Here at Bucuti, we make no secret about our commitment to the environment. Luckily, we are not alone. The United Nations has designated 2017 as the International Year for Sustainable Tourism of Development. During this period, the World Tourism Organization is focused on promoting eco-friendly travel programs, engaging local communities, and preserving culture and natural resources around the world. Additionally, more travelers are actively seeking to minimize their impact on the planet, counteract the use of fossil fuels required by air travel, and leave a positive mark on the destinations they visit.
Unfortunately, greenwashing is a real issue, as some hotels exaggerate the impact of their environmental programs. Green hotel programs are positioned as an easy way for guests to help save the earth, but you may be left wondering how much of a difference they really make.
Do green hotel programs actually affect the greater good of our planet? Can one person’s environmentally conscious behavior help combat major issues like climate change, or are green programs simply a creative way to benefit a hotel’s bottom line?
Linen re-use programs are the most common green initiatives implemented by hotels, allowing guests to forgo daily laundry service for the sake of the environment. There is no denying that the less laundry a hotel has to process, the more money it saves on water and energy costs. These expenses can be significant, especially on an island like Aruba where freshwater is scarce. While reusing your towels may seem like a small effort, it can mean a lot, and not just in terms of dollars and cents. There’s no getting around it, water is a precious resource and mindful conservation is one step we can take toward a healthier planet.
A full-fledged commitment to environmental sustainability, however, goes beyond towels and linens. The best green hotel programs require investment – in capital and through the support and contributions of associates and guests.
At Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, our green program is built around guest participation and community involvement, not simply cost savings.
Studies have shown that when given the option to participate in eco-friendly hotel programs, the majority of guests will opt-in. In fact, hotel guests who participate in green programs are often more satisfied with their stay than those who do not. Better yet, when a guest’s environmental views align with a hotel’s, being green feels less like a sacrifice and more like a positive lifestyle choice.
We offer plenty of opportunities for our guests to take an active role in Bucuti’s environmental programs.
For example, each guest receives a branded canteen as a welcome gift that can be used throughout their stay to reduce consumption of plastic water bottles. Plastic is not recyclable on the island, so limiting single-use containers can make a big difference. We host a monthly beach clean-up where our guests can join associates to comb a mile of Eagle Beach, collecting trash and debris and helping maintain the natural environment for the sake of visitors, locals, and the marine life that inhabits the area. Guests who choose to forgo housekeeping service receive a $5 nightly credit. We also make it easy for guests to offset their carbon footprint by purchasing renewable energy credits from Native Energy.
We make long-term investments to institute operational practices with proven results.
While some of our eco-friendly initiatives save money, we also spend money on programs that make a real impact on the environment and have been doing so for decades – long before it was en vogue. Solar panels generate 20 percent of the energy we use. Our grey water recycling system takes used water from showers, sinks, and washing machines and makes it viable for maintaining our grounds. Water-saving faucets and toilets also help, as restrooms are the biggest culprit of water usage in hotels.
We actively participate in membership-based organizations that evaluate our performance.
We are proud of our eco-friendly certifications including LEED Silver, Green Globe Platinum, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, and Travelife Gold. Each year, we invest money so these organizations can independently evaluate our practices. As part of this process, we have maintained our designations for many consecutive years and have also received top honors such as being named the "Most Sustainable Hotel in the World" by Green Globe in 2016.
By simply choosing Bucuti, you are already actively working toward a more responsible stay. While one person can not save the world on his own, every little effort we collectively take can do good and can encourage others to do the same. We hope you will consider participating in our environmental programs during your time in Aruba. More information about our eco-friendly efforts and accolades can be found here. If you are interested in learning more about the current state of sustainable travel, this recent article by The New York Times is a worthwhile read. If you have any specific questions, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With peace, love, and happiness…naturally.