An agreement signed this morning at the MTA CEO's office in Valletta, between the MTA, MHRA and MBB, will see water saving initiatives taken by hotels as part of the EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project recognised as meeting ECO-Certification award criteria, facilitating hotels' acquisition of the prestigious award.
The EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project, implemented by the Malta Business Bureau, aims to help businesses and hotels reduce their consumption by at least 10% by helping identify water saving solutions. Through the project, hotels can meet criteria in the water related section of the ECO-Certification scheme.
Commenting on the agreement, signatory Josef Formosa Gauci, MTA CEO, said “This agreement synchronises the Malta Tourism Authority and stakeholder efforts, making it easier for hotels to achieve environmental sustainability, upgrade their product, and promote themselves.”
The signatory on behalf of the MHRA, CEO Andrew Agius Muscat, commented “Tourism is a fast evolving sector and hotels need to constantly improve their product to keep up with international competition. Through the EU LIFE+ Investing in Water project, hotels can not only green their operations and cut costs, but also gain increased access to an important internationally recognised scheme, improving their attractiveness and accessibility to potential customers.”
MTA surveys reveal that 57% of inbound tourists are willing to pay 8% more for environmentally friendly accommodation (1). A potentially powerful marketing tool, the ECO-Certification scheme, established in 2002 and administered by the MTA, provides hotels with a means of promoting their environmental sustainability, socio-economic responsibility, and cultural sensitivity.
Since 2012 the scheme has gained international credibility, as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council acknowledged that the MTA's ECO-Certification scheme meets its own standards, and endorsed it. This increased local certified hotels’ exposure amongst international tour operators (2). Several major tour operators such as TUI and Dertour are today using the ECO-Certification logo on their websites and brochures to inform and attract conscientious tourists to local certified hotels.
Currently there are a total of 23 hotels which are ECO certified; 10 five-star hotels, 10 four-star hotels and 3 three-star hotels. The EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project is assisting 38 hotels to date.
MBB signatory CEO Joe Tanti concluded by encouraging more hotels to strengthen their product by applying for ECO-Certification, and promised the full support of the EU LIFE+ Investing in Water project. Support offered by the project that is recognised by the scheme include water audits, the placing of water saving signs in guest rooms and employee areas, staff training workshops on water savings, and the implementation of water saving solutions.
The agreement may be downloaded from http://www.investinginwater.org/Downloadables/
The MBB’s EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project receives 50% co-financing under the European Community’s LIFE funding programme, with the Ministry responsible the environment as the main co-financier, further co-financing and sponsorship from Easydry Malta, APS Bank, Island Hotels Group, and MSV LIFE.