Towards more social and sustainable ways
Looking at a society that is more aware and preoccupied with the social and environmental impact of tourism, in Barcelona we are facing a lack of lodging facilities with principles of sustainability. Even though there are some newer hostels/hotels that have a better environmental management, most of the improvements made are more on the technological aspects rather than on a more global vision of sustainability. In this sense, at JAM Hostel Barcelona we have considered three key issues that are the core of our project as an eco hostel:
We want to contribute to a social and environmentally responsible tourism.
We believe that there is a need to change not only the quantity but also, the quality of lodging and accommodations in the city. Although this is a very complex issue- one that will require an exclusive post in the future- we think it is important to assess how our actions at JAM contribute to these changes of direction and how things are done.
We offer our world travelers, who share our ideas of a responsible and sustainable tourism, an alternative to what is offered. Our guests are persons that want to get to know Barcelona in a responsible way, without having a negative impact on our city, and also, they are looking to get away from the mass tourism model.
The small-scale format, that is the “mom and pop store”, and the small number of beds offered, allows for a more personal touch and exchange of information and experiences with the visitors. This closeness also allows us to talk about our project and the problems we are having with tourism in Barcelona these days.
The rejection to touristic offers that contribute to mass tourism is also included in this point. We are against activities offered to big groups such as “tapas tours” or “bar crawls” that have a negative impact on the environment and have no true relation to the culture of the land. Instead, we favor first of all, the organization of social, environmental and cultural gatherings that permit our guests to interact with the locals. Secondly, we favor the closeness with our neighbors and provide our lodging services when they have friends or family visiting.
Lodging organizations socially and environmentally responsible
Another important aspect of our project is to provide our services (both accommodations and/or the use of our premises) to international or local organizations or associations that come to take part of activities such as workshops, exchanges, congresses, festivals, etc. These activities provide an exchange of knowledge and experience with the city, which goes beyond tourism consumerism.
We want to work so that the hostel in itself becomes social and environmentally responsible.
At JAM Hostel we have an Environmental Management System that has to do with aspects such as: reduce, reutilize and recycle; energy efficiency and saving water; usage of cleaning products that are respectful to the environment; team communication and environmental education; use of renewable sources of energy; acoustic and weather-proofing, etc. As an organization, we prioritize cooperation (not only on the services provided by the hostel but also with our suppliers) with social economy and solidarity organizations. Among other things, we work with ethical banking services, we offer organic and/or fair trade products, and we also promote local artists.
When we think about sustainable tourism, we often think about rural tourism within green and natural environments. In fact, many of the environmentally friendly lodging facilities in Europe and in Catalonia promoting sustainable tourism are far away from the city smog. But we think that cities most work towards a model of tourism that is regulated and balanced, and that is why we think that it is necessary to create accommodation facilities that have sustainability as the core of the project, in order to reduce environmental impact and also to integrate themselves into the neighborhoods life.