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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Jan/Feb 2007 : CSR

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Environmental Paradise
The Atlantis Marina at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort & Casino in The Bahamas receives recognition for environmental excellence.

special to green@work


Atlantis Marina at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino in The Bahamas recently received the prestigious Blue Flag marina certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an independent international organization. This certification signifies that stringent water-quality, safety, and environmental management and education programs have been established by the resort.

The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label awarded to more than 3,100 beaches and marinas in 36 countries across Europe, Africa and the Caribbean each year. The Atlantis Marina was the only marina in The Bahamas to meet the 22 criteria necessary to receive the Blue Flag honor in 2006. Marinas and beaches participating in this voluntary program work with FEE to ensure the sustainable development of beaches and marinas around the globe.  

  “We have long been aware of the threats facing our oceans, and for many years we have been dedicated to promoting ocean awareness, conservation and education to our many guests and employees through development of innovative marine life habitats and programs,” said Sol Kerzner, executive chairman, Kerzner International Holdings Limited (KIHL).

KIHL is a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos and luxury hotels. KIHL’s flagship brand is Atlantis, which includes the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino, a 2,317-room, ocean-themed destination resort located on Paradise Island.

  “The company is committed to extending these standards to our properties around the world,” Kerzner continued. “We have succeeded in building the world’s largest open-air marine habitat at Atlantis Paradise Island, which has helped more than five million visitors to better understand our oceans’ ecosystems by putting them in contact with over 250 species of marine life.

“I am so proud that we have reached another milestone in protecting our most valuable natural resource,” he said.

The unique property at Atlantis Paradise Island features three interconnected hotel towers built around a 97-acre waterscape, and more than 20 million gallons of fresh and saltwater lagoons, pools and habitats. The resort’s new dolphin interaction and education center, Dolphin Cay, was created with the goal of enlightening visitors about the wonders of these remarkable ocean inhabitants. 

In order to earn and retain Blue Flag status and standards, Atlantis has made several additions to its 63-slip luxury port. Signage displayed prominently at the marina office outlines the Atlantis Marina code of conduct, which includes proper disposal of recyclable goods in separate bins for oil, batteries and aluminum cans. Additionally, the resort has partnered with The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism to publish a handbook that provides boaters with facts about the Islands of The Bahamas and the country’s precious marine resources, along with fish-catching laws, lists of indigenous endangered marine species and environmentally protected areas that are prohibited by watercraft.

  “I am truly delighted that Atlantis Marina has become only the third marina in the region to be awarded the prestigious Blue Flag certification,” said Earlston McPhee, general manager of planning investment and sustainable tourism within The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “All of us who invest, work and depend on the valuable resources which drive this important tourism industry must be cognizant of the fact that future economic and social opportunities are directly tied to our current management of these resources.”

The Blue Flag certification follows Kerzner International’s announcement a year ago to invest more than $5 million over five years to support Kerzner Marine Foundation (KMF), a non-profit foundation that seeks to foster the preservation and enhancement of global marine ecosystems through scientific research, education and community outreach. 

  The Foundation’s mission is to protect the integrity of tropical marine ecosystems around the world, with priority projects focused in the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East. Other missions include the development and management of marine protected areas (ocean sites that enjoy a level of protection similar to U.S. national parks), coral reef and cetacean conservation, and local and global research. 
 
Editor’s note: In coming issues of green@work magazine, we will focus our attention in the areas of sustainable tourism policy and program development, partnership development, environmental impact assessment, environmental management, stakeholder consultation and facilitation. We will feature the best sustainable tourism practices, strategies and partnerships in various international destinations.


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