Sustainable tourism at self catering holiday rental accommodation in Andalucia, southern Spain
At Cortijo Opazo we are aware of the growing concern over carbon emissions and the need for individuals to be aware of the impact of their actions on the environment. Many people will be familiar with the notion of calculating personal yearly carbon debt then taking measures for offsetting it. Air travel has been criticised frequently in the media as being a prime culprit in the generation of unnecessary carbon. In view of this some airlines and travel companies are giving clients an opportunity to pay an additional fee on the price of their flight or holiday and undertake to use this money in the planting of trees and other green sustainable projects. Web-sites now exist that have carbon calculators. In essence these will tell you how much carbon dioxide your lifestyle produces then offer you schemes that you can buy into in order to offset this production of carbon. The subject is not without controversy but underlying all this is a notion that we should be more responsible for our own actions and choices.
Clearly the majority of our clients will be people who have flown to Spain and in so doing will have created their own share of carbon emissions; some will consider taking appropriate action to offset this carbon debt.
Where does Cortijo Opazo stand in all this?
If you have enjoyed looking at our web-site you may have come across our Garden page and followed the links to 'Jardín de la Alpujarra. This explains our ambition to create a significant green space on the 3 acres of land that we currently own. The pictures will show you what a good start we have made, but we have ambitions. At present the funds for the creation of our garden are largely generated by income derived from renting out our self catering holiday accommodation i.e. the more successful we are in this respect the more money we can allocate to the development of our garden.
On average 15% of our income is directly reinvested in our garden project. So, if you choose to have your holiday at Cortijo Opazo and you are somebody who wishes to calculate and offset your carbon debt then you can be sure that that a significant percentage of the money you pay to us (roughly 15%) will go directly towards the greening of our landscape through the planting and maintaining of live carbon digesting plant material including trees and shrubs,along with allowing us to invest in solar energy for the whole of Cortijo Opazo.
Sustainable tourism statement.
Cortijo Opazo encourages sustainable tourism for the following reasons:
- We have invested a considerable sum in the use of renewable energy. To this end hot water and central heating is provided by a combination of solar power and a heat exchange pump. Not only is it economical but it works really well!
- The accommdation is of visual low impact having been developed by converting an existing derelict farmhouse into rural holiday accommodation.
- Local builders were employed in the reformation of the house using traditional building techniques. The money spent on this went directly into the local economy.
- The majority of the materials used in the building of the house was natural stone already to be found onsite along with some ancient salvaged chestnut timbers from a nearby village house.
- Water conservation is taken seriously, all toilets have water saving flush modes and all showers are water conserving jet 'Body Spa' showers develops by Oxygenics - they have saved up to 65% use of water in the showers with subsequent reduction in the need to heat the water.
- We encourage our clients to use, where possible, local shops and restaurants and give sufficient information to enable them to do so, in advance, thus supporting the local economy.
- Walking, a low impact activity, is encouraged here and we provide, free of charge, guides for this that include many walks starting and finishing from the Cortijo.
- Whilst many of our guests decide to hire a car it is possible to stay at Cortijo Opazo using public transport, particularly buses from Orgiva and Granada. If this option is chosen then we will provide transport for the short distance from the village to our house (1.5km). Once here, a good range of shops etc. are within walking distance (1.5km). We are happy to advise on this.
- We live on site, in the Alpujarras, all year round and are a part of this local community. As such the majority of our income - which comes from our holiday rentals - is spent directly in the local economy.
- Our work at Cortijo Opazo contributes to the greening of the local landscape. We also work hard to maintain ancient practices of land irrigation through using and maintaining the system of old Moorish water channels - the acequias. We contribute financially each year to the upkeep of this vital system.
- All our excess raw food material is composted on site and guests are encouraged to do likewise. Recylcing of plastics, glass and paper is also encouraged and facilities are available for this.
- Eggs and fresh organic produce grown at Cortijo Opazo are available for our guests to buy.