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Aruba Hotelier Charts a Path for World Tourism at Cop26

Aruba’s leading environmentalist, hotelier Ewald Biemans, leads the way at COP26.

Hotelier Ewald Biemans, has returned to the Dutch Caribbean island having helped the tourism industry set a course for climate action at the COP26 conference.

Biemans, owner/CEO of the luxury Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort on Aruba’s Eagle Beach, the first and only carbon-neutral hotel in the Caribbean, also collected in person the prestigious Global United Nations Climate Action Award for Climate Neutral Now, awarded to him last year.

At COP26, Biemans became the first Caribbean signatory to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, having joined global hospitality leaders and Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation, in doing so.

Every hospitality provider worldwide is being invited to follow their lead and fight climate change. Global travel and tourism is being urged to follow a common set of pathways for climate action, including securing commitments to reduce emissions by at least 50 per cent over the next decade and achieve net zero as soon as possible before 2050. 

Said Biemans: ‘It is an honour to represent the Caribbean as a launch signatory of the Glasgow Declaration. It provides the guidance and clear goals that I hope prompt all of us through the Caribbean to join together to help protect our vulnerable, yet beautiful paradise, and to protect our people in working towards a better future.’

Biemans also shared with delegate details of his own environmental journey, one which started after the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, when he asked himself what he could do to make a difference.

The Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is now a world-leading environmental property, the Caribbean’s most eco-certified property. This privately-owned luxury adults-only hotel has also won countless awards for its standard and romantic atmosphere, so Biemans’ eco passion has not come at the expense of quality or comfort. Indeed, his guests can enjoy world-class hospitality on a guilt-free holiday.

Some of the initiatives Biemans has inspired include:

  • Renewable energy: Bucuti & Tara takes 25 per cent of its power from Aruba’s wind and solar farms and generates a further 20 per cent from its own solar panels
  • Eco-fitness treadmills and bikes in the gym let guests burn calories and generate kilowatts for the resort’s power grid
  • Providing guests with a free refillable water canteens avoids the potential of 290,000 single-use plastic water bottles going to landfill
  • Healthy portions – sensibly-sized meals have reduced plated meal waste by 30 per cent and a food waste collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund has reduced it by a further 30 per cent (food waste is sent to local farms for animal feed)
  • Hotel staff are incentivised to car pool or get to work by public transport.
  • Ozone-based laundry equipment requires shorter wash cycles, less water, less energy for water heating.
  • All waste water is sanitised and used for irrigation
  • In-room energy management systems and sensors: triggered by motion and doors to regulate energy consumption and limit temperature range. Average saving: 32-38 per cent.


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