The COP17/CMP7 Responsible Accommodation Campaign could help boost the Durban’s image as a “green events” destination.
The eThekwini Municipality launched the campaign to encourage more than 500 accommodation facilities in the greater Durban area to go green.
Currently, there are only 11 accommodation establishments that are certified and graded under one of the “responsible” or “green” tourism standards in South Africa.
“The eThekwini Municipality is in the process of evaluating the Responsible Accommodation Campaign Forums. It is anticipated that an in-depth evaluation of the campaign will take place post COP17 in 2012.
“The COP17/CMP7 Responsible Accommodation Campaign is seen as the beginning of a long term engagement with this sector as they play an important role in the City’s ability to secure major events and the promotion of Durban as a Green Events Destination,” said Manisha Hassan, an environmentalist at the eThekwini Municipality.
Over the past two months, campaign forums were held to assist accommodation owners and operators with knowledge development, as well as ideas and tools for going green.
Participants in the campaign were encouraged to familiarise themselves with responsible tourism certification criteria and the different certification systems available.
The Oyster Box Hotel, Southern Sun Elangeni and the Anchor’s Rest Guest are examples of certified establishments under different certification systems.
A Responsible Accommodation Campaign Toolkit was given to participants and contained background information on a number of topics, including the COP 17, climate change, responsible tourism, COP 17/CMP 7 Responsible Accommodation Campaign and certification.
Practical guidelines for conserving energy and water, sustainable waste management and green landscaping were also included.
The COP17 Responsible Visitors Charter has been identified as a key awareness raising tool for delegates and visitors, who will be able to sign up to the charter at their accommodation and commit to the principles of the charter.
As visitors to Durban, they can help to reduce the impact of tourism on the local environment by making responsible choices.
General Manager at Elangeni, Mike Jackson said that the hotel has over the years been increasingly improving its operations to become environmentally sustainable. It recently subscribed to the Responsible Accommodation Charter as part of the city’s COP17 Greening Programme.
“The Elangeni is a leader in the hospitality industry in terms of its greening and environmentally-friendly policy and we have a number of energy-saving and energy efficient mechanisms in place to support this strategy,” said Jackson.
All the Durban hotels within the Southern Sun group have all recently been awarded Gold Status by the Heritage Environmental Rating Programme.
Break water tanks and new piping have been installed to prevent water wastage. Guests are also encouraged to reuse their towels.
Water is served from an Ozone water system in recycled glass jugs from banqueting purposes.
Many other changes have also been made to their energy and waste management systems to reduce impacts on the environment.