Greener World: the Bahamas

White sandy beaches. Palm trees. Turquoise waters. The sun beaming down on our browning skin. More often than not – this is the picture the average person will paint when dreaming up an ideal getaway. Time and time again, the Bahamas has been the perfect place to kick back and relax. Let a load off. Spend time with your loved ones. Make memories in tropical paradise.

Fortunately for those of us who are keen that all things stay green – the hotels and resorts of the Bahamas have warmed to the idea of their lavish accommodations being eco-friendly. It may have meant a change of outlook on how the business is run – an altered perspective that brings the focus back to the basics on how things are done, but the outcome has become astronomical. More and more people these days are seeking out travel options that take the pressure off our environment and the accommodation locations in the Bahamas are cashing in.

Take the Peace and Plenty Resort in Exuma. Having “implemented everything from a towel and linen reuse program, ecologically sound cleaning and laundry products, … waterless urinals in the men’s public bathroom, recycling and use of recycled paper products” (Exuma Properties, 2010), the Peace and Plenty resort appears to be something environmentalists may dream of. It even “has a specialized wastewater system, and the water is all heated using solar water heaters. The resort also boasts using rain water catch systems and photo-voltaic electricity for energy” (Hovey, 2011). Having an ocean view has never been so great. The Peace of Plenty doesn’t just stop there either. They are also passionate about educating their guests on the benefits of being eco-friendly by asking “guests to buy carbon credits on their website to offset the carbon produced by travelling to Exuma and as well as having a guest rebate program for any guest contributing to the Exuma Foundation, the local 501(c)3 charity that is dedicated to helping Exumian people have a better life” (Exuma Properties, 2010). Hard to believe that a guest can contribute to this much environmental support just by going on a holiday.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), has previously stated that “ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the welfare of local people” (The Out Islands of the Bahamas, 2012). Why wouldn’t a person want to be a part of that? How good would it be if every person who went on a family vacation, on a holiday getaway or even their honeymoon did the extra bit of research to ensure that every step of the way was an eco-friendly one? What if just by taking a break from our hectic lives we were actually able to change the world we live in? What if those two weeks off we have every year were put towards some good use? It could happen – actually it may already be. Though “ecotourism is still new to the tourism industry, it’s growing up to 34 percent; three times faster than the tourism industry as a whole” (The Out Islands of the Bahamas, 2012).

The Bahamas has caught onto this and so has The Out Islands of the Bahamas. Being an online company, they are at the “forefront of globally responsible ecotourism” (The Out Islands of the Bahamas, 2012) by providing an eco-friendly resource for anyone interested in travelling to the Bahamas. All of the resorts and hotels advertised with The Out Islands of the Bahamas are considered to be some of the higher quality eco-friendly accommodation choices of the islands. Definitely worth checking out at: http://www.myoutislands.com

Other than the Peace and Plenty resort, there are many others in the Bahamas that are following the same path. Places like Small Hope Bay Lodge, Andros Island and Fernandaz Bay Village have focused their energies on providing eco-friendly tours as well as installing energy-efficient light bulbs and solar power systems. Solar power has become a popular feature to many resorts and hotels between helping to heat the water or lighting a guest’s pathway among the palm trees.

Just like in our personal lives, the tourism industry is making a change for the better in small steps. Not only are accommodation locations beginning to see a change by saving money in reducing their energy costs or recycling paper at the reception desks, but they’re beginning to see happier and healthier guests as well. And isn’t that what we’re all after when we take a trip away from the everyday mundane?

Bibliography

Exuma Properties. (2010, March 26). Eco Tourism in The Bahamas. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from Exuma Properties: http://exumaproperties.wordpress.com/tag/green-vacations-in-bahamas/

Hovey, L. (2011, March 3). The Top Eco Friendly Hotels Around the Globe. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from Yahoo Voices: http://voices.yahoo.com/the-top-eco-friendly-hotels-around-globe-7970376.html

Info Please. (2005). Bahamas. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from Info Please: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107309.html

Peace and Plenty. (2012). Home. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from Peace and Plenty: http://www.peaceandplenty.com/en/index.html

The Out Islands of the Bahamas. (2012). Out Island Eco Friendly Resorts and Hotels. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from The Out Islands of the Bahamas: http://www.myoutislands.com/natural-vacations/eco-travel.cfm

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