Archive for Inkaterra

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on April 24, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

What a wonderful World Travel & Tourism Council Japan Summit in Sendai & Tokyo, that was! Re-posting this great news from WTTC  first and foremost for Inkaterra, Tourism For Tomorrow Winner and the respective stories of other winners which serve as inspiration and benchmarks in Sustainable Tourism excellence.

Three companies and one destination, from four continents, have been recognised for their best practices in sustainable tourism at this year’s World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The four winners were selected from 12 Award finalists and announced onstage during the opening ceremony of the WTTC Global Summit in Tokyo, Japan on 17 April. The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are among the highest accolades in the Travel & Tourism industry, and recognise companies, organisations and destinations around the world which showcase outstanding sustainable tourism achievements. They are the only global sustainable tourism awards that include on-site evaluation inspections of all finalists, conducted by a team of expert international judges.

WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2012

The 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards winners hail from South America, North America, Europe, and Asia. These diverse set of winners and emerged as victors over 150 entries from more than 60 countries. The winners are:

Saunders Hotel Group.Photo from Saunders website

Community Benefit AwardSaunders Hotel Group, USA: – This local family-owned hotel group has been a leader in sustainable tourism practices as far back as the early 1980s, when they converted an old police building in Boston, Massachusetts into an historic hotel and worked with local community partners to build affordable housing in the same area. Through initiatives that are driven and supported by all levels of their staff, the group supports dozens of local charity and non-profit groups with a combination of financial backing, volunteer time, and in-kind resources that goes far beyond most corporate social responsibility efforts. For Saunders, community service begins at ‘home’, where helping people in need is part of the company mission, recognising that disadvantaged communities can also exist in a major city in the United States.

Inkaterra CEO Jose Koechlin, giving his speech after receiving Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Conservation Award – Inkaterra, Peru: This hotel boasts long term conservation stewardship of 38,000 acres of rainforest in the Amazon basin and 25 acres of cloud forest within the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary. Founded in 1975, Inkaterra has grown into a renowned biodiversity research and conservation tourism company operating five hotels in the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and the Madre de Dios area of the Amazon rainforest. As well as a 100% carbon neutral hotel stay for every guest, Inkaterra has continued to implement a host of self-supported, sustainable tourism projects to facilitate a better understanding among tourists and local peoples about the need to protect fragile habitats in the Andes and the Amazon of Peru, which is home to 84 of the world’s 104 identified ecological life zones.

Roros Norway, WTTC Destination Stewardship Winner

Destination Stewardship Award – Destination Røros, Norway: Their successful multi-stakeholder approach to creating a thriving sustainable tourism destination in the old mining town of Røros, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is an example for many to follow. Since the end of mining in the late 1970’s, Destination Røros has been instrumental in reversing the area’s environmental degradation, guided by a management plan that actively engages and builds cooperation among local communities, municipal authorities, and private sector stakeholders. Emphasis is placed on demonstrating that historical cultural sites and formerly degraded natural areas can be revitalised and utilised in new contexts through sustainable development, thereby bringing tangible economic benefits to the local people. Destination Røros is also a pilot project for Norway’s country-wide Sustainable Tourism Initiative.

Banyan Tree Group, WTTC Global Tourism Business Award winner

Global Tourism Business Award – Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in Singapore: Their longstanding commitment to sustainability and creating tourism value recognition among stakeholders to support the protection of diverse natural and cultural heritage in worldwide destinations ranging from Mexico to China. Banyan Tree works through a three-pillar strategy: enhancing efficiency in environmental operations, conserving natural heritage and biodiversity, and social and economic empowerment of local people in the countries and regions where they operate. In addition to strong sustainable tourism practices, Banyan Tree has also fully integrated sustainability monitoring and evaluation across the company including its annual reports, in addition to issuing annual stand-alone sustainability performance reports that document projects, successes, and challenges. They have successfully done this for more than a decade, while also being one of the first global hospitality companies in the world to ban the sale of shark’s fin in all of their hotels in 2006.

Jose Koechlin Inkaterra CEO receiving Tourism for Tomorrow Awards from WTTC judges

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said: ‘The Awards have been under WTTC’s stewardship for the last nine years. Since then, they have grown in calibre and reach, but the premise is the same: to give international recognition to outstanding examples of sustainable practices, from Travel & Tourism businesses across the globe.’ David continued: ‘All finalists and winners are inspiring cases of businesses providing sustainable solutions to real world problems. These actions espouse the ethos of Tourism for Tomorrow, and demonstrate true leadership in the industry.’

Commenting on their achievements, Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, noted: ‘Sustainable tourism principles are no longer solely the realm of a handful of well-meaning companies. Today, sustainability itself has emerged on the global stage as a new indicator of tourism quality, alongside traditional quality standards such as excellent guest services or a room with a view. What this means is that a measure of a company or tourism destination’s success, is now increasingly tied to their quality of sustainable tourism best practice. This is not a passing trend, but rather a positive and needed evolution of the tourism industry. The winners of this year’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards exemplify how tourism, when planned and managed well, can be a tremendous opportunity to help safeguard our planet and deliver tangible benefits to local people.’ The

Tourism for Tomorrow winners underwent a rigorous four-step judging process by more than 20 independent judges from around the world, led by Costas Christ, a globally recognised expert in sustainable tourism. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organised in association with Travelport and the Travel Corporation’s Conservation Foundation. For further information about the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and the judging process, please visit:


Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific supports the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environment Initiative, with its Sustainable Tourism programs and projects in the Philippines.  Environmental, Social,  Good Governance & Resilience Capacity building programs  & training include Disaster Preparedness & Management for both public and private local stakeholders/proponents. Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working towards green economy for the grass roots, in cooperation with Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and The Clean Blue Asia Pacific. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI.


Ecotourism 101. Ecotourism essentials

Posted in Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , on August 8, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

In 1975 Inkaterra built a lodge for scientists long before ecotourism was trendy

Along with other resource persons, namely Harro Boekhold of Contour Projects and Mr. Joselito Bernardo of the Asian Productivity Organization, we conducted the Train the Trainers in Ecotourism Planning & Management Course at the International School of Sustainable Tourism, in Subic Bay, Philippines. Apparently, among the Asia Pacific participants, there is still much confusion and ambiguities of the term “Ecotourism”.

Ecotourism: conservation and local community participation is essential

Not surprisingly, more so for the travel and tourism suppliers and market. Unfortunately the “eco” trend in the past years has triggered the travel industry to inundate the market with misused and misunderstood eco -labeled tourism products, from hotel accommodations to tours, from lodges to excursions, causing misrepresentation and misunderstanding among travelers from the tourism industry as to what the term “ecotourism” genuinely embodies.

Inkaterra’s Andean Pueblo experience at the foot of Machu Picchu citadel

So once and for all, we are clarifying the essence and emphasizing the basic elements of Ecotourism.

  • Aims to conserve biodiversity
  • Sustains the well being of local people
  • Includes a learning experience
  • Requires lowest possible consumption of non-renewable resources
  • Stresses local participation, ownership and business opportunities, particularly for rural people

If your destination, property or activities does not have ALL of the above essential elements, then it is NOT “ecotourism”. In addition to these ecological essentials, Ecotourism has also these fundamental nature, no pun intended:

  • A greater focus on authenticity in terms of destinations, products and experiences
  • It is “Green consumerism” – increased environmental awareness and concern about issues such as climate change and global warming
  • Sustainability should be at the heart of every tourism business and tourism product
  • Every tourism component- transport, accommodation, activities – should be ‘eco-friendly’
  • Ecotourism suppliers must keep it simple and sincere – genuine “green”!

Common ‘Eco confusion’:

  • “Green washing”: doing green vs. being green: just because you plant a tree, does not mean yours is already an ecotourism company. Must always have all the FIVE elements: not 4, 3,  2 or 1 only!
  • Must not be confused with Community-based tourism, Pro-poor tourism, Nature tourism, Adventure travel. As mentioned, all the five eco essentials must be in place. ‘Nuff said.

Nature Learning Experiences at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

To date, Ecotourism is just tiny niche of the global tourism market, has no traction yet and has just started to be mainstreamed. Tourism has an enormous potential, but without principles that fosters responsibility and sustainability it can harm our planet and wreck havoc to fragile or endangered tourism destinations. So no more confusions, no doubt about it. Don’t be misled by all the “eco-ish” labels. Just memorize the 5 ECO elements; YOU cannot go wrong. Go green!

Photos courtesy of Inkaterra, Peru’s eco pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975.

The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented with institutional partners Green Hotels, The Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs towards a green economy for cities, communities and destinations include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

Inkaterra La Casona-Layered history meets 21st century luxury

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle, Green Hotels, Inkaterra, Luxury resorts, hotels, travel, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Layered history meets luxury at La Casona

“Welcome to the summit of all things Inca – the opulent Cusco. Cusco has a better range of opulent accommodation than anywhere else in Peru”.

                                                       -The Independent Traveller, U.K.


Centrally located at an original Inca settlement in Cusco, former capital of the great Incan Empire, Inkaterra La Casona, the city’s first luxury boutique hotel rise discreetly on its prestigious surroundings. A meticulously restored 11-suite manor, this un-hotel reflects the Cusco’s unique mestizo grandeur, the inspiration for the renovation which preserved the blended essence of Spanish design and local folklore, contemporary fixtures integrated with the original structures, traditional colors, murals, and stones reflecting the patina of several epochs.

The land where the Inkaterra La Casona was built was originally part of the Warakos, the training ground of the elite Inka army. After the Spanish conquest in 1534, the property was given to Diego de Almagro, the Spanish cohort and later rival of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, capital of Peru. Almagro participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.

colonial furnishings and original murals blend with lavish contemporary comforts

The following years the casona was turned several times over to distinguished owners to include Spanish pioneers in Chile, the Amazon. The property even became a convent and much later on Simon Bolivar’s general headquarters, after his victory in the Battle of Ayacucho, where he liberated Peru from the three-century Spanish rule.

Relive the traditions of a priveleged past

Through the years, the house saw many owners until the late 60s, to include the De la Torre Urbina family and consequently Tierras Altas S.A.. In 1999, Inkaterra  acquired the property.

After two years of restoration and renovation, La Casona warmly welcomed its guests

In 2006, meticulous reconstruction works, renovation and upgrade of the manor started and in May 2008, Inkaterra La Casona opened its doors to guests. Fully equipped suites with open fireplaces are graced with down duvets, heated floors and extra large bathtubs. The amenities of the manor include dining area, outdoor patio and reading lounge. La Casona may be booked as individual suites, or as an entire Villa, offering a hub from which to discover the region.

Old World luxury meets cutting edge comforts of 21st century

Highly acclaimed by global travel magazines and travel news reviews, La Casona is a lavish luxury experience savvy travelers won’t want to miss!

“Cusco’s first boutique hotel, takes a few lessons from the conquistadores- the masters of Old World luxury in New World beauty. And while its rooms wraps around an original courtyard built more than 400 years ago, its iPod docks and heated floors are distinctly 21st century”. ~ Urban Daddy, “Mind your Manor  – Spanish Luxury in  Incan Capital”

Peru Dream Trip  2012 by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Conservation Leader, 100% Carbon Neutral, authentic travel and luxury stay or Go Andean. For more info about green travel to Peru, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI to join the Dream Trip.

All photos courtesy of Inkaterra.

Machu Picchu – A royal Inca retreat

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Environment, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2010 by Sustainability Guru


 Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is a magical place that fascinates through its vast archaeological remains, geological formations, unique flora and fauna, and spectacular cloud forest. The most remarkable part of the reserve is the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

The Incas built this citadel at the end of the fourteenth century. As centuries passed, the fortress became totally overgrown by vegetation, and virtually disappeared from sight. Hiram Bingham, Director of the Yale Peruvian Expedition, rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Recent research compiled by Yale University has revealed that the Machu Picchu Citadel was not, as Hiram Bingham believed, the traditional birthplace of the Inca people, nor was it the final stronghold of the Incas in their losing struggle against the Spanish. Instead, Machu Picchu, built by Pachacutec at the peak of the empire, was a favored retreat for the Inca nobility.

Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is situated above the town of Aguas Calientes at 2,450 meters (8,038 ft.) a.s.l. The site covers an area of 32,592 hectares (80,535 acres), located in a cloud forest between the Andes and the Amazon Basin, 112 km (70 miles) from the City of Cusco, in a green canyon on the Urubamba River.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is an 85-room boutique hotel built of stone,   adobe, stucco, and eucalyptus beams which creates a lovely Andean pueblo ambience constructed with indigenous materials, respecting environmental sensibilities, building on heritage with its regional themed architecture and design, decorated with local furniture and fixtures to promote native artifacts and crafts.

The hotel employs local people and conducts constant training in sustainable tourism. It uses clean technology and eco-friendly practices such as bio-degradable materials, handmade toiletries and amenities, the practice of re-cycling, proper waste disposal, water conservation and prohibits the use of aerosol sprays.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu hotel offers an authentic Peruvian travel experience involving guests with the Peruvian cultural and natural values. All activities offered within the hotel offer guests with the wealth of nature, flora and fauna, environment protection, conservation and interactive cultural exchanges. Eco- activities within Inkaterra Machu Picchu offered free for guests include Orchids, Birding, Tea Plantation, Nature Trail and Spectacled Bear project.

“Although celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, David Blaine, Demi Moore and Heidi Klum have all checked in en route to Machu Picchu, the real celebrities at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel are the birds. The Cloud Forest garden is home to 33 types of hummingbirds, as well as rare species….”  – Rory Ross,  “Peruvian Splendour”, Independent Traveller

 The hotel grounds include more than 5 km. (3.12 miles) of ecological paths; several spots of observation and contemplation, with indigenous fauna, the world’s largest concentration of wild hummingbird species (18) , birds (180 species), and butterflies (111 species), amongst a diversity of natural wonder.  Stays at Inkaterra Machu Picchu are 100% carbon neutral as Inkaterra has been contributing actively to global carbon fixing with its reforestation programs in the cloud forest of Machu Picchu. In 2007, Inkaterra was the first Peruvian organization to participate in a Carbon Neutral Program with Sustainable Travel International and is considered a 100% Carbon Neutral hotel. Guests are offered the possibility to offset their carbon emissions on their trips to Peru and join the effort against global warming.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel through its NGO Inkaterra Association is managing Research, Conservation, Protection, Self-generating Resources Program and Community Development in Machu Picchu.  Projects conducted with local communities include reforestation, working with schools, students, volunteers, scientists and researchers. Conservation programs include monitoring & inventory of the local fauna and flora of the Machu Picchu Historical Reserve, the Spectacled (Andean) Bear Rescue Center and the hotel’s Orchid garden with 372 native species in its natural habitat –a world record according to American Orchid Society.

To support its projects, Inkaterra has published books about Flora, such as Orchids in Machu Picchu as well as Field Guides for Birds, Orchids and Butterflies.

“This may be the largest orchid collection in Peru that is open to the public. In all probability it is also the world’s largest orchid species collection set in a natural environment in a private facility.”  – American Orchid Society Magazine

Inkaterra – Sustainable Tourism and Conservation since 1975

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Inkaterra, Luxury resorts, hotels, travel, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

In 1975, a Peruvian company called Inkaterra opened a lodge for scientists who came to study Peru’s rainforest, long before eco-tourism was trendy. Inkaterra’s proud legacy of conservation, social responsibility and geo tourism has created an international model, recognized by the World Bank and the United Nations, by providing the sophisticated international traveler with a luxurious, gracious and authentic exposure coupled with social responsibility initiatives for over 30 years now.

Inkaterra through its NGO Inkaterra Foundation (Inka Terra Asociacion –ITA) carried out ecological endeavors at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, on the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru’s Southern Amazon rainforest and at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel, in the Machu Picchu National Reserve in the Southern Andes. ITA was founded to conserve the environment, ecosystems, cultural and archaeological natural resources, Peru’s cultural identity and apply sustainable development.

Through ITA, Inkaterra’s ongoing programs include Research, such as sponsoring international scientists and local experts who conduct ecosystem studies, biodiversity, flora and fauna inventory and conservation status, etc.  This has resulted in the identification of 372 species and the discovery of 8 new species in the Machu Picchu cloud forest, as well as several publications and field guides.

Inkaterra Conservation Projects include the Inkaterra Canopy & Anaconda Walk at Reserva Amazonica, with constant monitoring of wildlife assessments and endangered eco systems, as well as the Rolin Island Fauna Rescue Center and the Butterfly House in Puerto Maldonado. Likewise, the Spectacled Bear Rescue Project in Machu Picchu provides vital support for protection of the endangered Andean bear species. Natural corridors and carbon fixing along the Madre de Dios River of the Southern Amazon rainforest and the Andean cloud forest in Machu Picchu are carried out in a total of 17,000 hectares of reforestation projects.

Environmental and eco best practices include evaluating surrounding landscapes, flora, fauna, water, air, sounds and solid waste. Infrastructure was constructed in keeping with the local nature in both Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica’s Ese-Eja styled cabañas and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Andean casitas. Quality assurance along with ecological safety measures are ensured with the proper use of water resources, water waste management, air quality maintenance through proper utilization of gas stoves, non usage of aerosols and ground keeping in general. All Inkaterra eco-excursions such as Bird watching, Orchid Trail, Nature Walks, among others, are led by highly trained, knowledgeable and conscientious expert eco guides-interpreters.

Cooperative projects with the local community includes the Gamitana Farm, a comprehensive model farmhouse for self-generating eco-agro business. It also operates Concepcion, a community house restored for volunteers, local and international researchers and a national volunteer and education program.

In April 2007, Inkaterra became Peru’s first carbon-neutral travel organization in conjunction with Sustainable Travel International (STI) by integrating renewable energy onsite, and then offsetting emissions from all of its accommodation and tour related activities, including fuel use and electricity generation.  Inkaterra acknowledges that all travel generates unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions that affect global warming.  Inkaterra actively educates their clients and guests to do so as well with the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions of their flights through STI’s carbon calculator (online at the Inkaterra website).

Best of all, Inkaterra’s accommodations in the Andes and the Amazon, offer a wonder experience for the conscientious traveler.  For more information visit or use contact form to join our responsible travel programs to Peru.