Hoteliers told capitalize on "green" trend

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, November 1, 2007 – Barbados could soon become the destination in the Caribbean with the most “green certified” hotels.

That’s the word from Guido Bauer of Green Hotel Certification, an international environmental certification agency, which provides strict baseline criteria its member hotels and resorts.

Bauer, who has worked with the Barbados Tourism Authority to promote the certification, urged Barbadian hoteliers to capitalize on the green trend which is growing rapidly throughout Europe and North America .

He stressed that the global certification will enable Barbadian hoteliers not only help them to build a more environmental sustainable tourism industry, but would also pay them long-term dividends in the form of marketing and public relations opportunities.

“The green hotel certification would enable member hoteliers to differentiate their property from the market and provide them with a unique product, which would provide them with a competitive advantage over their competitors.

He maintained, “Today, many tourists and corporations particularly from Europe, prefer to vacation or host meetings and conventions at properties which are green certified,” added Baucer, who said that Green certified hotels normally attract the affluent visitor that have an average household income ranging from US$150,000 to US$200,000.”

Criteria and certification requirements are dividend into three categories: environmental certification, worth 70 per cent; corporate responsibility certification, worth 20 per cent; and conservation certification, 10 per cent.

Corporate responsibility and conservation are coded numerically. Certification is granted if a minimum of 75 per cent of requirements are met.

An annual re-certification is required to validate continued certification.  Under the certification requirements, hoteliers must pursue environmentally friendly practices.

For instance, hoteliers are prohibited from selling, trading, or displaying endangered species and products which stem from unsustainable practices; toilet and soapy wastewater are managed in such a way that they do not affect public health nor pollute; or biodegradable cleaning material and cosmetic products must be used.

In 2006, according to the Caribbean Alliance on Sustainable Tourism, the Caribbean lead the world in the number of properties certified to Green Globe 21.  At the time there were 53 certified properties in the region and nine working toward certification.

Today Barbados has seven GG21 and nine working toward attaining the famous green logo.  As for the rest of the Caribbean, in 2006 Jamaica had 20, St. Lucia had six; Antigua, five; Dominican Republic, four; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, three; and Dominica, three; to name a few.

Green certified hotels in Barbados include The Almond Beach Club and Spa, The Almond Beach Village and The Bougainvillea Hotel.