Asturius bed and breakfast accommodation, Spain


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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Asturius bed and breakfast accommodation, Spain


Waste - We collect litter and garbage (be it our own or someone eases) on our walking routs and encourage our guests to take a bag along with them to do the same. We keep the square of our hamlet free from dog waste and rubbish. For recycling we collect and recycle as much as we can making regular trips to the local collection points, so much so that we create only about 20l of land-fill rubbish every two weeks, even when we are full. Our kitchen combustable waste is collected and used to fill up a compost bin, waste from the garden is also collected and composted on site.

Water - We have flow reduces on all our taps and state of the art thematic taps on the showers. Not only does this give the perfect rain shower experience, but it reduces waste water and limits the hot water usage to the minimum required for the perfect temperature. We encourage guests only to request clean towels when they need them and process all waste water on-site in a chemical free bio septic tank. We also have a 2000l water deposit on-site to ensure that our demand for water in high season does not have an impact of the pressure of the water for the rest of the hamlet.

Energy - Around 40% of our total energy requirement is generated by our land. We have a geothermic heat-pump with 2KM of tube running underneath out garden. The system captures the heat of the land and turns that heat into real energy. This energy is used to heat water for hot water and underfloor heating. We have a continued development plan for our renewable energy, included in this plan is an expansion of our energy trapping potential with the installation of a sola panel patch on our land.

Buildings - We restored our building re-using as much of the original materials as possible, we utilised stone, brick and wood from the original construction. Many of our windows and doors are original to the building and we copied styles and used materials that would have been used in the original build some 100-200 years ago. Where this was not possible we used modern materials to ensure the long life of the building for many more generations to come. There is at least one piece of furniture in each room that was in the original house which further preserves its character, much of the furniture is in the same room it was in when we bought the house too. The reconstruction and design was done by us. When we needed the expertise of an architect and/or the strength of a builder we employed craftsmen and women from the local community. 90% of our invoices for the restoration were from companies and individuas who live within 20km of the house. We are proud of the injection of cash we put into the local economy doing the build, two years when the local people needed it most, they were in deep crisis at the time.

Suppliers - Our suppliers are all local. We buy only a very small amount of stuff from supermarkets. All of our fruit and vegetables are organic and sourced locally, many form neighbouring organic vegetable plantations, they΄re not farms, they΄re not big enough. We buy luxury toiletries for our bathrooms that come from a Spanish manufacturer who use organic olive oil in their production. Any suppliers that we need for things that are not food are from local small businesses. We encourage our suppliers to understand our belief that local is best and organic is better. Furthermore we encourage them to consciously decide what products are best to stock, such as not to buy things with Palm oil in the ingredients and avoid stocking anything that comes from large multi nationals. Believe it or not this kind of philosophy is not well known in Spain, even less so in rural Spain, however we are making progress and day be by we see changes in peoples mind sets. We are even seeing some suppliers and workers opt or a diet that includes less and less meat. We encourage everyone to have a meet free day once a week.


Friends & neighbours - We know the best local restaurants and bars and we have an agreement with a local company who offer adventure days such as canoeing, canyoning, guided tracking and horse riding. Javier is a local, he grew upon Asturias, he has extensive local knowledge and is on hand to help plan day trips for guests, his English is perfect, he lived 18 years in Brighton! So there are no communication challenges with our english speaking guests. We translate menus for some of the local restaurants and have helped them out with the odd English lesson on occasion.

Campaigning for change - We are active members of the local tourism consortium as we’ll as the local eco tourism cluster. We take part in meetings and try to encourage these teams to take a more environmental approach to tourism. Encouraging them to put pressure on local councils to better maintain walking paths and local maps for cycling routes. We are in rural Spain and things are a little behind here, however, we believe that our voice on these local committees will see a positive change in this local community sooner rather than later.

Volunteering & charity - We collect and contribute profit into a kitty that we use each year to help maintain some of the communal buildings in our hamlet. These buildings are called Horreos. The Horreos in our square date back 300 years. The buildings are owned as a community, but funds to maintain them are scarce or non existent. We collect money through our small gift shop and donate all the takings and the profit to maintaining these quislings. This year we put in close to 1000€ to have the roof cleaned and some basic repairs done, we hope to do the same every year. To repair one in its entirety would cost around 30,000€

A fair deal - Our staff are paid above the minimum wage and we ensure that they have fair and good working conditions as well as ensuring that we comply to local employment law (many places pay cleaning staff with black money, not us, we contract our staff to ensure they get the best social security support when they are not employed). We employ 3 cleaners non full time, but all from time to time to make sure the work is shared out fairly. We contract a gardner and a general maintenance guy as and when we need them. Everyone is a local, they all live within 10k of the hotel.

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