Greenies Shudder as Big Biz Embraces EcoTravel

Environmental groups hammer out standard for 'sustainable living'
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2008 3:59 PM CDT
Resting 11 stories above Chicago's busy Loop district, the new KN Tranquility Suite offers travelers a plush, comfort-inspired oasis with eco-friendly bamboo sheets and in-room water fountain for just...   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Ecofriendly travelers once camped outdoors and foraged for food, but today a hotel in Times Square can claim it's as green as a lodge in the Costa Rican rain forest, Anna Kuchment writes in Newsweek. In other words, eco-vacationing has gone big business, and environmental advocates fear the notion is being diluted. "A lot of people want to use terms like 'ecotourism,' because it's cool and hip now," one expert said.

A gaggle of some 20 environmental groups is planning to define "sustainable tourism" for the world, emphasizing the importance of local culture and community. One good example: a Toronto hotel chain that donates linens to soup kitchens, and breeds 10,000 bees on its rooftop. One bad: a hotel that leaves sheets and towels unwashed, claiming it's all to help better the planet.