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Cabo Verde ‘Greener Hotels’ initiative wins National Energy Globe award

Through collaborative working, the tourism industry in Cabo Verde has taken strides to lighten its environmental footprint. Yesterday the ‘Greener Hotels’ project was presented with the Energy Globe Foundation’s National Energy Globe, the world award for sustainability, at a ceremony in London.

The three year programme of sustainable tourism initiatives in Cabo Verde, off the west coast of Africa, has demonstrated the importance of bringing the industry together to work collaboratively. As a result of the Greener Hotels project, delivered by the Travel Foundation with partners RHP LTD, EcoVisao and GestEnGreen, and with funding from TUI Care Foundation, we have achieved the following:

  • 12 hotels reduced their water and energy use by, on average, 12% in a year:
  • saving enough energy to power the equivalent of 1,000 typical households in Cabo Verde for a year and
  • saving enough water to supply 3,000 typical households (equivalent to 20% of the population of Boa Vista);
  • Hotels now have the potential to reduce their waste by an estimated 15%.
Cabo Verde Award

Destinations Programme Manager, Terry Brown, receiving the award on behalf of the Travel Foundation (left); hotel workers in Cabo Verde (right).

Initially we set up a destination council with representatives from hotels, restaurants, excursion providers, transport companies, community groups and government agencies. This meant that, for the first time, tourism stakeholders were meeting to discuss key tourism development issues on the main resort Islands of Sal and Boa Vista.

Our research revealed that the most pressing impacts of tourism were its demands on water and energy supplies. With limited rainfall or freshwater, a lack of recycling facilities and minimal landfill capacity, accommodation providers in Cabo Verde recognised they needed to reduce their use of water and energy, and cut down on solid waste.

Twelve hotels have been actively engaged in the project and have been provided with action plans, training, support and tool kits to improve the efficiency of water and energy-use and waste management across their operations, including kitchens, restaurants, gardens, laundry services, guest facilities and bedrooms.

Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of TUI Care Foundation

“Resource efficiency is important for any business, anywhere, but on islands like Cabo Verde, it becomes essential. Our project with the Travel Foundation has taken an evidence-based approach to focus on the issues that really count, both for tourism, and the people of Cabo Verde, to thrive.”

Terry Brown, Destinations Programme Manager, the Travel Foundation

“We are particularly delighted that our collaborative approach has been highlighted by the Energy Globe Awards. Through our destination council, with our delivery partners including Ecovisao, Responsible Hospitality Partnership and GestEnGreen, and of course with the support of the twelve hotels involved, we’ve made a real difference – and it’s something that other islands, and other destinations, can and should replicate.”

Through our report, Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden of Tourism, we have highlighted the need for better destination management, including the environmental damage and costs of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure to meet tourist demand. Managing the full range of costs is the way to create a sustainable tourism sector, and this is particularly important for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Cabo Verde.

We have also used lessons from the Cabo Verde Greener Hotels project to inform our continuing work in this area, including a UN-led project to reduce carbon emissions and increase the resource efficiency of tourism in Mauritius and Saint Lucia.

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