22 September 2008
World-first Enviro-logo awarded to Rotorua motel
This year the New Zealand tourism industry and government introduced Qualmark, an official star rating for industry operators and businesses that measures their commitment to sustainability. As part of the initiative, businesses have the opportunity to be awarded for their green approach to businesses, and a Rotorua motel has been the first to receive an acclamation.
Qualmark is an official accreditation for tourism operators to earn that shows the business practices responsible environmental, cultural and social actions. Businesses are assessed against the Responsible Tourism Operations criteria, which focus on energy, waste, water, conservation and community activities.
The purpose of the accreditation is for travellers to make smarter decisions about their holidays and contribute to reducing the environmental and social impact caused by their travels.
The Qualmark will be accredited in grades, and operators can be awarded one of four logos to use: Qualmark, Enviro-Gold, Enviro-Silver, and Enviro-Bronze awards. As an extension to these ratings, awards will be presented to outstanding operators and businesses.
The Rotorua business, the Alpin Motel, has been awarded an Enviro-silver logo for harnessing energy from the underground geothermal system to heat its water. The "down bore heat exchange" system uses geothermal energy from the underground shallow bore to heat the motel’s water, rooms and plunge pools.
The Government has funded the Qualmark project with $2.83 million, and is an integral part of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015.
In related news, backpackers have been included in the strategies for sustainability. The Environment Minister, Trevor Mallard, and the Tourism Minister, Damien O’Connor, together have planned and implemented a recycling initiative, which is branded "Love NZ – Recycle with care". Recycling bins have been placed in tourist hot-spots including Kaikoura, Wellington, and Taupo, and are showing positive results.
A report from New Zealand’s Labour Department showed that around 10,000 British residents took advantage of the working holiday visa to New Zealand during 2007. British nationals on a New Zealand working holiday visa can work and holiday in the country for up to 12 months, and then apply for an 11 month extension.
"Many backpackers are environmentally conscious. Having recycling facilities in backpacker accommodation around the country will meet their expectations to do the right thing for the environment," Trevor Mallard said.
The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.
Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.