#WaterWise: World's biggest hotel group gives Western Cape water crisis management a thumbs up

2018-06-21 08:30 - Ethan Van Diemen
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the city of cape town from an aeiral view

(Photo: iStock)

Hospitality industry heavyweights in the Cape have gathered to let the country and the world know that they are open for business. The region, rocked by an unprecedented drought and water crisis has become a shining example for the world to emulate in how to adapt and build a sustainable tourism destination.

In a joint statement with Wesgro, Marriott International reiterated that it was ready to own the upswing as the city of Cape Town, and the Western Cape, gingerly emerge from a crisis that has been an albatross around the neck of the hospitality industry.

ALSO SEE: #WaterScarcity: Hanekom calls on travellers to keep saving water as Cape Town tops world's 20 most at risk cities

With collaboration and great effort being made by both the public and private sector, the region’s rapid and pragmatic response to the drought has shown the world that it is indeed possible to build a sustainable, water-wise destination. The data proves this, showing that the City of Cape Town has reduced its water usage by nearly 60%, setting a new global standard.

SEE: Cape Water Update: Water consumption reduced by 60% in 3 years, no Day Zero in 2018

Remarking on the strides that have been made in the Western Cape, Neal Jones, chief sales and marketing officer for the Middle East and Africa branches of Marriot International, sees responsible management of natural resources an integral part of their hotel operations.

“With the rise in unpredictable weather patterns, stresses on natural capital and resources, air and water quality issues, there is a need for a more conscious and proactive approach to environmental performance.”

With this mindful, reinvigorated approach to sustainable and water-wise tourism, confidence in the destination is on the up. A variety of water-wise initiatives have bolstered these feelings of confidence in the destination.

These initiatives include finding alternative water sources through non-public means, such as the installation of a desalination plant in The Westin Cape Town as well as increased awareness of water-sensible lifestyles for local residents and businesses.

SEE: #WaterScarcity: Best water-wise places to stay across SA

This firm commitment to resource management is made in conjunction with the conviction that visitors should definitely continue to visit Cape Town and the Western Cape and enjoy all of the experiences on offer. As world-class destinations, the city and province remain dedicated to enticing travellers from all over the world looking to explore, savour and enjoy what South Africa has.

Danny Bryer of Protea Hotels by Marriot affirmed this sentiment.

“We have acted with urgency to ensure that our businesses are visitor-ready, so it's time to come and see for yourself that the Cape is waiting. Throughout this period, we have coordinated as an industry to share the latest, expert information, and our current status is that the Cape is thriving.

“We’ve adapted to our new normal and we are pressing ahead both as individual businesses and collectively as an industry to ensure all-round sustainability,” says Bryer.

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These views were echoed by Michael Tollman of Cullinan Holdings as well as Keith Randall, CEO of the Hospitality Property Fund and Martin Wiest, CEO of Tourvest Destination Management.

Praising both locals and tourists who had contributed to the building of a sustainable and water-wise destination, Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO, says, “Cape Town and the Western Cape is setting a new global standard for water-wise tourism. Climate change is a reality in many places around the world, and we have shown that it is possible to adapt and grow, by working together and being sustainable.

"We encourage tourists from around South Africa and the world to experience our beautiful region - all of our jaw-dropping attractions and experiences are still here waiting for you.”

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