DoT encourages local industry to green

| 12/04/2011

(CNS): The Department of Tourism (DoT) is making a concerted effort to push the Cayman Islands Environmental Project for the Tourism Sector (CEPTS), a joint venture between the department and the private sector, as it enter s its second phase. The goal is to encourage local tourism business to aim for Green Globe Certification for their hotel or service. Officials said the progamme was part of the government’s goal to market the Cayman Islands as a responsible tourism destination, committed to sustainable development. The DoT will be holding a green fair this week to promote the programme to tourism partners, it said in a release.

Racquel Brown, Tourism Development Services Manager at the DoT, encouraged industry partners, including properties, attractions, service-based businesses or watersports operators, to attend the Living Green Fair on the Governor’s Lawn on Thursday, 14 April between 11am and 6pm. “At that event, tourism partners will be able to learn more about the CEPTS programme and what it means for their business to obtain Green Globe Certification,” she said.

Last June, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, Southern Cross Club, Little Cayman Beach Resort, Pirates Point Resort, Cobalt Coast Resort & Suites and Compass Point Dive Resort all successfully completed the pilot phase of the CEPTS programme.

Each establishment had to undergo an environmental assessment, apply a number of standards and environmental best practices and submit to a strict audit by an independent third party. The end result of this process was the achievement of the coveted Green Globe Certification, an internationally recognised designation in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that demonstrates a commitment to the environment and sustainable operations and management.

Congratulating all pilot properties on completing the first phase of the CEPTS programme, the premier, who is also the tourism minister, said, “This is a significant achievement for the Cayman Islands and shows that our country is becoming more environmentally conscious.”

He added that his government was fully supportive of this initiative and would continue to play its part in encouraging all of tourism industry partners to adhere to the highly-respected Green Globe standards.

Although discussing the green initiative and its importance, Bush did not state when the long awaited national conservation law would be passed, which would offer real protection to the islands’ environment. He did, however, applaud the industry leaders who have completed the first phase of the CEPTS programme and encouraged others to visit the Living Green fair to learn more about the benefits of such an accreditation.

West Bay MLA Cline Glidden said that as more consumers seek destinations and establishments that are environmentally friendly, being able to display the Green Globe on their website and marketing materials is an incredible badge of honour for the properties and attractions.

The variety of green initiatives implemented by the six industry leaders included appointing Green Teams; educating staff members on the importance of the programme and instituting standards such as recycling bottles, paper and oil, reusing materials, linens and water; and reducing waste and energy-use.

After successfully applying 133 Green Globe Certification standards, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park was the first to complete certification and is the only attraction of its kind in the Caribbean region to attain Green Globe Certification. By obtaining the certification, the QEII Botanic Park, a non-profit statutory body dedicated to preserving natural environments and places of historic significance in the Cayman Islands, has saved at least 6,000 gallons of water per month and an overall cost savings of 10-12 percent.

Cobalt Coast Resort & Suites and Compass Point are both dive resorts owned and operated by a management team that prides themselves in being ambassadors of sustainable practices in the industry, and while Compass Point only received their Green Globe certification recently, the dive resort has been realigning their company’s operations to be more environmentally-conscious from as far back as 2008.

“As a dive resort, we are already dealing with concerned clientel, so going the extra mile to operate in a more responsible and concerned manner fits in perfectly,” said Airie Barendrecht, proprietor of Cobalt Coast.

Little Cayman Beach Resort and Southern Cross Club have been considering their individual environmental impact for many years and have since been implementing various methods to reduce their carbon footprint. Now both official Green Globe Certificate holders, the properties have found innovative ways to play their part in making their location as eco-friendly as possible.

Peter Hillenbrand, proprietor of Southern Cross Club stated, “Making the commitment to being green is not easy, however my staff members enjoy being part of the new initiative, which is proving to be very cost-effective.”

Cobalt Coast and Little Cayman Beach Resort also instituted a Green Team to monitor the programme and reward persons who engage in efficient environmental practices. “It feels really good to be one of the first properties making a difference in the Sister Islands,” said Jason Belport, General Manager at Little Cayman Beach Resort. “It is important to keep the environmental integrity of the Sister Islands intact and I look forward to seeing other properties across all three of the Cayman Islands demonstrating a higher level of environmental commitment.”

Shomari Scott, Acting Director of Tourism, who’s team at the DoT introduced and managed the implementation of the programme, stated that certification came at a price for those involved in Phase I of the CEPTS programme and all had to work extremely hard to complete the pilot phase.

“Essentially, the five properties and one attraction that participated in Phase I blazed the trail and are leading the way in sustainable tourism in the Cayman Islands. I applaud their efforts and encourage them to continue to work hard to turn their green efforts into long-term benefits for staff and guests alike,” he added.

Tourism entities interested in enhancing their environmental performance and becoming Green Globe Certified areencouraged to visit www.GreenGlobe.com or contact the Department of Tourism at 949-0623 or cepts@caymanislands.ky.

Green Globe is a worldwide green certification based on internationally accepted criteria for efficient operations and improved environmental performance of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under license, Green Globe Certification is based in California, USA and operates in over 83 countries. Green Globe is the only certification company to be an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is partly owned by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and a member of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) governing council. Green Globe Certified businesses are recognised by AAA (American Automobile Club), British Airways Holidays, Air Canada Vacations, Travelocity, and other tour operators. Certified businesses are also promoted across all Green Globe websites, including www.GreenGlobe.Travel, and in the popular travel magazine ‘Islands’. 

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