Tourism department awards SSTL certificates to five hotels |12 December 2019
The tourism department has awarded 5 hotels with the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) certificates.
They are the Coral Strand Smart Choice Hotel, Banyan Tree Hotel, Kempinski Resort, Acajou Hotel and Heliconia Grove.
The SSTL is a sustainable tourism management and certification programme designed specifically for use in Seychelles and is a voluntary, user-friendly initiative designed to inspire more efficient and sustainable ways of doing business.
Applicable to all hotel establishments of all sizes, the label places emphasis on eight key areas in which hotels can strive for sustainability, including electricity and energy, waste management and human resources among others. Establishments are awarded points upon inspection and receive their certification if they satisfy the qualifying criteria and meet the required points.
Hotels that have already been certified under the label are required to be recertified after a period of two years, whereby they must prove that they have gone further and put in extra effort (which must amount to 10 percent by the point scoring system).
Welcoming the representatives from the respective hotels during the certificate presentation ceremony on Tuesday, the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Didier Dogley thanked them for taking the department’s initiative seriously and for striving towards sustainability, on account that visitors are now more environmentally-conscious.
“Thank you for reapplying to progress on to the next phase of the SSTL. We are very happy because as far as SSTL is concerned, the label is one of the most important tools as far as making sure the hotels make progress towards sustainability and Seychelles abroad, and wherever we go, we always sell Seychelles as a sustainable tourism and responsible tourism destination. Also we get asked what it is hotels are doing to render their hotels and establishments sustainable and we always talk about this label, so we are very happy that now there are at least 21 of the hotels who have all embraced the SSTL and that you are renewing it, which means that it is not a one-off but that at least there is continuity, and we are progressing in the right direction,” Minister Dogley said.
He also presented the hotel representatives with their certificates before posing for a souvenir photograph.
Of the five establishments who received their certifications on Tuesday, two were certified two years ago, while a further two were being certified for the second time.
Principal secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, noted that only a small percentage of the 600 hotel establishments in Seychelles are certified under the label and urged more to sign up to the initiative.
“To meet the criteria, some investment is required. For instance, by acquiring equipment to reduce the cost of electricity and to better manage waste but there are many establishments who are not yet ready to invest in the additional equipment which is why we have a sensitisation programme to explain to them the benefits of the label to their businesses in the long-term, to cut costs and also to market their hotel. The label is a unique selling point since many tourists are looking for environmentally-friendly establishments,” PS Lafortune explained.
Acajou hotel was first certified under the SSTL label two years ago. The Praslin based four-star hotel which boasts 52 rooms, puts into practice numerous eco-friendly initiatives around the hotel, and it intends to continue doing so to meet the needs of the market.
According to the hotel’s representative Mala Rama, the hotel recycles waste and has installed a water recycling system which is used for tasks such as watering the garden. The hotel also has photovoltaic panels to reduce its dependence on electricity and employs other initiatives such as not washing towels daily among others.
“The label has bought the responsibility. The tourism industry, we use a lot of resources electricity, water and tourism is our bread so in terms of that, responsibility, it is what we have to do. We are also now planning to label our endemic trees in our garden. The food that is used and leftover in restaurants and canteens, we give to a local farmer for his animals so we try to reduce, re-use and recycle,” Ms Mala said.
“Secondly as a label, the tourism industry has changed and we are now into eco-tourism, bio-tourism so tourists are more aware of their carbon footprint. In terms of that, it is good for the image itself, for the hotel and for Seychelles, we have to keep in alignment with what we are selling here. We keep our customers aware of what we do. We do a lot of activities with the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) whereby we hold talks on conservation but also in terms of when they are doing their booking itself, they are that it is an eco-hotel. So it is a good promotion, when we get our feedbacks, they are very happy about that. We are hoping to make it better and work harder,” she concluded.