Unpacking Sustainability: Highlights from our finalists of the Sustainable Tourism Mauritius Awards 2022
Each of our winners and runners-up are leaders in their own right and offer something we can all learn from, in order to collectively create a better future and a better world. As part of this recognition program, we wanted to have their views on being part of the first edition of the Sustainable Tourism Mauritius Awards 2022 and showcase their efforts and inspire others to find new ways to embrace a structured sustainability initiative.
BEM Recycling has been dealing in the E-waste management for more than 20 years now. With our Zero-Landfill Policy, we have treated more than 2,000 tons of E-waste from various corporates, public bodies, households, NGO, hotels, and more. For example, we are in partnership with over 30 hotels/guest houses for their e-waste management.
We act as the shadow guys (back office) and by using our services, the hotel industry reflects its intention for developing and promoting a greener and sustainable Mauritius. We are very pleased to have received the Bronze Award in our category, which is for us a sizable recognition of our involvement in the circular economy and our contribution to the UN SDG.
MY POP-UP STORE
By winning the Silver distinction in the Handicraft and Local Product category, My Pop-Up Store as a social enterprise showed how important it is to support the Mauritian SMEs, Designers and Artisans by providing them with quality platforms of visibility to showcase their brands and products. The Hospitality sector must make room for more Mauritian Creativity, craftmanship and products in boutique hotels. My Pop-Up Store as a team can select, curate, and develop products which will meet the tourists’ expectations in all the experiential ways. Our aim is to give credibility and value to our Local talents. We seek for more collaboration with the Hospitality sector in creating with intent – developing products which will meet their brand identity, values, and sustainability goals, while embracing the ‘Made in Mauritius’ ! We wish the Mauritians to think Local, source Local, support Local. We believe we can define a framework where Good practices and Good Design combine for a sustainable Mauritius.
The prize we have won shows that local people are starting to get touched by our art and by the ecological message behind our brand. We are very happy about it, and we hope that this is just a start. We believe that we should differentiate our island destination from others. There are so many islands to visit worldwide, and I think that the Mauritian Soul is what tourists have to discover and not just a nice hotel situated on a pristine beach. We have to go back to our roots, and this includes the actions we are taking to save our nature.
We want Cypraea to continue its international ascendency and to become the pioneer in the luxury furniture market to help save the environment for the future generations.
See how we are doing it: www.cypraea.mu
ZERO POLLUTION E-BOAT
Our NGO (SPES Ltd) set out to show that it is possible to achieve ZERO POLLUTION in a boat and that petrol engines can be replaced by electrical ones with batteries charged by CLEAN, GREEN, GOD GIVEN renewable energy: SUN & WIND, through Solar Panels and vertical axis windmills eventually supplemented by a Kite under certain wind conditions.
Being a not-for-profit organisation, our Mode of Operation is unique, in that we run “paid for” ECO-BIO-HISTORICO cruises in the Grand Port area, the birthplace of our civilisation, in order to fund “Free” excursions for the underprivileged and handicapped members of our society.
Winning the First Prize in the Boat Operators section of the Sustainable Tourism Mauritius Awards 2022 has vindicated our approach and will provide us with a high professional profile locally and overseas. Tourists will have the opportunity to choose a “ZEN” experience on the water. NO NOISE…NO SMELL of PETROL…in a pristine environment breathing in some of the purest air in the world as the south easterlies blow all the way from the south pole having travelled over raging oceans without encountering any land mass along their way.
We also hope to have set an example to other boat operators and fishermen proving that CHANGE to a non-polluting propulsion method is possible.
We feel honoured and privileged to win the Gold Distinction Award in the Tour Operator and Tour Guide category. It catalyses the whole organisation to continue to positively change the way we conduct our business for a better and more responsible tourism policy.
Environmental considerations must be integrated into all spheres of national development planning and strategy. Quality education must be at the forefront, the protection of human health is paramount, infrastructure must be more resilient to the effects of climate change such as flood management and the protection of our marine and terrestrial ecosystems in the face of climate change.
Human must remain the centre of ecology. Government must grant support measures in this period of socio-economic crisis at all levels so as not to run the risk of regressing into poverty and indebtedness. We believe in developing equity in sharing the benefits of tourism and promoting community tourism.
FRANCOIS LEGUAT RESERVE
Receiving the Silver Award was a great satisfaction and consequently an additional motivation to improve our management to win the gold award. The impacts are numerous and the immediate one is a considerable increase in visibility of the Francois Reserve and the Rodrigues Destination. The Tourism industry is facing enormous challenges and the most important one is to address the issue of its carbon footprint. The Tourism Industry therefore has to re-invent itself by working more towards “Responsible and Sustainable Tourism” by ensuring a true human visitors’ experience. The future will only be successful if all our actions aim at reducing our impacts on the natural environment. This will be possible if continuous training of the personnel is integrated in the day-to-day management in order to ensure creative and innovative participations of visitors. Finally, it is becoming a must to work towards accreditation so that our efforts are recognized globally.
THE GOOD SHOP
We value the importance of this recognition which implies expertise of entities like Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) and under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, Sustainable Island Mauritius and the European Union. For us, it demonstrates a genuine national effort to formulate and encourage social and environmental impact of operators, namely in the tourism industry. We are grateful that our pioneering design thinking in circular consumption, research, and development in reaching a zero-waste activity and product development has first of all attracted the attention of the organisers. This award has put the light on 2 engaged brands REPAIR and RENEW by The Good Shop which are a continuity in our circular economy journey to increase our impact. In the case of RENEW, the brand exists to position us as solution providers in the transformation of what is considered as waste from operators into resources for the purpose of fulfilling our Employment, Education and Environment mission. TGS is engaged in building an ecosystem with all types of economic actors as we believe that industry change starts with a synergy of values and desired income. We are realistic about the fact that not all operators are called to become experts or practitioners of the circular economy in their main activity. By winning the best Handicraft / local made category we are able to reinforce and catalyse partnerships with the tourism sector to help in reaching sustainable targets for all stakeholders.
The Good Shop is not directly a tourism industry operator although in partnership with some main actors of this sector. From our perspective and interactions, we may say that the tourism industry is one of the most waste producing industries, be it from the exigencies of high and faultless standard of service, accommodation etc. The challenge would be to keep the level of Mauritius as travel destination and still be able to still think of integrating partnerships, operational decisions and strategies which will reduce extraction of virgin resources, use of existing raw material in the context of our insularity, all this converged towards impact benefit for the local communities.
We hope to become impact drivers in empowered employment, education which includes public and industry awareness and of course to increase the quantity of reused material and the number of items whose lives have been extended. We hope to showcase that it’s possible to create locally-made goods that ‘look good’ and are useful, but also ‘do good’ by reducing waste [by reusing materials that would have otherwise been thrown-away], helping to reduce natural resources over-extraction [by reusing materials that already exist], but that also have a positive impact on our local community [through local job creation, transparency in the fabrication process, but also by offering objects that contribute to empowered employment and education]. Through this, we hope to inspire others to realize that the goods we buy do have an impact on the world around us and hence to encourage better consumption and production. We hope also to continue to foster collaboration and partnerships in order to go toward a more circular economy all together.
ORIGIN ECO CHALET RODRIGUES
We, at Origin Eco Chalet Rodrigues, are so happy to be the Silver Distinction in our category.
It gives us more motivations to do the necessary changes to reach the Gold Distinction next year. We believe that there is always place for improvements. At Origin, we have thought everything trough to the smallest detail to minimise our carbon footprint. As the first eco chalet in Rodrigues Island, self-sufficiency and sustainable development are at the heart of everything we do.
We really hope to be able soon to produce our own electricity.
It shows that our hard work is being recognised and it is encouraging for us and our staff to continue on this path. We are excited about the future of our organisation and the changes we can bring to the region and the industry.
Our economy is very dependent on the Tourism industry and at the same time we are concerned about the impact of its activities on our environment and island. We should therefore do our best to ensure that we reduce our carbon footprint and can create a positive impact on the environment and surrounding communities.
We would like to be recognised as a sustainable actor in the leisure industry both locally and in the Indian ocean region. We are currently working on the Blue Oasis certification for Croisières Australes which is an international label recognised by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council). This label will show our commitment to our customers that we take sustainability at heart in our operations. We want to show other operators that they also can make the switch to a more sustainable way of operating, working with the communities around the island, for the future of the industry and the country.
Being a finalist in the last STM Awards 2022 is a great achievement and recognition for SummerTimes. The Award is very motivating for the Team, giving us the opportunity to further improve our processes and become an even more sustainable organisation. Going forward the Island needs to implement measures in order to face the effect of climate change leading to sea level rise and environmental degradation. We believe this is one of the most pressing issues facing the industry. In the years to come, we are committed to bring our valuable contribution to the island’s sustainable development and welfare.
Being among the first hotels of Mauritius being awarded the Sustainable Tourism Mauritius Awards 2022 gives Veranda Tamarin a real sense of achievement for its sustainability efforts, which have been in place since the re-opening of the hotel in 2018. At Veranda Tamarin, our guests experience sustainability in concept of the hotel in terms of the deco used in our restaurants and rooms. Through this prestige award, our sustainability initiatives are being recognized as being up to international level since the criteria of the award are associated with GSTC standards.
We make sure that our guests are aware of our accreditations and certifications. Together with Green Key, this award proves how Veranda Tamarin is engaged in offering eco-responsible hospitality services to its guests. It will make us more visible to guests looking for eco-hotels to spend their holidays as well as being a value-added aspect for boosting eco-tourism business, thus improving our financial and social status.
There are basically 2 fields that need to be addressed in the forthcoming future:
- On the environmental aspect, the tourism industry is highly dependent on the natural beauty of Mauritius. With climate change impacts, our environment is degrading at an alarming rate. Our beaches are eroded, and our marine ecosystems are disturbed by these changes. Despite being aware of the impacts of climate change, little is being done to mitigate the impacts of climate change, when it concerns implementation legislations and regulations. At the level of the tourism industry, there is a need for all stakeholders to join forces to find means and ways whereby they can work together to preserve, protect, and live in harmony with nature. It is through a collective effort that we can restore our natural assets.
- The second important issue is the social parameter when it concerns recruitment of people to join the hospitality sector. It requires providing opportunities to young people to learn the skills and acquire knowledge required to work in the tourism sector. Employability programs should target local and young people living around hotels so that they are empowered and improve their quality of life. With increasing number of youngsters leaving Mauritius to go to work on cruise ships, the tourism industry needs to urgently address the matter by making the industry more appealing, interesting and exciting for youngsters to work in the sector and contribute towards the local economy.
BEL OMBRE NATURE RESERVE
We are all extremely proud that our work at the Bel Ombre Nature Reserve has been recognised. Our concerted efforts over the past few years, and the work with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation as well as other partners in the UNESCO Man & the Biosphere Nature Reserve has helped create awareness around sustainability and conservation efforts. However, there is still a long way to go and we are excited to continue this work.
The tourism industry is a crossroads right now, with the need to reinvent the way we interact with travellers and tourists. The younger generations are more in tune with the natural environment and are looking for ways to either learn more about the cultures and communities in the countries they visit, or even to contribute to conservation efforts. It is important for us to cater to these changing needs and invite them in to discover our island, beyond the beaches, and its wonderful people.
Through our work with partners in the field of nature conservation, we want more people locally and around the world to be aware of the Bel Ombre Nature Reserve and to continue to showcase how such partnerships can help not only the tourism industry, but the environment, the communities, and the country.
The team is overwhelmed by the nomination and Award at the Sustainable Tourism Mauritius Award ceremony. For sure it is satisfying that our way of working and respect to Mother Nature is recognized but for me it’s an encouragement for the future as this Award is just the right motivation for us to move even further towards a more sustainable Tourism Industry and to face the challenges that this will impose on us.
The more pressing issues right now to achieve our goals in Sustainable Mauritius is definitely and broad conscientisation of our population to the fact that each and every Mauritian has his / her role to play in Conservation of our nature – starting in schools, universities, and the public at large. If each and every one of us takes that little step forward, then it will be a giant leap for our small island.
For us a Boat Operator, the next step ahead would definitely be to find alternative Fuel sources that would be more eco-friendly. A good example would be the use of LPG to run our engines (which is used widely around the world and on which we are actively working right now and planning to “test” in the coming weeks/months). The ideal solution would be definitely to move to Electric Engines running with Solar Energy but for now this represents a high-cost burden in Mauritius. Keeping in mind that both the LPG and Solar Electric Engines are widely used and recognized safe worldwide, they have yet to be introduced and used to replace the actual fossil fuel engines we are “used” to in Mauritius.
LA VIEILLE CHEMINEE
We are very proud of this achievement; it gives our team members additional motivation to concentrate our efforts towards a more sustainable way of life in our Organisation and in the nearby village of Chamarel.
The fact that the Mauritius Tourism Authority recognises Sustainability as an important aspect of our Tourism gives us confidence in the future of this industry. We do hope it encourages every actor of the Mauritian tourism to work towards a more sustainable and cleaner Mauritius, which we will proudly share with our foreign visitors.
Being a finalist at the Sustainable Tourism Mauritius Awards 2022 is a testimony of our commitment to this honorable project. Moreover, it was a great honour, to be the first DMC in Mauritius to obtain the first national Ecolabel certification, Blue Oasis. It is a sign of recognition for all our efforts and achievements as a team, during the Sustainable journey we began four years ago. A holistic and sustainable work culture has bolstered each team member towards a new approach in their everyday duties conveying more value to the services we offer.
Having been fully involved in the whole national Sustainable Development Program, we, as active players will continue striving to leave our handprint on our island’s environment while keeping in mind the growth of our business.
One of the main areas of concern we need to address is to involve the local population on board this Sustainable journey. Our main assets being our small, beautiful island and its people, we need to strive towards one common goal: ensuring that each Mauritian is fully aware of their own implications and engagements to keep our island clean and to respect our flora and fauna. Besides, locals must be encouraged to continue delivering meaningful encounters and experiences to our tourists whenever possible. This project should become a national commitment.
Beach erosion, protection of our endemic and endangered species, marine conservation must remain our main focuses to attain a greener Mauritius.
Today, as the proud holders of the national Ecolabel certification, Blue Oasis, we encourage all Mauritian Tourism stakeholders to follow the Sustainable Management System as it is essential to create and generate THE positive impact now and for years to come.
Through our initiatives and projects, we wish to successfully involve and inspire our partners, local and foreign, in achieving the Mauritius Island Sustainability goals.
It is indeed a great motivator for us to commit further into sustainable development, a strategic commitment established since the creation of the group in 2008.
Our brand strategy has, from the outset, been designed around people and our Mauritian authenticity. When we speak about authenticity, we also encompasses the protection of our beautiful paradise island. It is important to maintain the pride of welcoming tourists to our country.
In 2019, we reinforced this commitment by launching our Positive Impact Movement. We have become a company with a mission and a vision. We offer stays that support the local economy, preserve the environment and support local communities.
This recognition certainly inspires us to go even further.
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Improving Sustainaible Tourism In Mauritius through Greening the Value Chain of Tour Operators (SUS-ISLAND) is a Switch Africa grand project funded by the European Commission and led by Mauritius Tourism Authority. Its objective is to promote sustainaible tourism in Mauritius by demonstration and scaling up a self-sustaining mechanism for improving sustainaibility impacts along the value chain improving awareness and market of sustainaible tourism products.