The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) has awarded its first three certified tourism establishments with their sustainable label certificates on Saturday, 29 September, during the grand annual Seychelles Ball that took place at the Constance Ephelia Resort.
The first three tourism establishments to have made the move and be certified by the SSTL for integrating sustainability practices into their business operations are Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino, Hanneman’s Holiday Residence and Constance Ephelia Resort. On hand to present the three hospitality operators with their SSTL certificates was the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange. He presented the three enterprises with their certificates in the presence of the Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive Elsia Grandcourt and Chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, Louis D’Offay, along other guests of the evening.
Adopted first by the Ministry of Tourism and now the Seychelles Tourism Board, the SSTL is a sustainable tourism management and certification programme designed specifically for use in Seychelles. The concept of developing such a label originated from the Ministry of Tourism in the preparation of Vision 21.
The SSTL encourages hotels in Seychelles to mainstream sustainability practices into their operations with the aim of safeguarding the biodiversity and culture of the country.
Applicable to hotels of all sizes, the SSTL is voluntary, user-friendly, and designed to inspire more efficient and sustainable ways of doing business. It is a third-party assessed, points-based certification scheme.
In order to be certified by the SSTL, a hotel needs to demonstrate that it has adopted a minimum number of sustainable business practices, some of which are requirements while others are optional.
To achieve the SSTL, participating hotels need to meet three basic criteria: fulfil the 24 “must” criteria, achieve a minimum score for each theme - 5 points for small establishments (1-24 rooms), 6 points for medium sized enterprises (25 to 50 rooms) and 7 points for large enterprises (51+ rooms), and score an additional six points in any area.
The set of standards is made up of the following eight themes: Management, Waste, Water, Energy, Staff, Conservation, Community and Guests.
“We are indeed very happy to be one of the hotel operators to have received the first certificate of Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label from the Minister of Tourism and Culture,” expressed Mr Choo.
“This year’s theme ‘Powering Sustainable Development’ is very relevant because as the global business environment becomes more challenging, we as hotel operators have to swiftly adopt various sustainable practices in order to maintain our competitive advantage,” he explained.
On a similar note, owners of the Hanneman Holiday Residence, Mr Heinkelein and Mrs Harutunian have said they are grateful that this initiative has been introduced by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
“More and more guests and visitors will acknowledge, appreciate and support this initiative as Seychelles is at the forefront and contributing towards a sustainable Seychelles and a greener world,” added the owners of Hanneman Holiday Residence.
The Constance Ephelia Resort on its part has said that they feel that being an SSTL certified hotel will offer more significant benefits to the eco-image of their resort by showcasing them amongst the first responsible hotels of Seychelles.
“In making our efforts and achievements public, we will better encourage eco-travellers to spend their holidays with us. We will continue to mainstream sustainability into our day-to-day operation, bring value to our community and the clients we serve and continue to add value to our resort through effective eco-practices,” affirmed the management of the Constance Ephelia Resort.
Application for the SSTL was launched earlier on June 1, 2012. Hotels are encouraged to do their internal audits to ensure that they meet the ‘Must’ criteria before making an application. The result of the internal audit must be attached to the letter of application.
Technical assistance and one on one meetings can be arranged with the SSTL manager, Sinha Levkovic, to assist the applicants in better understanding the criteria requirements prior to applications.