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  1. #1
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    Default Making DR's Hotels More Eco-Friendly

    As you may have read in my "invitation" posts in the Travel forums, I am interested in people's assessment of the environment-friendliness of the DR's hotels, particularly the resorts, and of what, if anything, they can do to improve. This issue is big in the hotel industry these days, especially those seeking to attract European tourists. Many hotels elsewhere in the Caribbean are seeking various forms of certification of how environment-conscious or - friendly they are. Just look "next door" -- the PR's authorities are coaching hotels there on issues such as recycling/reuse.

    So..
    * What can the DR's hotels do to become more environment-friendly?
    * Are there any in the DR that already do a notable job of this?
    * How best can their sectoral group, Asonahores, support them in this?
    * What should the government role in such efforts be? Any? None? Actively promote? Stay out of the way?
    * Would there really be a substantial segment of tourists who would seek out & pay to stay in resorts that are certified as such?
    * How best to promote the hotels that make a good-faith effort?
    * Whose certification would matter most to "green conscious" tourists?

    http://www.ads.gobierno.pr/secciones...-hoteleros.htm
    Last edited by Keith R; 12-09-2003 at 12:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    I did an environmental audit for a large hotel once... they focused on really strange things like shampoo bottles, IIRC.

    Rule number one with such ventures is to appeal to the financial and PR value of implementing eco-friendly policies. It is usually safe to assume they don't care about the issues!

    It is common here and in other countries to see those little cards asking you to leave your towels in the bath if you want them washed, in order to save money - sorry - water!

    Some other ideas along those lines would be;

    - Use a/c more rationally, with a mechanism that switches the unit off when the guest exits the room.

    - Dispensers for soap and shampoo rather than the little plastic bottles.

    - Use kitchen waste for compost. Worms!

    - Use solar panels for power.

    All these sorts of measures are fairly easy to promote. As so many of the large hotels are parts of chains they can pass the buck upwards so the lobbying has to be done at corporate level, or at government level if you are looking to influence legislation.

    The real challenge comes when we look at the more serious issues, like the development of environmentally sensitive areas for tourist complexes (mangroves, virgin beaches etc), the use of scarce water resources to irrigate golf courses to name a couple. It is then that the big guns have to be wheeled out, and the argument that "no tourists will come to a place where all the natural beauty has been concreted over".

    I personally favour diversifying the tourist sector: there is a place for the huge complexes but the next phase has to be promotion of smaller scale hotels and B&Bs which operate in harmony with the environment and the community, instead of in conflict with them.

    Chiri

  3. #3
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    Default

    This afternoon I happened to learn of an initiative by the La Romana-Bayahibe Hotels Association, which includes Casa de Campo, Dominicus and five other major upmarket hotel complexes in the area. They are actively implementing a series of environmental policies, with a view to promoting themselves and the Dominican Republic as an environmentally friendly destination.

    There are internationally recognised certifications such as "Blue Flag" which is awarded to beaches for water quality and facilities, and "Green Globe" which is awarded for other environmental concerns such as waste management, energy and water use by the hotels.

    They are not overlooking the importance of involving the local community, and one area of their work is promotion of local artesania, by providing training and marketing for local people and their crafts.

    I have contact details of the association and will probably be following this up myself, and will report back with more details and ideas on how others can support/get involved in this sort of initiative.

    www.romanabayahibe.com

    Chiri

  4. #4
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    I would like to share how far is possible to go regarding environmental matters in hotels:

    1) Solar air conditioning is not only available but also the price is competing with conventional air-conditioning.
    2) Water treatment systems based on magnetic, solar and salt instead of chlorine. With these systems you could use sea water in the pool and the salt is turned into chlorine etc....
    3) Natural pest control with CO2 based systems
    4)Using toilet systems which precompost the human manure close to the source so you could compost without risk or feed the worms.
    5) Gardening and golf courses are one of the issues that worries me the most. One kilogram per month per square meter of chemical fertilizer is needed in other to keep the greens green but 70% of that seeps into the underground waters. Since most of the hotels are along the sea shore those chemicals end up in the sea killing the corals and the sea life. So a must in hotel gardening is to use natural organic fertilizers.

    Of course there are many more issues that need to be discussed and implemented. Feedback is welcome.

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by caco
    I would like to share how far is possible to go regarding environmental matters in hotels:

    1) Solar air conditioning is not only available but also the price is competing with conventional air-conditioning.
    Interesting. I've always been under the impression that certain types of solar power were actually 'expensive.' Can anyone back me up on this...?Or maybe I am mistakened.

    Something that came to mind just now: Wind Power. I'll read up on this more before posting anything additional.

    Leo

  6. #6
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    I am not up on the subject, but I am sure the solar air conditioning Caco refers to is NOT a conventional solar panel that converts light to energy and then runs a traditional air conditioning unit. That could work, it just wouldn't be cost effective.

    Conventional solar panels are still very expensive. There are changes on the horizon that could radically change the picture within a few years though producing lower efficiency panels that are far cheaper.

    What Caco is talking about would have to be something that operates more on the principle of gas powered refrigeration that uses heat to produce cool.

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by lhtown
    [effective.

    Conventional solar panels are still very expensive. There are changes on the horizon that could radically change the picture within a few years though producing lower efficiency panels that are far cheaper.

    What Caco is talking about would have to be something that operates more on the principle of gas powered refrigeration that uses heat to produce cool. [/B]

    First of all the new vacuuming solar systems are a lot better and do not have the old problems of the mineral build up. This together with the old absorption/ heat concept that ihton mentioned make the solar air conditioner viable. On one hand with solar panels now high temperature is reachable, and with the improvement the Swedes have reached in the mix of bitilium for absorption now this is posible not only for air conditioning but for a lot of the industrial use. I am thinking myself of building a refrigerated warehouse at 10o C for organic banana puree.
    Again you are welcome to come to my place to see the newer panels and understand why these create high heat
    at a very reasonable cost.
    Just take a look in google at "solar air conditioning" and you will be shocked.
    Last edited by Dolores; 12-19-2003 at 01:47 PM.

  8. #8
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    So, Chiri & Caco are the only DR1ers with thoughts about this issue???? Among all the 1,000's of people we have visiting this site that go to hotels & resorts???

    And some of my original questions posed never were addressed:


    * Are there any in the DR that already do a notable job of this?
    * How best can their sectoral group, Asonahores, support them in this?
    * What should the government role in such efforts be? Any? None? Actively promote? Stay out of the way?
    * Would there really be a substantial segment of tourists who would seek out & pay to stay in resorts that are certified as such?
    * How best to promote the hotels that make a good-faith effort?
    Chiri did mention the La Romana-Bayahibe Hotels Association's efforts, but are they alone? Should tourists who care about such issues simply avoid Puerto Plata, Sosua, Samana, Punta Cana, Barahona, Boca Chica & Juan Dolio??? If the hotels in those areas are actually doing something proactive, why don't they speak up, here and elsewhere on the internet? Wouldn't it help their competitiveness in some key market segments?

  9. #9
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    Another question: Should new resort developments be required to establish self-contained sanitation and waste treatment/disposal facilities up to international technical specs, and if so, how should that cost burden best be shared?

  10. #10
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    There is an eco-hotel in Barahona, the CoralSol Resort. I know it just from some articles, but I think it's great because the owners are local peoples inverting in green tourism just in this difficult part of the country.
    I'know that they use mostly local food, are keen on the waste treatment and use a special high-ceiling instead of air-conditioning (the same trick used by ancient south-italians > trulli)

    I was at Barahona some months ago, and I'was thinking all the time down there, that the better way to the development is a program on the micro-enterprises which teach locals how to start with family-guesthouses. In my country highschools organised courses to teach peasants how to start an enterprise like this - and I read something about this kind of courses in South America (Venezuela??) on the kiskeya website.

    There was a guy on DR1 wanting to help micro-enterprise creation(Handel?) ...

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