Following up on our May 26 story on the growing phenomenon of green tourism in the Caribbean, we chatted with Guido Bauer, CEO of Green Hotel Certification, to learn more about this increasing niche. Bauer’s company is one of several that certifies agents, operators and hotels as green specialists.
Guido Bauer is CEO of Green Hotel Certification
“The secret is going to be to differentiate those who are serious about the environment and those who just want to use the word ‘green,’” he says. “Recently Coco Tours, a major ground operator in the Dominican Republic decided to commit to a Green Certification. This will be a standard in the near future.”
Prior to becoming the CEO of his company three years ago, Bauer was a sustainable advisor for various hotels and airlines for 15 years. Since joining Green Hotel Certification and touring different destinations and facilities to see which fit the green bill, he says Barbados is by far ahead of the pack with more legit green hotels than any other Caribbean island.
“The market leader in the Caribbean is without a doubt Barbados,” he asserts. “Almost 20 hotels are either certified or under certification at the moment.”
“A Green Certification will have the same decision factor as free wireless or free breakfast,” he says. “Travelers are becoming more and more aware of green standards and will pick destinations as well as hotel and ground services by certification.”
To date, Bauer has certified about five operators and an array of hotels throughout the Caribbean but has yet to be able to tap into the agent market.
“We’re really hoping for that to change,” he says. “Once we get a few agents, the rest will follow. Having that next to your name will make agents a ton of money from clients looking to travel to green hotels or destinations. The problem is that the hospitality as well as tour operator industry has not fully understood the scope of the green business. With a Green Certification, hotels as well as tour operators will attract new and better business.”
The Green Standard
Bauer says a practice that is considered standard in Europe will most likely follow suit in the U.S. Whether it’s the influence of Al Gore or hotels just trying to compete with one another over the selling point, the desire to meet green requirements has become a must for pretty much any tourism professional throughout the world.
“Major European tour operators won’t even consider hotels without a green program,” he says. “A Green Hotel Certification will become standard over the next two to three years in the Americas. Almost all destinations on this continent now try to benefit from green tourism. It used to be Costa Rica only, but now every single country and island offers green as an alternative.”
To contact Bauer about how to become green certified, agents should call 310-929-7460 or e-mail [email protected].