One recent poll showed that 81 percent of travelers are interested in environmental issues and are likely to stay in “green” hotels. Many countries are finding ways to leverage demand for sustainability. South Africa is not exception.
To join the trend, please keep reading this article. You will find tips to help take better care of the planet by managing your hotel in an eco-friendlier way. You will be surprising by how many tourists in South Africa will appreciate your efforts.
Sustainable tourism is becoming a lot more popular throughout the world. The eco-tourism movement started in the United States and Europe, but has spread to other areas. South Africa has begun investing more in green tourist initiatives, including developing eco-friendlier hotels.
You can find a garden route accommodation in South Africa that is surprisingly committed to sustainability. There are a growing number of hotels in the country that are expressing a commitment towards eco-tourism.
It isn’t just hotels that are joining South Africa’s eco-tourist movement. A number of safaris are also finding ways to be more environmentally friendly. However, hotels and lodges are clearly driving the eco-tourist trend.
Embracing Sustainability While Managing Your Hotel
We talk a lot about taking care of the environment at home, in daily life, in the city and in hotels, but do we know what a green or eco-friendly hotel should be like? Or how hotels can help protect the environment? As a green hotel manager, you should take the right steps to lower your carbon footprint.
According to reviews and standards established by the Eco Hotel of the World website, a “green” hotel is any hotel that seeks to improve the environment. This is incorporated into its resource management and training plan.
A hotel that claims to be green or environmentally friendly must meet the following characteristics:
- It must be built with material that is in harmony with the environment where it will be located.
- It must have a sustainable management program for water and garbage, which includes strategic use of recycling.
- For its operational management, it must hire mostly local employees.
- Part of the income from profits should be destined to community works such as health centers, schools, sports clubs, among other things.
- It must use environmentally “healthy” energy, such as solar or hydroelectric.
- Within its gardens, it must have native and endemic species, which are properly identified.
- It must be registered and recognized, either by the Secretary of Tourism of each province or city that the hotel operates, which endorses compliance with the required guidelines and confirms it as a “friendly and environmentally friendly” hotel in general.
Many websites that rate the sustainability of hotels have proposed different ways for a hotel to adhere to the celebration of the planet and the steps that they can take to be eco-friendlier. These tips are listed below:
1 – Hold a “green” dining event. Celebrate the day with eco-friendly wineries, restaurants, farms and locally sourced products. You can offer a sustainable lunch or dinner for your guests and the local community or host an eco-friendly food and wine festival. Also, when the bill arrives, diners can donate a small amount to a non-profit, charitable or pro-ecological organization in your community.
2 – Focus more on recyclable products. Your hotel should use recyclable or reusable materials and items and reduce waste. For example, you may want to encourage more people to use refillable water bottles.
3 – Create a green pack program. You can propose a “Save with the Green Pack” program. With this program, you can offer guests special packages that include discounts on the room or restaurant for the use or consumption of organic products during their stay.
4 – Encourage bicycling. Offer bicycle rentals with a special offer for guests to tour the local area.
5 – Being a “green” hotel starts with the basics. Make sure all lights in the hotel are eco-friendly to help conserve energy. You will want to start by looking into using LED lightbulbs, because they are about 85% efficient. They are obviously much better alternatives than incandescent lightbulbs.
6 – Create a community of sustainable employees. Get your employees and guests involved in eco-friendly initiatives, from simply planting a tree to making a “pact” with them to help conserve resources. Involve your guests, for example, by inviting them to join the “Take a short shower” or “Turn off all lights during the day” program, or simply buy only recycled paper from now on.
Many hotels throughout South Africa are making these changes. They are discovering that many customers prefer to support green businesses, so they are getting more business as a result. You should invest in these changes, so that you can capitalize off of the demand for sustainable tourism.