Leading knowledge and best practice concepts were discussed at the recent Green Tourism Certification Programme.
The Green Tourism Business scheme’s Andrea Nicholas and Jon Proctor were well received at eco active’s first industry focussed best practice event. The seminar was attended by representatives of over 1650 bed spaces – around 38% of the total beds on the Island.
Adam Caerlewy-Smith opened the event on behalf of Visit Jersey and discussed whether green tourism was relevant to the Island. Using a selection of industry statistics, such as an anticipated growth of 25% in sustainable tourism over the next 5 years, Adam clearly demonstrated that green tourism has a part to play in marketing Jersey as a destination.
James Le Ruez discussed the redevelopment of the eco active business scheme which has been ongoing throughout 2015. Attendees were encouraged to use eco active as a stepping stone towards Green Tourism Certification. James offered on-site follow up support to hotels to help them achieve eco active member status – the local accreditation standard for environmentally responsible businesses.
‘What is Green Tourism?’ was the opening question from Andrea Nicholas. It’s not ‘tree hugging’ but a combination of actions that include better business management, resource efficiency, future-proofing and support for the local economy. Ten tourism businesses on the Island are already certified to Green Tourism standard and Andrea suggested that if uptake were to increase Jersey may be in a position to become a certified ‘Green Destination’. This could potentially be a significant advantage for the Island as it competes with other jurisdictions for tourism visitors.
Green Tourism Certification participants receive on-site assessment and support from industry experts such as Technical Director Jon Proctor. With the experience of several thousand hotel assessments behind them the Green Tourism advisors can typically help a hotel identify cost savings of up to 20% within the first year of participation. Jon discussed a number of resource efficiency ideas including several good practice case studies such as:
Changing housekeeping practices to ‘one-flush’ policies saving a group of 21 hotels £85,000+ per year
The Old Government House in Guernsey refitted 600 light bulbs with LED alternatives saving £12,000 with payback on investment within 6 months
Locally the Radisson Blu Hotel has installed waterless urinals saving around £1,000 per year
The Radisson Blu’s Responsible Business Leader Sven Wiltink provided a local perspective explaining the practicalities and benefits of green practices. As well as direct operational savings Sven explained that responsible business is an expectation of visitors. The Green Tourism certification has contributed to improved company image as well as providing an opportunity for staff to connect with the community through corporate social responsibility.
The event was summed up by Alexia McClure from Jersey Business. A number of eco active green suppliers attended the networking period to discuss the products and services they could offer to help hotels deliver their environmental improvement plans.
For more information on eco active or Green Tourism, or to be notified of future events, please contact [email protected] Further Green Tourism and industry focused sessions in areas such as catering, swimming pools and leisure sites are planned for 2016.
 World Tourism Organisation (2014)