The issue of sustainable travel refers to tourism that minimizes the negative effects of travel and is beneficial to the area in which it occurs and takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities. As a popular nature destination Hotel Húsafell has integrated sustainability into the core of its business.
Sustainability is an extremely important issue to us at Hotel Húsafell. We want to draw further attention to that issue in the travel industry, in hope of being able to contribute to this important and urgent social matter. Why? Because we know that together we can drive transformative change for people where more destinations and travellers play an ever more vital role in protecting our fragile environment.
Tourist destinations and hoteliers alike can integrate sustainability into their daily operations and by doing so they can contribute to environmental conservation and promote development in the places they operate. But if hoteliers employ unethical practices, they will be detrimental to people, environment, and cultural resources that their success depends on.
When it comes to the issue of sustainable travel, it refers to tourism that minimizes the negative effects of travel and is beneficial to the area in which it occurs and takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.
Through this article we would like to focus on sustainable travel and how you as a traveller can make a great impact by considering a few simple waypoints.
It is important to travel in a sustainable and socially responsible way. We believe that travel is a privilege and therefore should not be treated as a commodity. We also know there is more to travel than meets the eye, and with travelling comes the responsibility to preserve and protect the environment we choose to visit so people can continue to enjoy it for years to come.
Exploring a new destination and immersing in different cultures can be a life-altering experience. But how people choose to travel and the choices they make can affect the people and places they visit.
When people travel without care or concern, they can easily cause irreparable damage to the environment they visit, but for this to change, people must be responsible and conscious in the way they travel. When travellers are conscious towards their actions it encourages them to look at their travel in a more holistic way which requires them to have a clear reason for travel, to examine and understand its impact and to actively choose to explore the world in a meaningful, intentional way.
So, being responsible and conscious is the future in the travel industry, in our view at least!
One of the benefits of sustainable travelling is that people are becoming more aware of its actions and of what carbon footprint they have. If people aspire to become sustainable travellers, it is important to educate yourself before going on to a perhaps long-awaited vacation. It's a good opportunity to find out exactly how companies operate and what your hard-earned money contributes to.
Travel brings people close to some of the world’s most stunning and extraordinary natural wonders and connects people with cultures around the world. Travel also has a great power to change places and the lives of the people who live there, in both positive and negative ways.
By sustainable travelling you can maintain tourism and at the same time avoid harm to the natural resources at your dreamy off-beat destination. It minimizes the negative impact of tourism and benefits the area where you travel, by travelling responsibly.
So, seek out authentic experiences, form genuine connections with the locals, and discover new places without negatively impacting them. Here are seven simple steps you can take to minimise your impact and maximise the social aspect of your trip:
1. Choose eco-friendly accommodations: There are a number of places you can stay at. Try looking for hotels that are environmentally friendly where renewable energy is used, water is conserved and waste reduced and recycled.
2. Adapt to local cultures and customs: It normally pays to adapt to the local customs and traditions of the places you are visiting because that we one is more respectful of them. Be mindful of the impact of your actions on the local community and participate in whatever you find is interesting and positive.
3. Support local businesses: Try out locally made products and eat at local restaurants to support the local economy.
4. Try to reduce your carbon footprint by offsetting it.
5. Minimize waste: Bring a reusable water bottle, reduce your use of disposable plastics, and dispose of your waste responsibly and take great care not to leave anything behind anywhere in nature. Should you see something in the wild that is not supposed to be there, pick it up and bring it back for recycling.
6. Protect wildlife: We don‘t have many wild animals in Iceland apart from birds but still, we try to avoid activities that harm wildlife and this is especially important because vegetation in Iceland is really sensitive. Be careful where you step.
7. Give back: Consider volunteering or donating to local charities or organizations that support the local community.
This helps us all to make a positive impact!
One of the first things people do when they are planning to travel is to find out where to stay and we know there is a wide range of accommodation options and there is something for everyone and every budget level, even in Iceland. But what kind of accommodation do people want? What options are available especially for those who want to develop more sustainable habits in their lives?
The fact is that no matter where people choose to travel, they will always be able to find eco-friendly choices to choose from, and by that choice people are able to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint and keep their conscience greener. There will be a multitude of sustainable attractions and stays no matter where you want to visit, and they are probably especially abundant in Iceland because we use renewable energy so widely.
Hotel Húsafell is a sustainable accommodation and the first hotel in the Nordic countries to make the National Geographic list of Unique Lodges of the world, which is comprised of 57 hotels the world over. All the lodges must meet certain standards of environmental friendliness and sustainability. Hotel Húsafell is therefore a proud member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World among an exclusive group of world-class properties that are committed to sustainability, authenticity, and excellence in service. Located in remote places around the world, these 57 distinguished properties offer sophisticated travellers intimate experiences with the local culture and natural environment.
We always want to make every effort to do better for the people and the environment by giving them sustainable and eco-friendly choices throughout activities and attractions. So, it could be said that us at Hotel Húsafell consider ourselves to be both aware and conscious!
We have thermal spring water bubbling up through lava landscapes that creates much of the energy used during our operations and therefore we have built three hydroelectric power plants to capture the power of heat and water generated by nature, and the hotel derives 100% of its energy from these natural, on-site sources. We have also integrated several sustainable activities and attractions in the natural environment surrounding our hotel, which is simply something that is as unique as it can get.
There are also other sustainable tourism features at Hotel Húsafell:
• Sustainable design and contemporary Icelandic furnishings
• Guestrooms with original art by renowned local artist Páll Guðmundsson
• Organic bath amenities made from Icelandic herbs
• 9-hole GEO-certified sustainable golf course
• Geothermal nature baths and a unique float therapy system
• Fine dining with an emphasis on local seafood, wild game, and seasonal produce
• New recycling program established with the local municipality
• Sustainability leadership by example in the community
• Local volcanic rock reused as construction materials and decorative features
• Managed and staffed by people from the surrounding area
In general, and just like us at Hotel Húsafell, the Icelandic people are very conscious of the environment, climate change and sustainability since tourism is a growing business in Iceland. Therefore, we consider it to be urgent to encourage travellers to be conscious and travel sustainably.
It is also a fact that Icelandic nature is very fragile, and so are the small communities and economy. By integrating sustainability into your travel plans you could be the key and a part of the solution to the global and local welfare of ecosystems, cultures, and communities.
As has been said, sustainability is a serious matter, but it doesn’t mean we have to stop having fun or enjoying life while travelling. We just must be more aware and conscious!
And as has been written in this article there are some great benefits of sustainable travelling you should consider and we encourage you to be a part of our sustainable solution and help us to do better for the greater good by discovering the world in an eco-friendly way!