A new kid in town: Rhodes' Melenos Lindos hotel achieves first GSTC eco-label certificate

July 4th, 2017. The Rhodes’ Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites became the first hotel in the world to be awarded the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) certificate. Owner Michalis Melenos, spent 13 years creating the hotel to look like a “small village” within Lindos. He used a local architect to design the hotel and worked with artists to create the hotel’s traditional mosaics and artwork “ At the Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites they staff members grow in their private garden and orchard, where staff members grow fruits and vegetables that are used in the hotel restaurant. It also has a linen re-use initiative to reduce water consumption and a recycled waste program. “Melenos Lindos has been an incredibly positive influence on our community,” said Dimitra Adoniou, a Lindos community representative. “Not only does it blend into the existing infrastructure, but it also employs our community members and purchases from Lindian suppliers.” Read more

Bookdifferent at sustainable tourism conference in Malta

May 26th, 2017. Winner of the EMAS award in the category “Large organisations” is the Belgian hotel chain Martin’s Hotels. You’ll get better service at an eco-hotel - Gaëlle Mourlon Beernaert, the sustainability director of Martin’s Hotels, cites staff motivation as an added value of going green. “Using EMAS also provides encouragement to our employees, who are very involved,” she says. This is inline with a EU study that eco certified organisations experience improved empowerment and motivation of their staff. And more motivated staff means more dedicated attention and service to guests. A win-win we sould say! Read more

How the image of a beautiful sunrise outline of Angkor Wat changed the life of Meg and Ryan

January 14th, 2016. At the time, Meg and Ryan were both working professional jobs, not unhappy, but also not truly happy. At one point they decided to change their lives and live their dreams. With their combined experience in the travel sector and education in sustainable development, they set out to create the only complete resource to the best sustainable travel experiences around the world, Cohica Travel was born. Meg and Ryan give you inspiring insights and great tips about the most innovative and socially responsible hotels, restaurants, and activities in the world. Read more

What you can do with two hands is easy

January 21st, 2015. Imagine a bright blue sky, the sound of waves quietly lapping at the shore and you far away from home lying on a white sandy beach, with on the right of you an empty packet of Doritos, 2 cans and 6 plastic bottles and on the left half a pallet, a couple of chocolate wrappers and one fractured flip-flop. Not so idyllic anymore, this picture, is it? Read more

An uncommon story about one man and a myriad of common stingrays!

January 7th, 2015. We all want to be green and protect our environment which is why you walk to the supermarket, eat sea-bass not bream and haven’t bought plastic bottles since you’ve seen pictures of the Pacific Trash Vortex. Read more

Jam, Beer, and Topiary: the Many Joys of Durbuy, Belgium

November 12th, 2014. Often described as the "smallest city in the world", Durbuy, in the Walloon region of Belgium, is a magical medieval town that indulges in the pleasures of traditional Belgian food, drink and culture. The recent recipient of an award honoring its efforts in sustainable tourism, this fairy-tale spot is nestled within the lush greenery of the Ardennes mountain range and presided over by the Durbuy Castle, a confection of a building fit for Prince Charming. Read more

New WWF Initiative Protects Ocean Hotspots

May 7th, 2014. Just like fishers, divers, sushi-lovers and sailors the world over, the World Wide Fund for Nature knows the importance of our oceans, and wants to see them protected and managed responsibly for decades to come. This year, WWF Netherlands, along with many other national WWF offices, is renewing its focus on the Coral Triangle in Southeast Asia, along with the North Sea and the coral reefs of the Caribbean. Read on to learn more about the importance of the planet's oceans, the ways WWF is planning to save the last great hotspots of marine diversity, and how sustainable tourism can help out. Read more

Dubrovnik: well worth the wait!

April 10th, 2014. What sets Dubrovnik apart from all other seaside gems along the Adriatic coast (including Venice) is its location and perfectly preserved (or rather restored) Medieval walls. The town sits atop a promontory and is completely enveloped by 2km long, all-encompassing fortifications. This makes Dubrovnik a superbly stunning city on the inside and on the outside. Read more

Conquering the Matterhorn in the 21st Century

February 10th, 2014. When it comes to picture-perfect mountain villages, there are very few in the world which could compete with the northern Swiss village of Zermatt. Framed by no less than 29 head-spinning mountains of over 4,000m in altitude, and cradled deep within a rugged gorge, this centuries old town is achingly beautiful...and that’s no exaggeration. Read more

Nashville for Music Lovers

January 27th, 2014. A trip to Nashville has something for everyone. History buffs can visit antebellum plantations and Civil War battlefields. Foodies can indulge in world-famous barbecue and pancakes. Nature lovers can drive (or bike) the Natchez Trace or nearby Smokey Mountains. But most people, of course, come for the music. Read more

Make the Most of Three Days in Venice

January 6th, 2014. The hardest thing about writing a piece on Venice is finding synonyms for "beautiful". There aren't enough, just like there aren't enough days in the year to see all Venice has to offer. Because most visitors squeeze Venice into three days between Rome and Florence, here are some suggestions for making the most of your time. Read more

Behind the Ratings: 'Fair Trade Tourism' in South Africa

December 16th, 2013. Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) is a non-profit organisation that promotes responsible tourism in South Africa and beyond. One of the many eco-labels we use to rank BookDifferent accommodations, FTT ensures that its members give back to local communities through fair working conditions and a respect for human rights and the environment. We recently asked Emilie Hagedoorn, sales manager of FTT, about her organization's evaluation criteria and her thoughts on sustainable travel. Read more

Top Five Hill Towns in Tuscany

December 2nd, 2013. We’ve compiled a list of five of the most pristine and picturesque hill towns to visit, whether it is your first or fiftieth trip to Tuscany. All of them can be seen on day trips from Florence or Siena, but each is also worthy of an overnight stay. Keep in mind that they do require that you have your own transportation; whether that is a car, motorcycle, or bicycle, is up to you. Read more

Surprising and sustainable Lima in Peru has it all!

September 16th, 2016. Peru’s capital and coastal city often gets overshadowed by the popular tourist destinations of Cusco and Machu Picchu. However, as an interesting, modern, and sustainable city, Lima should absolutely be included on every Peru itinerary. Meg and Ryan from Cohica Travel share with you their experiences. Read more

Traveling Soft and Playing Hard in Werfenweng, Austria

January 5th, 2016. Werfenweng is the perfect hideaway for those seeking outdoor adventure in pristine mountain air – all the more pristine, of course, thanks to the town's commitment to soft mobility and a gentler way of life! The ski destination of Werfenweng, Austria, has figured out how to make low-emission transport more fun, friendly and attractive than the fossil-fuel kind. But there's more to Werfenweg than just getting around in sustainable style.. Read more

Gozo, Malta, Where History Meets the Sea

March 12th, 2015. Yet it's not just enchanting architecture that define Gozo, but its natural beauty. Small inlets such as Mġarr ix-Xini and Wied il-Għasri are carved from the sheer seaside cliffs. Crystal-clear water and awe-inspiring rock formations invite swimming, diving, and climbing, or just a long day stretched out in the sun. Gozo the Vista Award winner for sustainable travel, Gozo has its eye on an eco-friendly future. It aims become an “eco-island” by 2020, reducing its carbon footprint and water use, and fostering more sustainable livelihoods and a better standard of living, all without sacrificing the quality of its stunning natural setting Read more

Go for a green night's sleep!

February 19th, 2015. From today on BookDifferent publicizes the carbon emission figures for 591,000 hotels. This is a world first! The carbon footprint of each accommodation is shown by a footprint icon containing the number of kilos CO2 emission per night stayed. Hotels with a green footprint have a low carbon footprint and are therefore a better choice than the hotels with a red one. BookDifferent gives consumers a voice by enabling them to choose to stay in a hotel with a small carbon footprint. Read more

When Being Green is Just Not Enough

January 12th, 2015. I can still picture him today, the man appointed to assess Mazzard Farm for the UK’s main Green Tourism grading scheme, now some 5 years ago: twenty-something, a tad introvert, probably an environmental science degree, and clipboard in hand. Of course he had a clipboard in hand. On it a set of forms, each with endless rows of questions and obligatory check boxes. Questions about the number of light bulbs, shower head flow rates, our recycling habits, whether we grew our own veg, and many more. Had he ticked a sufficient number, he would tell us we had achieved ‘Gold status’, and everyone was happy. Read more

GSTR: A new way to see sustainable destinations

November 21st, 2014. Clearly sustainable tourism is not just about ‘sustainability’. After all, a destination couldn’t be really sustainable without tourists, and tourists won’t come unless they like what they see would they? Although experts can report and grade a destination – it’s tourists that actually make the difference between commercial failure and success. A new sustainable destination tool, the GSTR, aims to fill the gap between what experts think and what tourists want and help destinations create bridges between their sustainable initiatives and the needs and requirements of their visitors. Read more

The "Thirsty Cyclist" Bikes Around the World for Charity

June 19th, 2014. Passionate about cycling and human rights, Ed Sutton has decided to raise money for WaterAid and Street Child of Sierra Leone by tackling the unimaginable: an epic, multi-year cycling trip around the world. Traveling under the moniker the "Thirsty Cyclist", Sutton has biked from his home in the UK to Africa, and will continue on to Asia, Australasia, and the Americas. We recently reached out to Sutton while he was working his way through Malawi, and asked about the challenges, highlights and inspiration for his trip. Read more

Historic Meets Modern in Stunning Stockholm

April 15th, 2014. I found a sunny, colorful, vibrant place that felt like a breath of fresh air. Literally. The air in Stockholm was crisp and unpolluted, and not intolerably cold. Read more

Florence on the tourist trail

March 17th, 2014. I became suspicious that we’d made a mistake when I nearly crashed against the side of Florence’s Duomo. Bugger. I nearly dropped my motorbike there and then from the sheer shock...blimey this thing is huge! I was flabbergasted beyond words and, for a moment, I contemplated taking my camera out to capture this insanely exciting moment. I’m such a tourist, I know! The ear-piercing whistle of a carabiniere soon brought me back to reality. Read more

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Rome in the Off-Season

February 24th, 2014. You can do as the tourists do in summer, or do as the Romans do in winter. Rome sees half of the visitors from October to March as it does in the summer, so there are plenty of reasons to visit in the off-season. Some are obvious, some are surprising, and all are legitimate. This is a list of ten of the best incentives to visit Rome when there is a little nip in the air. Read more

The Weirdest Museums Around the World

February 5th, 2014. Some museums entice visitors with awe-inspiring history or the great masterworks of civilization. Others have dried whale wieners. From parasites in Tokyo to bad art in Boston, here’s our top seven picks for the world’s weirdest museums. Read more

Liechtenstein: more than fake teeth and wurst!

January 24th, 2014. To be completely honest, adding Liechtenstein to the list of countries to visit on our Germany to Australia motorbike trip was more of a box-ticking activity than anything else. I do admit to being somewhat ignorant of the place; although I had read somewhere that the country is the world’s largest producer of dentures and sausage skins. Read more

Five Unbelievable Destinations in Belize

January 14th, 2014. An anomaly among its Central American neighbors, Belize is a small, English-speaking nation with a population of only 300,000. The light presence of people means that nature has space to breathe, and breath it does with caves, ruin-dotted rainforests, and the world's second longest barrier reef. Here's our top recommendations for Belize, from laid-back beach towns to Jacques Cousteau's favorite spot to dive. Read more

Five Thrilling Shark Encounters Around the World

December 20th, 2013. Though shark species are in grave condition in most places, there's still a few spots where brave swimmers can spot these majestic creatures in undisturbed habitat. Shark tourism has the added benefit of convincing locals and fishermen that sharks can have more value alive than dead. Below, we've rounded up our top choices for seeing gentle whale sharks, acrobatic great whites, and congregations of hammerheads that number in the thousands. Read more

Five Under-Visited Gems in the Philippines

December 10th, 2013. Off the well-trodden Southeast Asian tourist path, the Philippines are exhilarating, gorgeous and still relatively undiscovered. While this tropical archipelago lacks the world-famous food or gilded temples of its neighbors to the north, it more than makes up for it with astonishing natural beauty and a friendly, English-speaking population. From glittering mountain caves to reefs with unrivaled marine diversity, check out our five recommendations for destinations that are truly off the radar. Read more

Free food?

November 19th, 2013. 'Free food?' Queried the lone Antiopodean of no-one in particular, 'You serious, free food?' Queuing in my orderly British fashion waiting my turn to take my pick from this bountiful Italian spread, I was more than amused by this travellers exclamations – first time in Italy & obviously on a budget. Read more

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