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Hotel group to raise bar for sustainability in Africa

Apr 15 2015 21:15
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Verde Hotels wants to become Africa's first truly green hotel managing company, Samantha Annandale, general manager of Hotel Verde in Cape Town, said at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa on Wednesday.

She cautioned that it is no use incorporating green technology in a hotel if it is not applied properly - then it will certainly not bring the desired return on investment.

Verde Hotels is inviting investors, developers and hotel owners in Africa to make use of the hotel group's expertise in developing, retro-fitting and operating a green hotel in line with international standards.

READ: CT hotel praised by tourism organisations

"Once you have a fancy building, but cannot operate its green technology successfully, you cannot meet the triple bottom line and be sustainable. The hospitality industry is changing and strategic partnerships are created to move Africa's hotel industry forward," she said.

"Millennials are the new power centre and fastest growing customer segment in the travel market. They are tech savvy, want an emotional experience and are eco-conscious. Businesses reducing the impact of climate change will, therefore, be more and more successful."

Hotel Verde, situated only 400m from Cape Town's airport and awarded as Africa's greenest hotel, offsets travellers' carbon footprint for instance by means of an audited programme. About 908 000 ton of carbon have already been offset by Hotel Verde on behalf of its guests and, while aiming for a 100% diversion rate from landfill, it has already reached a level of 87%.

The new business model in the hospitality industry is "thrivability", explained Annandale. It has three components, namely people, profit and planet.

READ: Cape hotel honoured for sustainability

At a total investment of R187m, Hotel Verde's developers spent R20.2m more than what it would have cost not to build according to green standards.

The return on investment becomes clear when Annandale added that utilities costs to run a regular hotel room is usually about R97.28 per night. In contrast that of Hotel Verde is about R29.52 per night.

"Luxury and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive. That is why Hotel Verde has won ten awards in 12 months," Annandale added.

"We even analyse each of our suppliers to make sure they operate sustainably and our guests can earn in-house currency for helping us reach our environmental goals."

She pointed out that load shedding in South Africa and regular lengthy power cuts in other parts of the continent are testimony to the need for a green approach in the hospitality industry.

ALSO READ: African Responsible Tourism Awards launched

africa  |  travel and leissure  |  tourism  |  hotels
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