Destination Check Cyprus: In our Destination Check series we invite leading sustainable tourism experts to share their thoughts on the current state of sustainability in tourist destinations around the world. Cyprus has recently made headlines for taking bold actions to enhance its sustainability as a destination, by implementing a mandatory sustainability standard for its hotels – a world’s first, tells us Salli Felton, Chief Executive of UK Charity the Travel Foundation.
Part of a wider program of reforms initiated by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), this small island in the Mediterranean sea now requires every hotel to take action to protect the environment and support its local community.
Together with the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI) and supported by the Travel Foundation, Cyprus is on a mission to position itself as a leading destination for sustainable tourism, which will benefit its competitiveness and reputation.
Cyprus hotel sustainability criteria
The sustainability standards for hotels in Cyprus cover a range of criteria, including:
- Reducing energy, water and chemical use, and the amount of waste generated;
- Training staff and having a “green team” responsible for sustainability issues;
- Sourcing local goods and services where possible;
- Promoting authentic Cypriot food and entertainment;
- Supporting local charities and community initiatives.
The CTO’s inspectors check sustainability compliance as part of their general assessment of quality standards. As the sustainability performance of hotels improves over time, the standards will be reviewed and revised, in order to move the Cypriot hotel sector towards best practice in the long-term.
Salli Felton: “It’s fantastic to support Cyprus with this world-first. Their commitment to implementing minimum sustainability standards for hotels has created a national framework that will ensure sustainability is business as usual rather than an optional extra. This step change will see Cyprus leading the way where other destinations are sure to follow.”
An earlier version of this post was published on Sustainability-Leaders.com.
Enjoyed this reflection on the current state of destination development and tourism sustainability in Cyprus? Spread the word!