A total of 31 hotels and "ryokan" traditional inns across Japan have been certified as locations striving to achieve U.N. sustainable development goals amid a growing global trend for environment-friendly travel.

The recognition of the 31 locations, given as of the end of April by a Japanese organization, comes as more facilities aim to attract inbound travelers and revitalize the tourism industry badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo shows the certification mark by Sakura Quality for accommodation facilities. (Photo courtesy of Sakura Quality)(Kyodo)

The Tokyo-based organization oversees the evaluation of accommodation facilities. Under its "Sakura Quality" scheme, an establishment is judged using criteria that include decarbonization and cutting down on waste.

The group said it has received requests for evaluations from about 200 facilities and hopes to certify around 2,000 establishments in the future.

The environment-friendly credentials are given after checking how the facilities meet the 17 goals of the SDGs outlined by the United Nations. The SDGs cover areas such as gender equality, sustainable cities and communities, and climate change.

Of the authenticated hotels, Kamikochi Imperial Hotel in Nagano Prefecture achieved carbon neutrality by purchasing energy derived via hydroelectricity. Sapporo Prince Hotel in Hokkaido ditched plastic straws and has been disinfecting wastewater and reusing it in bathrooms.

According to a survey last year by hotel reservation website Booking.com, 81 percent of respondents said it was important to travel sustainably.

Takeshi Kitamura, an official at the organization, said being aware of SDGs when traveling was becoming normalized.

"Increasing the number of certified hotels and inns will enhance Japan's attractiveness," he added.