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Tourism’s footprint set to shrink as Cabo Verde goes greener

Cabo Verde will be benefiting from a big push to improve resource efficiency in hotels over the next 12-18 months, with free advice and support from local and international experts thanks to a TUI Care Foundation initiative which is being implemented by the Travel Foundation. The ambitious Greener Hotels project is working towards a significant reduction in waste going to landfill from tourism in Sal and Boa Vista and less water and energy being used by tourism in Sal.

Small islands, big challenges

Cabo Verde’s sunshine and beautiful beaches make it a popular tourist destination. But being a collection of small islands with a dry climate and limited infrastructure, makes it particularly sensitive to the pressures of tourism. The islands of Sal and Boa Vista have very little rainfall, a lack of recycling facilities and limited landfill capacity.  Our research highlighted that hotels create 42% of the total volume of waste sent to landfill and that strong winds can cause waste to be blown across the island, littering the landscape and ocean.  Tourists also use five times more water than locals and all water must be desalinated, which is an energy intensive process.

Greener Hotels Forum kick starts activities

We launched Cabo Verde’s first ever Greener Hotels Forum this October to kick start a series of activities to reduce water, energy and waste. The event brought fourteen hotels from Sal and Boa Vista together along with international experts and local stakeholders. They shared a variety of good practice on reducing water, energy and waste and identified sustainable solutions (as well as barriers) that could be implemented in the short and medium-term.  The event covered:

  • The importance of monitoring energy, water and waste in hotel operations.
  • Solar energy and water heating systems.
  • Easy, cost-effective methods to reduce waste production.
  • Using grey water to water fruit and vegetable gardens.

Next steps

Throughout the project we’ll be providing training, supporting and providing opportunities for collaboration between all those involved. Our next steps are to help the hotels to find efficiencies across their operations: kitchens, restaurants, gardens, laundry services, guest facilities and bedrooms and we’ll be supporting them to regularly monitor their water, energy and waste.  We will also help hotels to communicate messages to customers that encourage more environmentally-aware behaviours (such as taking short showers rather than baths, using air conditioning wisely, reusing towels and bedlinen etc). Finally, we’ll be looking at the feasibility of creating enterprises that could provide repair, recycling and reuse services in Cape Verde that also support low-income families.