Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Resorts Payoffs from Environmental Policies

Green rewards sink in

LANGKAWI – Resorts are realising the benefits of putting in place environmentally friendly practices, which not just result in reducing gross operating costs but also attract a growing number of environmentally conscious travellers.

Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi general manager, Mr Arnold Esmond, said initially costs went up by 11 per cent due to the cost of buying and putting in place eco-friendly initiatives, but year-to year operational costs have reduced by about six per cent.

“About 60 per cent of our eco-friendly ideas come from our guests.”

The 136-room hotel experiences an average room occupancy of 69 per cent annually.

It is ISO14001 certified and has a strong buy local policy.

It also supports the fishing villagers nearby to diversify their income by giving rent-free space within its large compound so they can set up food and clothing stalls.

ALiLA Manggis Bali general manager, Mr Jork Bosselaar, said based on his experience, environmental awareness was more prevalent among European tourists.

“Environmental consciousness will be the future of leisure travel. If you don’t take care of your destination, tourists will go elsewhere.

“They are also conscious of the impact their stay will make on the environment and the local economy.”

At ALiLA Manggis and its sister property, ALiLA Ubud Resort, guests are encouraged to experience Balinese culture through dance lessons and nature walks led by knowledgeable local guides.

Both properties also contribute directly to the community through the East Bali Poverty project, which provides financial aid to the villagers on a monthly basis.

The organic soaps used in the properties were made locally on a profit-sharing basis and helped to support 100 families, Mr Bosselaar said.

All ALiLA properties use Earthcheck to benchmark data, which is part of Green Globe 21. ALiLA Manggis financial controller, Ms Made Sadiana, said: “This enables us to monitor our waste, electric consumption, water consumption and so forth.

“While the property is unable to provide revenues generated due to its sustainable tourism policy, the fact that both ALiLA Ubud and ALiLA Manggis are market leaders in their respective areas and the fact that ALiLA Properties is expanding with another five properties being constructed show that the market is sensitive to both design aspects and the unique experiences we offer.”

Evason Phuket and Six Senses Spa environment co-ordinator, Mr Arnfinn Oines, said its commitment to sustainable development extended to choosing suppliers who shared these same values.

“Seeing that we are serious in our commitment towards the environment, some suppliers have changed their habits in order to work with us.

“For example, they are using less plastic in their packaging,” he said.

The property is also fully certified under Green Globe 21 and Green Leaf tourism certification schemes.

On November 12 in Langkawi, Evason Phuket together with ALiLA Manggis and ALiLA Ubud received Malaysian-based conservation think tank, Wild Asia’s inaugural Responsible Tourism Award 2006 for the best luxury boutique resorts and hotels category. For the special category of The Best of Langkawi, the award went to Tanjung Rhu Resort.

Nanga Sumpa Lodge in Batang Ai, Sarawak, managed by tour operator, Borneo Adventures, won in the category of eco-venture lodges and homestays.

Wild Asia director and founder, Dr Reza Azmi, said the awards were in recognition of outstanding implementation of environmental management policies and social programmes that benefited both the host institution and the surrounding community.

News Source : TTG

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