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The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), Digital Traveler ~ Asia Pacific eNewsletter, June 2006

www.ecotourism.org

Ecolodge Guidelines for Japan


By Masaru Takayama, Director, Japan Ecolodge Association

The Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA) (www.ecolodge.gr.jp) released the first Ecolodge
Guidelines developed specifically for Japan on June 18, 2006 at its annual general meeting in
Kyoto. The tourism ambassador to the city of Kyoto joined ECOLA members and Board of
Directors to celebrate the launch of the guidelines.

The Ecolodge Guidelines comprise of a checklist of 110 items, covering six categories
(Environmental Sustainability; Food and Beverage; Reduction of Wastes and Recycling; Saving
Energy and Water; Green Purchasing; and Environmental Conservation). The first five categories
comply with the Green Purchase Network's Guidelines for Hotels and Inns
(www.gpn.jp/English/guidlines/GL15.html).

Founder and Executive Director of ECOLA, Masaru Takayama, foresaw the need for ecolodge
guidelines for the Japanese market as the demand for high quality responsible travel and
accommodation is growing in the domestic market. “Japanese have been guilty, in general, of
developing nature lodges and resorts at the cost of the surrounding environment,” he comments,
“It’s about time we revisited our tradition and cultural heritage that cherish nature – like a Buddha
image in a temple, we should praise nature at a distance, and only approach closely in a properly
respectful and thoughtful manner”

Development of the ECOLA Ecolodge Guidelines began in 2003 with input from stakeholders of
various disciplines and walks of life who supported the concept – from ecolodges owners to
ecotourism consultants, energy conservation experts, ISO specialists, GIS experts, outdoor
photographers, a web-designer and engineer, a green purchasing expert, a temple carpenter and an
organic farmer. A draft of the Guidelines was sent out for public comment, and finalized in April
this year.

The Guidelines are designed for small- and medium-sized accommodations located in natural
areas with either in-house or local professional ecotour guides showcasing the natural attractions
around the lodge and providing interpretation about the lodge’s best practices and information on
how to implement or improve sustainability initiatives.

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The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), Digital Traveler ~ Asia Pacific eNewsletter, June 2006
www.ecotourism.org

It is hoped that the Guidelines will be picked up and supported by local tourism offices or
regional ecotourism associations to complement other sustainability or conservation initiatives.
The Shiretoko World Heritage Site in Hokkaido, the northern-most of the main islands of Japan,
is considering the implementation of the ECOLA Guidelines to support their program.

The Ecolodge Guidelines can be viewed and downloaded at the ECOLA website. The
Association is currently in the process of upgrading the website in order to enable ecolodge
owners to analyze their sustainability performance and submit information online. ECOLA
expects to launch its new website (www.japan-ecolodge.org) by this fall.

For more information on ECOLA and its Ecolodge Guidelines, please contact:

Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA)


Casa Verde Takatsuji 901
329 Kotsuya-cho, Shomogyo-ku,
Kyoto 6008425 JAPAN
Email: info@ecolodge.gr.jp
Website: www.ecolodge.gr.jp