On 6 October, at the Opening Ceremony of the 78th Skål World Congress in Hyderabad, India, Cape Town’s Vineyard Hotel was announced the winner of the international Skål Sustainable Tourism Awards in the Urban Category. On 6 October, at the Opening Ceremony of the 78th Skål World Congress in Hyderabad, India, Cape Town’s Vineyard Hotel was announced the winner of the international Skål Sustainable Tourism Awards in the Urban Category.
Three independent experts in sustainability, judged entrants from 28 countries according to a series of criteria including nature preservation, carbon offsetting, climate change mitigation, human rights protection, local employment, etc.
Judges were impressed with the sustainable journey the owners and management of the Vineyard Hotel have undertaken since 2006. Said Chris van Zyl, Group Environmental Manager and Horticulturist, “We are honoured to win this prestigious award for a second time. We will continue to commit ourselves to sustainability and fair-trade practises.”
Since 2006 staff and friends of the Vineyard have committed time and resources to clearing invasive plants from a 8.5 hectare area at Silvermine, in the Table Mountain National Park. River and beach clean-ups are also undertaken. The hotel’s 7.5 acre garden is maintained using natural, eco-friendly principles. As a result, owls have made their homes in the boxes in the garden and many birds and animals, including a spotted genet, visit this urban oasis. The hotel also has permits to look after 12 indigenous tortoises that have been dropped off by members of the public.
Two renewable energy projects are in place: a 20kW 80 panel installation and a 60 panel PVT solar and PV combined installation generating 15kWp electrical and 75kWp thermal energy. Nearly all lights are LEDs, a pool cover was installed on our heated indoor pool, timers on external lights, central control of air conditioners in conferencing, efficient hot water storage, airconditioner controls in rooms, efficient laundry and dishwasher facilities. Green energy certificates are procured from the City of Cape Town to offset the energy component of the Vineyard’s conference centre. On average we are recycling 92% of our waste.
The Western Cape is experiencing the worst drought in 100 years, and significant reduction in water consumption was required. In January 2017, our highest daily usage was 148 kilolitres. We implemented changes starting with installing 28 meters to monitor consumption. Guests were asked to participate ¬– we removed the bath plugs, installed shower timers, stepped up maintenance and repairs to leaks, and implemented other interventions. As a result, we are using 75 kilolitres per day – a 50% saving – with our lowest daily consumption rate being 47 kilolitres.
In 2016 our staff attended 6 550 hours of training, divided over more than 40 training interventions, with a food & beverage service skills programme. This programme was also open to unemployed learners who, with their newly acquired skills, can apply for positions in-house and elsewhere. Last year the Vineyard also offered 15 learnerships, 22 internship placements and 18 in-house traineeships, with 12 trainees enrolled for culinary arts through SACA and 6 studying towards a hospitality management qualification through the International Hotel School and CPUT. Furthermore, the hotel is a regular host to matric students plotting their career after school by offering job shadow opportunities in various departments (75 candidates in 2016).
The hotel is certified a Fair Trade Tourism property, and has focused outreach efforts via their Kids of the Cape Project, which supports a number of organisation.
The Skål Sustainable Tourism Awards aim to highlight sustainable tourism, which is defined as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.
Skål International (the largest worldwide organization of travel and tourism professionals) is an affliated member of the the UNWTO, whose mission is to promote the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.