car free’ option and can arrange pick-ups and drop-offs to and from Welshpool train station. Guests can then choose to explore the area either on foot or by bike (bike hire available from Brooks Cycle’s in Welshpool), cruise the Montgomery Canal or ride Llanfair light railway.
Finally, bird and insect boxes have been placed all along our woodland walk to attract and support the local wildlife, and hundreds of bluebells have been planted along with other wild flowers too.