Princess Heights awarded Green Key Eco-Label

POSTED: 02/23/15 1:03 AM

St. Maarten -The Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) awarded Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel with the first and only Green Key Eco-Label certification in St. Maarten, solidifying St. Maarten’s reputation as a destination that is serious about the environment.

“Here at Princess Heights, we’ve been using Green Key guidelines as a model for best practices for many years,” said Emil Lee, General Manager of Princess Heights.  “If ‘being green’ translated to higher prices, it would not be sustainable for businesses to make green choices. We believe that the Green Key model is straightforward, good for the environment, good for the island and good for tourism,” Lee continued. International Green Key Director Finn Thomsen of the non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which owns and runs the program, was on hand to mark the hotel’s Green Key inauguration.  This was the first inauguration he has attended in the Caribbean.  Thomsen said he was “pleased that everything he had hoped for was in compliance” during a mock audit of the hotel earlier that day.

In order for Princess Heights to qualify for Green Key Eco-label certification, the hotel had to meet the following assessment criteria: environmental management; staff involvement; water; washing and cleaning; waste; energy; food and beverage; indoor environment; parking areas; green activities; and administration. Green Key is currently the largest global eco-label for accommodations recognized and supported by the World Tourism Organization and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).  More than 2,300 hotels and other sites in 46 countries have been awarded with the Green Key Eco-Label. Establishments are certified after fulfilling a host of requirements and are expected to adhere to more guidelines as time goes on.  Princess Heights became certified through Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), the program’s national operator.  EPIC became a FEE associate member in 2008, with the help of the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau, and is set to become a full-fledged member in the coming months. St. Maarten is the third Caribbean country to implement the Green Key program, after Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic however the island is currently the only country in the Dutch Caribbean to have a Green Key location.  The Green Key Eco-Label has become an international symbol of quality recognized by governments, non-governmental organizations and tour operators and is used for the promotion of the awarded property.

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) at the end of January to recognize FEE’s Green Key program in the Caribbean as well as CHTA’s sustainability initiatives.

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