The Constance Ephelia resort in Seychelles is recognized as the Indian Ocean's leading green resort, a fact the hotel attributes to the establishment's green initiatives and the involvement of guests and the community.
The resort, located in the western Mahe district of Port Launay, keeps the staff and guests involved in all sustainable tourism activities.
Markus Ultsch-Unrath, the health, safety and environmental project manager said it can be a challenge to keep employees and guests in the green mindset.
He said, however, that the resort "keeps creating awareness and allowing them to get involved in projects, so they may be more inclined to follow in this philosophy."
The resort was voted the Indian Ocean's leading green resort at the World Travel Awards in July. Last month, the Constance Hotels, Resorts and Golf group which include Ephelia and Lemuria from Seychelles, was awarded the Green Globe certification for the fourth consecutive year.
Green Globe is the global certification that assesses the sustainability performance of travel and tourism businesses and their supply chain partners.
Ultsch-Unrath said that engaging the Seychellois community in their project was another important step.
"Getting the community to protect the environment through sustainability tours is another activity we do at the hotel. We have had many schools, wildlife clubs and researchers visit us."
Every year about 500 people from the community visit the hotel on sustainability tours where visitors can see the hotel's efforts at rehabilitating the mangrove plants, cleaning the areas around the hotel and scientific research.
Water and energy waste management are two initiatives Ephelia is proud of. The resort has its own sewage and water treatment plant as well as a bottling plant for drinking water. The resort keeps finding ways to reduce its fossil fuel use and has installed solar panels at the bottling plant.
Ultsch-Unrath said, "We are already sending our PET bottles, food waste and scrap metal to recycling plants and factories in Seychelles, but it would be great if there were more recycling facilities, so as to reduce more of our waste."
The Ephelia project manager hopes that the government of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, and other private companies can help by creating new and diverse recycling plants.
Ephelia Resort is happy with their high standards and Ultsch-Unrath said, "What is important now is to preserve these standards. For the future, however, we will keep finding new ways to improve on these."
On the subject of the importance of tourism, Ultsch-Unrath said, "If you are not sustainable, you are automatically wasting money."
He added that: "We managed to reduce our waste by 10 tons per month through recycling and this has saved us about SCR50,000 ($3,670) to SCR60,000 ($4,400) by paying less disposal costs and we even received possibly another SCR50,000 ($3,670) in return for recycling things such as PET bottles."
Ephelia Resort said that receiving the green certification also attracts more tourists to the establishment.