Five eco-lodges get ‘Green Destination’ award, certification
Atta Rainforest Lodge, Caiman House Eco Lodge, Iwokrama River Lodge, Karanambu Eco Lodge and Rewa Eco Lodge on Tuesday all received their Green Destination award and certificate from the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA).
These five local destinations were recognised for their hard work and resilience in promoting sustainable and responsible development in the sector.
The certification is a reflection of best practices, adequate health and safety protocols and environmentally friendly systems.
It will also allow Guyanese tourism service providers to raise the bar for their operations.
The certificates were awarded following a pilot programme – Good Travel Seal Programme under Green Destinations – that is being facilitated by the GTA in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce.
Eudele Edwin, a representative from Atta Lodge, located in the heart of Guyana’s Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve, spoke about the decision to go green.
“Atta Rainforest did not just participate in this project because we want to win or prove to our tour operators that we are approved or acquired the travel seal; we are in this to help prevent climate change, preserve the world and make it a better and safer place,” Edwin related.
A few years ago, Atta Lodge pledged a no-plastic policy and Edwin said this has been challenging.
“We thought it was a very good and easy task but in reality, it was very challenging. We not only had to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles, but also plastic garbage bags, sanitary food boxes, plastic bags and even sanitary cups and plastic straws.”
She said with limited or no replacement for these items, it has been difficult. Nevertheless, Atta Lodge is on track “by ensuring that the rainforest and wildlife roam around freely and is protected.”
All materials for furniture and repairs, as well as food items such as meat and vegetables, are provided by locals. Atta Lodge also implemented no smoking, no littering and no hunting zones.
Meanwhile, Dane Gobin the chief executive officer of Iwokrama River Lodge, said he was elated that the Iwokrama was selected to be part of the certification programme.
Gobin said Iwokrama is also ready to assist any institution to improve their tourism products and experiences and is partnering with the GTA to further develop tourism in Guyana.
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond also spoke at the event and urged other businesses to get certified.
“Our very existence as a tourism destination will depend on our certification and certifications like these,” Walrond said.
The Minister said certification is necessary for local businesses to expand and grow.
She explained that Destination Guyana is a particular focus for the government which has committed to ensuring that Guyana’s tourism products are sustainable.