‘Going Green’ is no longer just a buzz phrase and it’s only a matter of time before green practices in the hospitality industry becomes a baseline requirement.
In a progressive step to acknowledge both the need to conserve natural resources as well as the social consciousness of today’s travellers, First Group has shown its commitment towards creating green vacation destinations through environmentally friendly practices at its resorts.
“As the managing agent for over 60 properties, we are perfectly positioned to influence change and make a positive impact through the implementation of eco-friendly measures that reduce harmful environmental impacts and create economic benefits for our local communities,” says First Group Services and Resorts Director, Johann Jordaan.
The acclaimed Hole In The Wall resort in the Eastern Cape has invested R1 million into the installation of a Calcamite sewer water management system for irrigation purposes and a water treatment plant to purify river water for the supply of fresh drinking water to the resort. This initiative went one step further to include drinking water to the local community through an additional 5 000 litre tank.
Another notable resort that is trailblazing the way in demonstrating a high level of commitment to sustainable practice is Magalies Park in the Hartebeespoort region of Gauteng. What started out as a few conscious efforts has grown into a full-scale sustainable operational system with fascinating environmental innovations.
A worm farm flourishes on the restaurant waste and the worm “juice” is then used as organic fertilizer. The fish programme, under the supervision of a local retired professor, ensures that the dams are maintained in a healthy sustainable state through the placement of a variety of carefully selected fish species.
The geysers have been replaced with energy saving heat pumps and all the lights are either LED or energy saving. The irrigation timers for the grounds and golf course have been set to start after 21h00, and water consumption is further reduced by planting grass that needs less water to grow.
‘Thinking outside the box’ for eco-friendly initiatives led to the creation of a bat hotel, which successfully lures bats out of the chalets, and an owl house that is home to the resident owl who is tasked with containing the rodents on the resort. A local bee keeper has also introduced 10 hives in a secluded area to help with pollination, and the resort further benefits from being able to harvest its own honey from these hives.
“We encourage our staff to share our sustainability projects with our guests to give them a greater experience in contributing towards a greener future when choosing our resorts as their holiday destination. Through these initiatives, we aim to set the highest standards in developing green vacation destinations that create a culture of environmental responsibility among our staff, guests and local communities,” concluded Jordaan.
Source and Image: First Group