Virtual Hotel Room Teaches Tourists and Hotel Owners about Sustainability

27 April 2011

Tourism entrepreneurs and travelers who want to explore tourism that benefits local communities, respects cultural diversity and contributes to conservation should take a tour of the virtual SmartLodge.

Developed by the Rainforest Alliance, an international sustainability organization, the SmartLodge is an interactive hotel room packed with practical advice on the simple steps that tourism companies and travelers can take to advance toward sustainability.

“The SmartLodge is the perfect complement to the training and technical assistance that the Rainforest Alliance already provides tourism businesses,” said Ronald Sanabria, the Rainforest Alliance’s vice president of sustainable tourism. “It’s a tool that is accessible to all and we hope that travelers and tourism businesses choose to take advantage of it."

Located near a national park, the virtual SmartLodge is surrounded by a wealth of nature and overlooks an active volcano. By clicking on objects in the hotel room, such as a lamp or a rubbish bin, users can watch short videos or read about how sustainable tourism benefits biodiversity and communities.

"When developing the content, we worked to identify areas where business owners and tourists could both make a difference," explained Sanabria.

The SmartLodge was created with support from the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund. It joins two comparable virtual tools on the Rainforest Alliance website: the SmartFarm and the SmartHouse, which introduce users to the people and processes behind sustainable farming and forestry.