24 Dec 2012
Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed hotels, gaming and entertainment group Tsogo Sun, along with hotels, Riverside Sun Resort in Vanderbijlpark as well as the Sandton Sun and InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers, won five of the total nine awards at the 2012 Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards.
Riverside Sun took the overall winner award selected from the eight category winners.
The 11th Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards programme, organised by the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) in association with the National Department of Tourism acknowledges tourism businesses that demonstrate sustained responsible practice in their operations.
It looks at their natural, social and economic environments, and is recognised as having had a huge impact on tourism in South Africa, creating significant awareness of environmental management issues in the industry.
Riverside Sun Resort, located on the banks of the Vaal River, a few kilometres away from Vanderbijlpark, also won the Best Single Resource Management Programme – Energy Management, and the Best Single Resource Management Programme – Water Management awards.
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The property has undertaken a huge drive to green itself since mid-2010 and improved from a pending Silver Heritage Rating to Gold in a short period of 12 months, which it retained and improved in the following 12 month period.
The main focus of Riverside’s environmental committee over the past two years has been to identify action and maintain key environmental impacts associated with its day to day operations.
This has seen changes being made to the way it operates, communicates and manages the property to create a sustainable future for the resort.
Through various projects and programmes, the property has shown a vast improvement in its waste, water and energy consumptions.
While occupancy year-on-year (y/y) increased by 11 percent, water consumption only increased by 5 percent (6 percent saving), energy consumption only increased by 6.5 percent (4.5 percent saving) and separated waste recycling showed a 12.6 percent y/y increase.
The Most Empowered Tourism Business award is given to a group that has addressed the issues of empowerment and has contributed to a globally competitive, demographically representative tourism industry.
Among the initiatives undertaken by Tsogo Sun, which serve as leading examples for empowerment in South Africa, are the Tsogo Sun Academy created to transfer skills to employees from previously disadvantaged communities, the Tsogo Sun Book-a-Guesthouse entrepreneurial development programme which provides business support to women in the South African tourism industry, procurement policies which sees R2.6 billion worth of goods and services purchased from black economically empowered businesses annually; and an overall strategy that is based on the fundamental desire to do the right thing.
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The Sandton Sun and InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers share a common Environmental Management System (EMS) and were judged together.
Having integrated the EMS into their hotel operations, both hotels went from a certified Silver status in 2010/2011 to a Platinum pending status (96 percent) in July 2012 from the Heritage Environmental Management Company, showing an overall EMS improvement of 39 percent within 24 months, with 19 percent in the past 12 months.
This continuous improvement is a result of regular monitoring and measuring of its resource management and overall performance, as well as the introduction of Heritage Eco and Resource Calculator tools to measure hotel carbon footprint, among other improvements.
Graham Wood, managing director of Tsogo Sun hotels says these awards embody the principles behind the group’s SunCares programme and the desire to hold responsible tourism in the highest regard.
“We believe that the more responsible we are, the more likely we are to extend awareness of the need to protect our global environment to every guest who comes through any one of Tsogo Sun’s doors.”
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