Speaking ahead of the 2022 Arabian Travel Market, Andrew Spearman, Managing Director of Six Senses Zighy Bay, highlighted how a growing number of guests are booking resorts that have green initiatives in place as part of their commitment to sustainable trips.
For resorts, looking at sustainability from the top down can be costly and resource intensive when it comes to getting to a place of true understanding and implementation.
However, one thing is certain, says Andrew Spearman, Managing Director of Six Senses Zighy Bay, there is no reason to hide from sustainable travel and ecotourism – it is no longer a trend or a marketing gimmick. , it is now a necessity.
As a brand, the Six Senses is built on sustainability with memorable hospitality experiences developed around it, and the Zighy Bay property is no different.
“We are continually growing and developing new initiatives because our relationship with the local community, climate and environment are nothing new to us and are always our focus,” Spearman said. “Our customers are always curious about the resort’s sustainability practices; thus, we have set up tours to present our initiatives. Not only are our various initiatives beneficial to the environment, but they are also a tool to educate the next generation of guests, especially as the resort welcomes multi-generational travellers.
This awareness around green initiatives is not new and has only grown in recent years. A growing number of guests are booking resorts that have green initiatives in place as part of their commitment to sustainable travel. Spearman says Six Senses sees a high number of brand-loyal guests due to its sustainable practices. “We have an impressive return rate of 60% and these customers are very aware of our green initiatives.”
So how exactly does a brand deliver on its promise of sustainability? Six Senses Zighy Bay offers a range of experiences designed around the resort’s sustainability practices. Since its opening at the end of 2020, the property has involved hosts, villagers, the local municipality and guests in many activities such as planting trees, enabling access to education for women and regular cleaning of oceans and beaches.
In total, 80% of the site’s organic and glass waste is recycled or recovered on site. The destination produces its own bottled water through reverse osmosis, and the saltwater, which is filtered during the process, is used in the hotel’s saltwater pool — the largest in the Middle East.
“Where possible the resort sources its supplies as locally as possible, so you will often see our chefs at the Dibba fish market at dawn, providing a livelihood for the locals and unparalleled freshness to what is in your plate,” Spearman said. “The complex is also surrounded by a variety of trees and plants and to date we have counted over 5,000 trees, including date palms, fruit trees, native and ornamental trees, fully irrigated with the waters gray recycled from the complex.”
The hotel’s food waste is used as compost, which feeds the property’s own organic garden which grows various types of herbs and vegetables. That means farm-to-fork fresh vegetables and fruit, organic cheese, and organic eggs. As a result, the hotel offers guests farm-to-fork dining experiences, quite unexpected from a desert destination, as well as masterclasses in organic plant-based mixology and cooking classes. Arabic who use organic varieties of local products.
Finally, Zighy Bay’s own Earth Lab shows just how sustainable the resort really is, and offers amazing sessions – from recycling glass and candles to making your own eco-friendly shampoo and soap, which guests can also take home with them. .
“Our guests arrive at the resort with curiosity and always leave impressed, as our Earth Lab is where we can clearly communicate our sustainability initiatives, activities, innovations and partnerships, and clearly display resort consumption data” , Spearman said.
Looking ahead, he noted that educating the next generation is key. “We plan to educate the local community on waste management and single-use plastics, in line with Six Senses’ plastic-free initiatives. Our association with the village of Zighy and the local schools in the neighboring township of Dibba is fantastic as we support the community in cash and kind.
Examples include teaching aid, infrastructure funding and strategic aid to support the education of students at the local girls’ school, Sakina Bent Al Hussein, and the local boys’ school, Amru Bin Al-Aas. Six Senses also recently launched the ‘Climate Warriors’ initiative, which is based on simple, tangible things that children can do and love to do to fight climate change. The goal is for little guests to see and understand the positive role they can already play in their environment and community, effectively becoming climate warriors, all through simple actions and fun activities.
Six Senses Zighy Bay dive hosts are also trained to remove ghost nets left behind by fishermen and rescue sea creatures caught there through an initiative first introduced and inspired by the Oliver Ridley Project in the Indian Ocean.
“As part of a recent partnership with the Department of the Environment, our team managed to remove 1.4 tonnes of ghost nets,” Spearman said. “The resort team also organizes monthly beach cleanups. These are made more fun by hosting sand art days, with guests invited to attend during Earth Day. Cleanup activities are held continuously on special days such as World Environment Day and International Coastal Cleanup Day.
Six Senses Zighy Bay has also launched an industry-leading carbon neutral rate, pledging to donate $10 per night to wind turbine projects in Turkey to fully offset the amount of carbon produced during the resort stays.