There are some things I cannot get enough of: hats; pastry I probably shouldn’t be eating; and a good staycation right here in Grenada. So of course, these last two years have been quite an adjustment for me not being able to go out and do the things I usually would. My coping strategy has been to create the perfect at-home oasis.
While enjoying some of my favorite vegan candles from Ruby Alexander or getting in some skincare with OMI Grenada’s skin oils, I often reflect on some of those experiences I’ve had over the years and wonder what the future of travel and leisure will look like for me.
I don’t think anyone that has gone through this period in history can ever emerge from it the same. For me, I know I have become much more conscious about consumption. Consumption of my time, energy, online content and even our shared natural resources. Sure, I always knew that I loved going to Grand Anse Beach for a Saturday morning lime, or hiking to Annadale Falls on those mornings when I needed to get some fresh air. Being stuck inside these four walls, though, have made me appreciate those things even more. I now have even more love for the raw, untouched natural beauty of this island. I know we all can’t wait for things to “get back to normal”, but I want to know that when I do start to go out again and plan staycations, I’m doing so in a way that preserves this island paradise. One way I plan to do this is to support resorts and businesses that care about the environment and operate in a sustainable way.
I didn’t have to look very far before I came across some great options. From Jacob Scott who uses ocean debris to make bags, to the rawness of the eight acres of farmland at Fort Wolf – I realized that there were others out there who were just as tuned in as I was. I was also thrilled that one of my favorite resorts on the island, Mount Cinnamon Resort, had made the list.
To find out more about their initiatives in sustainable tourism at the resort, I had a chat with their General Manager, Kevin Cooper.
Kiki: What are some of the things that you do to encourage a more sustainable resort model?
Kevin: Mount Cinnamon treasures the natural beauty of Grenada and has been recognized for its environmentally friendly practices with a Gold Green Globe Certification. From energy conservation to recycling, to growing a garden filled with vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers, our focus is on preserving the natural wonders of our island.
Kiki: That’s amazing. I like that the resort seems to be tackling sustainability from several angles. So, tell me Kevin, what was the main catalyst behind the decision to transition to an eco-friendly model?
Kevin: Mainly the desire to protect and preserve our precious island and the beautiful waters and marine life surrounding it.
Kiki: Was it a difficult transition? How hard/easy was it to get buy-in from your staff and/or existing guests?
Kevin: The transition was not difficult at all. We received immediate buy in and excitement from our staff and we appointed an Environmental Officer internally. Our staff meets on a regular basis to discuss our Green Globe efforts and compliance. Many of our guests enthusiastically participate in our ‘Pack for A Purpose’ program whereby they can fill their suitcases with essential school supplies and basic toiletries to donate to our local community upon arrival.
Kiki: Now that is how you give back! How does it make you and your team feel to be recognized as one of the few resorts in Grenada that has been Green Globe certified?
Kevin: We are very proud of our Green Globe certification and take it seriously. Our Gold Green Globe award is proudly situated at our Reception Desk for all to see when they first arrive at Mount Cinnamon.
Kiki: Which leads me to my next question of how your guests have responded to this certification. Research shows that 58% of consumers would prefer to stay in resorts with green awards and environmentally friendly practices. Has the Green Globe certification resulted in any uptick in bookings from sustainability-minded guests?
Kevin: Yes, we have guests that stay at Mount Cinnamon in large part because we are Green Globe certified and are seriously committed to environmental sustainability.
Kiki: We know that achieving sustainability is a joint effort, and really is just a sum of small actions by many people. So, what are some of the ways that you build awareness within the wider Grenadian community in this move to embrace eco-tourism and sustainability?
Kevin: One recent way was our sponsorship of Dive Grenada’s Grand Anse Artificial Reef Project – GAARP which is actually located right next to us. The project consists of modular ‘Pyramids’ made from 30 construction blocks, all developed and made locally. The reef is helping nature regenerate and serves as a fantastic educational tool for local children to learn about marine conservation.
Kiki: That sounds like a very interesting initiative, and something I would like to learn more about once we get back to a place where I can start exploring again. Tell me, Kevin, what is the future of eco-tourism, and how do you see Grenada fitting into that larger picture?
Kevin: I think ecotourism is here to stay and is becoming more and more important to travelers. As we tackle global warming and other environmental challenges, travelers become more discerning about where they stay and the sustainability efforts taking place in their accommodation of choice. Grenada as a whole is very committed to ecotourism so I think the island will continue to flourish in this niche.
Kiki: What is your future vision for the resort?
Kevin: I am committed to continuing to grow our sustainability efforts. I’d like to install solar panels on our roof soon and remove 100% use of plastics on property. We currently recycle any plastics we do use with a local company who repurposes the plastic in meaningful ways. I’m also working on converting all vehicles on property to electric and we are also working on a rainwater collection system. Lots of exciting stuff!