Jubilant sustainable tourism campaigners in Aruba are celebrating one of its leading resorts becoming the first carbon neutral hotel in the Caribbean.
This environmental global standard has been bestowed on the Dutch Caribbean island's Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, one of the leading adults-only properties on renowned Eagle Beach.
The award is a major coup for Aruba, which has a number of sustainable tourism initiatives in the pipeline and whose government has set a target of making the island fossil fuel-free by 2020.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is featured by a number of UK tour operators, making it an easy option for UK travellers. With the property providing a net zero carbon standard, those guests leave no footprint, but can go home with a memorable, guilt-free vacation.
Ewald Biemans, owner and CEO of Bucuti & Tara and passionate environmentalist, has steadfastly woven sustainable practices throughout the resort's policies and culture since opening in 1987. Recognised as the Caribbean's most eco-certified resort, Bucuti & Tara was the first ISO 14001 certified hotel in the Americas, the first in the Caribbean to achieve LEED Silver certification and has been named the World's Most Sustainable Hotel/Resort by Green Globe. Other awards include being named TripAdvisor's No. 1 Hotel for Romance in the Caribbean for 2018.
Biemans himself has received multiple awards as a green leader, including being the Caribbean Journal's Green Hotelier of the Year and last year he was the first-ever individual to receive Leader in Sustainability Gold Adrian Award from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and National Geographic Traveler, an honour previously only awarded to organisations. He is often called upon for public speaking engagements and expert insight about sustainability.
Initiatives at the Bucuti & Tara span the simple to the complex with every resort service being scrutinised and improved upon. Giving every guest a reusable water canteen has resulted in keeping 290,000 single-use plastic water bottles annually from landing in Aruba's landfill. Offering healthier portions provided guests with more sensible – and desirable - serving sizes, with a by-product of reducing food waste by 30 per cent. The resort installed the island's largest solar panel system - the maximum the government would allow.
Ewald Biemans explained: 'Our guests have chosen Aruba for our naturally beautiful beaches, stunning turquoise waters and the happy, healthy island community. We must protect and preserve our environment on a meaningful level to deliver this experience in the future.
'I believe the hard work, passion and dedication of our sustainability team to achieve carbon neutrality will inspire others to consider similar action.'