Ecotourism is an increasing trend among travellers and because of this the magazine National Geografic has explored the possibilities for sustainable accommodation around the world. During this search, they came across Topas Ecolodge – a sustainable haven located in the mountain area around Sapa in northern Vietnam.
The Danish company Topas Travel opened Topas Ecolodge in 2005. At that time, it was a simple base for tourists, who wanted to explore the desolate area and local cultures, with the least possible impact on the natural surroundings. Accordingly, there was no electricity, mobile signal or internet. Much has happened since, but the sustainability principles of preserving the natural surroundings have remained the same.
– At Topas Ecolodge we have been trying to make the best choices within the framework of sustainability and ecotourism for 13 years. However, the concept has until recently been relatively unknown in Asia, so it has been uphill in terms of branding. But with the overall prosperity increase and increasing pollution in cities, clean air, ecology and personal health have been put on the agenda, said Asger Koppen, Managing Director of Topas Travel.
In addition to focusing on the environmental sustainability in the local area, the lodge is also working with social sustainability. The employees are almost exclusively locals, who receive the necessary education and training at the lodge. Additionally, the lodge also supports the local school and buys almost all its raw materials in local shops and markets. The lodge is therefore of great importance for the local community.
– That a recognised media such as National Geografic now highlights us internationally is obviously great for our brand awareness, but also for our employees’ self-understanding – that we are acknowledge for making a difference, said Asger Koppen, Managing Director of Topas Travel.
IFU has contributed with a loan to the establishment of Topas Ecolodge and sees the project as a frontrunner in terms of setting high standards for ecotourism.
– IFU aims to create sustainable investments with a triple bottom line and a positive local development impact, so we are pleased to see that others have also discovered that this is exactly what Topas Ecolodge is doing, said Birgitte Bang Nielsen, Sustainability Director in IFU.