Independent Hostels UK (IHUK) has teamed up with the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) in celebration of Green Tourism Week, which is taking place from 4-10th November. Businesses with a Green Tourism Business Award will be highlighted on the Independent Hostel Guide website and in the 2014 guide. In addition, businesses with an eco outlook will be encouraged to consider applying for a GTBS grading.

Green Tourism Business Awards are divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold grades which are based on a combination of visits from the scheme and information provided by the businesses. Approximately 20 of the bunkhouses, hostels and camping barns in the Independent Hostel Guide already hold a Green Tourism Business Award, with a large number of other accommodation providers striving to make their businesses are as sustainable as possible.

Deepdale Camping Barn and Backpackers in Norfolk has achieved a Green Tourism Business Award in the Gold category. Andrea Bramall says: “Developing the business in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly manner wasn’t politically motivated or a marketing ploy – it was simply the most natural way to develop the business. Practices started and used at home, everyday, were adopted and now are practiced on a much larger scale. We work closely with other businesses around us to try and further this ethos to the same agenda – keeping the area we all live in as beautiful as possible.”

IHUK is hoping to encourage more hostel owners to go green, and will be hosting an eco hostel session at its first Independent Hostels conference on 12th November, which will be attended by representatives from the GTBS. Alice Lockett at IHUK says: “The network office has applied for the GTBS scheme, and we hope that many of our members will consider doing the same in an effort to help protect the local and worldwide environment.”