Creating quality tourism options in the environmental context has only been popular since the early 1990s. Now there are all kinds of opportunities to enjoy a relaxing holiday without causing harm to the surrounding environment: from bio tours in Israel, to Jordan’s green oasis, eco-tourism is booming in the Middle East. We don’t receive much eco-tourism news from Oman, that obscure nexus saddling the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, flanked also by the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. So it comes as a pleasant surprise that the Green Globe certification was awarded to a hotel there.
The Park Inn Muscat is a Rezidor Hotel Group establishment, and the first Rezidor hotel to receive the Green Globe standard certification. It is located on Al Khuwain on Sultan Qaboos Street, and has 175 furnished rooms and seven suites, designed for business travelers.
Green Globe was established in 1993 and is a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Also partly owned by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), its sustainability standard is internationally recognized.
How to get a Green Globe
In addition to demanding strict compliance in customer satisfaction and sustainable management, its certification standard includes requirements for documented policies and procedures, as well implementation and communication policies; they also ensure legal compliance, consumer satisfaction, and employee training to make sure everyone is on the same sustainable wavelength.
Their certification process, which is paperless, ensures social economic justice and the promotion of cultural heritage. It is essential that tourism outfits support local employment and community development, fair trade, and that no one is exploited. Preservation of historical and culturally important sites is also important.
This same vigor appears to extend to their environmental policies. Businesses are expected to source responsible materials, reduce energy and water consumption, treat waste water where possible and prevent pollution.
An especially compelling component of their certification process is the insistence that tour operators take heed of biodiversity requirements. Wildlife interaction and the display of wildlife specimens is heavily regulated, shutting out, for example, those African tour operators who proudly display heads of dead beasts on their mantels.
Though at Green Prophet we favor smaller establishments, such as the Aqaba eco-house, that genuinely encourage users to return to nature, and experience more sustainable building practices up-close, we can’t fault the smaller steps to generate a more sustainable tourism industry.
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