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Sustainable tourism criteria and critical evaluation of certification for accommodation establishments in Belek

Ulu Yılmaz, Tuba
Setting environmental strategies, codes and guidelines for designing accommodation establishments is essential in order to maintain the goal of sustainable tourism. There are plenty of labels and certification schemes that assess environmental aspects of these establishments. However, their effectiveness is questionable, particularly from the side of sustainable design. This study endeavours to be a resource for further designs and to respond the need to assess the outcomes of the planning and design decisions. A survey questionnaire is developed to evaluate the environmental performance of selected hotel buildings. Case studies were carried out in four hotels in Belek which had been awarded the Green Star Certification by Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey. Each hotel building was evaluated through the guideline developed for this study. The first three hotels were not planned with sustainable design criteria. However, it is found that each has some positive contributions to their environments. In the first hotel, a major part of the natural forest cover was protected; in the second one, renewable energy systems were installed; in the third one, it was preferred to protect the forest cover rather than using the whole capacity that was allowed. Only the fourth hotel was planned with sustainable design criteria. Additional to its many positive aspects, this high capacity hotel damaged a considerable part of the forested area on its land. Findings show that sustainable design criteria are not employed carefully and there is a need for integration of these criteria from the preliminary planning phase.