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News announcement12 June 2024Directorate-General for Environment3 min read

Bringing sustainable tourism into the spotlight: the EU Ecolabel for tourist accommodation

Trustworthy, inspiring, sustainable, creating change: these are the words the audience associated with the EU Ecolabel in the latest webinar, ‘Bring tourist accommodation into the green spotlight with the EU Ecolabel’. The webinar united key players in the industry, showcased inspiring success stories and the positive impact the EU Ecolabel is playing in the future of tourism.  

Being the first hotel in your country to be certified with the EU Ecolabel is a big deal and both the Hotel Fevery, Belgium and the Best Western Hotel Moran, Czechia have reaped the benefits since being certified in 2009 and 2023 respectively. They sought the EU Ecolabel following the introduction of sustainable initiatives such as climate friendly renovations, free filtered water and no single-use plastic.  

“The EU Ecolabel has brought about cost savings; our new heating system consumes 30% less energy, 50% of our electricity is from renewable energy sources, and with water saving devices we have reduced annual water consumption by almost 50%. We also don’t use single use plastics and over 90% of our lights are energy efficient,” said Gabriela Prachařová, Hotel Director at the Best Western Hotel Moran. 

While Paul Asselman, Owner and Manager of Hotel Fevery noted, “30% of our guests chose our hotel based on our certification, while 50% actively participate in sustainable activities (e.g. changing towels less frequently).” 

Both sought to not only reduce energy, waste and water, but educate staff in sustainable practices, grow their own produce, provide ‘eco-tips’ to their customers. Their efforts have been rewarded through the media and increased visibility on booking portals, but also increased demand from companies that are subject to ESG reporting – Gabriela said. 

Both panellists found the application process went smoothly. Whilst there are a lot of criteria to comply with, they both received support from their National Competent Body and succeeded in attaining the EU Ecolabel, despite being both ends of the spectrum: one international hotel business and one small, independent hotel.  

Appeal to sustainable travellers with environmental excellence

The EU Ecolabel has been the EU’s voluntary label for environmental excellence since 1992, awarded to high quality goods and services with top environmental performance. Known to be reliable and trustworthy thanks its third-party verification, multi-criteria, life cycle and scientific approach, the EU Ecolabel empowers sustainable choices, allowing market actors to take an active part in the transition towards a circular, clean and carbon neutral economy.  

The EU Ecolabel can be awarded to 25 product groups, including tourist accommodation. This group covers hotels, campsites and more, and appeals to conscious travellers who look for accommodation that makes effort to reduce the environmental impact of their activities. It guarantees that accommodation has optimised environmental and waste management, reduced food waste, energy and water consumption, transport emissions and lower consumption of chemicals. 

So far, over 700 tourist accommodations have been awarded the certification, with the majority being in France, Austria and Italy. But efforts are on-going to make these numbers rapidly increasing. A recent Eurobarometer poll demonstrated that the awareness of the EU Ecolabel is rising amongst Europeans, good news for the accommodations making the effort to go for such a best-in class label. 

Big industry names embracing the EU Ecolabel  

It’s not just individual tourist accommodations exploring the EU Ecolabel. Key players in the tourism industry such as HOTREC, and spoke of their green journey and goals of meeting the demands of travellers who are increasingly looking for sustainable options. 

They all noted the importance of sharing information about the EU Ecolabel with customers, for instance adding a sustainable badge on an accommodation’s page, to make it easier for them to choose sustainable travel options. Additionally, they see the benefit of promoting a reliable label such as the EU Ecolabel, already compliant with the new Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition and the upcoming Green Claims Directives which seek to prevent greenwashing and false claims on sustainability.  

Watch the webinar recording if you couldn’t attend live and read through the presentations. For more information, visit the EU Ecolabel website.

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Publication date
12 June 2024
Directorate-General for Environment

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