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Green Tourism is Sustainable Tourism…

… tourism which takes into account the needs of the environment, local residents, businesses, and visitors; now and in the future.

In 2011 Green Tourism Hotels on average achieved an Excellent rating against the International Tourism Partnerships Benchmarks (as published in Environmental Management for Hotels third edition 2008).

Following this achievement Green Tourism has now prepared a set of Industry Benchmarks (Poor, Fair, Good and Excellent) for all our members to focus on achieving a net zero carbon impact per room night and zero kWh/square metre. This may be achieved through the use of robust green energy supplies, use of renewable fuels and biomass as well as achieving effective efficiency savings through building improvements, awareness and controls.

These benchmarks are now available through the Green Tourism Carbon Calculator which is exclusively available to Green Tourism members.

We all realise that tackling our carbon footprint is the challenge of our generation, but once we can achieve this in the hospitality and tourism sectors it will transform our society for the better.
Green Tourism’s next objective is to achieve a million tonne carbon saving per annum within the next 5 years compared to a 2010 baseline. Green Tourism businesses represent the best businesses in the world and we are keen to develop positive relations with other leading businesses and initiatives to achieve our goals.

Green Tourism has been collecting data for over 15 years.

The main information is collected qualitatively through the assessments when the assessors record information on practical actions undertaken by the businesses such as LED lighting, recycling and green purchasing.

Businesses are scored against a set of more than 140 criteria or indicators representing good practices in sustainable development. The business must take action on 60 which are scored and these vary from fair trade purchases to creating habitats or renewable energy. The criteria are explained more fully here.  In order to achieve an award every business must be able to demonstrate positive actions and work to continuously improve their performance against these standards.

Over recent years we have been collecting more information on carbon use related to fuels for heating, cooling and lighting. Green Tourism businesses have little control of how people travel to their destination and can only encourage visitors to think about greener travel once they have arrived.

Over the last 5 years we have extended green tourism to cover transport providers and tours such as walking tours, cycle hire, boat operators and experiences.

Green Tourism’s Carbon Footprint*

“In 2011 Green Tourism Hotels achieved an EXCELLENT rating against the International Tourism Partnerships Benchmarks as published in Environmental Management for Hotels third edition (2008). This demonstrates the on-going continuous improvement required for Green Tourism membership as well as the overall high level of achievement across all levels of the Green Tourism Award. “

*The Carbon Footprint figures are based upon annual performance figures requested from all Green Tourism sites. The figures represent the carbon dioxide emissions based upon fuel used for heating lighting and appliances and not indirect emissions such as transport used by the business or carbon dioxide associated with the supply chain such as food miles etc.  We use the UK Government’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs annual figures for carbon conversion once they are published.

Note: These carbon figures are not directly comparable year to year.  As Green Tourism grows so the stock of properties changes. One change from 2008 to 2012 is the growth of hotels particularly those with leisure and other additional facilities. We believe these carbon figures represent an excellent achievement by our businesses. This sets Green Tourism as a leader and a world class certification programme.

Most recently we have been monitoring Green Tourism businesses’ energy consumption and comparing it with previous years.

Kg CO2 per Bed night








Guest House




Bed and Breakfasts








Holiday Park




Self -Catering





Kg CO2 per Visitor




Conference Venue








In a comparison with Benchmark figures for 2010-11 for US hotels the average kgCO2 for an average hotel was 29.53 kgCO2/room night and an upmarket hotel was 33.38 kgCO2/room night.

Green Tourism hotels achieved a 11-21% reduction on these figures. Also an International Hotel Chain recently reported its Carbon Dioxide figures as 59 kg CO2/overnight. 

Historical Benchmarks focus on kWh rather than carbon and therefore eliminate complexity related to carbon conversion factors.

International Tourism Partnership (ITP)

Since 2012 Green Tourism has been developing its relationship with the ITP (part of the International Business Leaders Forum) the organisation which produces the GREEN HOTELIER magazine.

The ITP has prepared energy benchmarks for a hotel in a temperate climate as indicated in the table below

KWh Consumption / Bedroom
Electricity Gas/other Total












In 2010 Green Tourism Hotels achieved a Satisfactory/High rating.

In 2011 Green Tourism Hotels achieved an EXCELLENT rating against the HCMI standard

Going forward Green Tourism have agreed to adopt the International Tourism Partnerships Hotel Carbon Management Initiative and will record kWh and CO2 as they relate per room rather than per overnight. Green Tourism will contribute to the ITP’s objectives of establishing a simple, fair and transparent method for recording and presenting carbon achievements in the hospitality industry.

Chartered Institute of building  Service Engineers (CIBSE)

CIBSE produce an energy performance yardstick for differing sizes of accommodation providers as shown in  this table

CIBSE energy performance yardsticks (kWh/m2/yr)
Good Fair Poor
Small hotels & guest house < 240 240-330 > 330
Medium size hotels < 310 310-420 > 420
Large Hotels < 290 290-420 > 420

In comparison with CIBSE yardsticks Green Tourism properties rate as FAIR in 2010 and had improved to GOOD in 2011 see table below

Green Tourism Businesses – KWh/m2 / yr






Guest House



Bed and Breakfasts