Ambitious green plans for hospitality sector

THE sustainable future of hospitality in the kingdom could witness resorts growing most of their own restaurant produce as well as powering their lobbies, rooms, lifts and air conditioning units with the help of rooftop solar panels.

The new proposed requirements are being sought and spearheaded by Parliament’s public utilities and environment affairs committee chairman MP Bader Al Tamimi.

He believes that the hospitality sector could offer much more than just guest rooms, conferencing centres and leisure activities by formally adopting a compulsory ‘eco-friendly’ project that could be part of their amenities.

Amongst the suggested projects are aquafarms, bee hives, hydroponics and recycling utensils.

“Hotels and resorts have the space and employees to be a major contributor to green initiatives in Bahrain,” said Mr Al Tamimi. “Firstly, they should all be solar-powered and non-dependent on the government’s electricity grid.

“We are planning to work with the Sustainable Energy Unit to issue specific rules for renewable energy in all hospitality facilities to be applied within a set deadline,” he added.

“Secondly, as legislators, we will issue rules for the hospitality sector to have its own eco-friendly project that match their image, location or needs.”

“For example, a hotel that is inland could have a bee hive or hydroponic gardening for fruits and vegetables, while a beach resort could have its own aquafarms for seafood.

“The idea is not limited to one choice and hotels and resorts could take up more than one. They could also have their own recycling facilities for utensils, for example, if they wanted.”

One suggestion of insisting that hotels had their own chicken coops was dismissed because it was thought guests would not be cock-a-hoop over the idea because of noise and smell issues.

Mr Al Tamimi, who is a former municipal council chairman, said Bahrain had an opportunity of a lifetime to promote itself as a regional environmental pioneer with clear green credentials.

“Imagine a sign displayed saying: ‘from our hydroponic farm to the table’. Green appearances matter,” he added.

“The hotels and resorts would benefit too by cutting back on transport costs and packaging.”

Many hotels around the world have already started hydroponic farms. For example, Hyatt Regency Trinidad launched its first in 2019.

The farm grows kale, arugula, peppermint, lemon grass, cherry tomatoes, peppers and different varieties of lettuce. This produce is used in addition to fruits and vegetables from local farmers, eliminating the need for imported produce.

The hotel also uses ingredients from its hydroponic farm for herb and spice infused spa treatments for guests.

Some other hotels with a hydroponic farm include the Ritz-Carlton Naples in Florida, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort in Thailand, Greenhost Boutique Hotel in Indonesia, Boar’s Head Resort in Virginia and The Nines in Oregon.

The GDN reported last week that Bahrain is set to step up efforts to boost food security and ensure the sustainability of supply chains by increasing agricultural, animal and marine product sectors.

According to Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture Minister Wael Al Mubarak, through the use of hydroponics, local farm production was expected to increase gradually by 50 per cent.

There were also plans for a new hatching aqua farm with a capacity to breed 15 million finger fish, he added in a written reply to the Shura Council.

Another initiative resulted in the General Poultry Company expanding its production of eggs by 50pc.

The minister also said in partnership with the Health Ministry, the National Agricultural Laboratories Centre in Hawrat A’ali have been launched to test local and exported agriculture products and animals to ensure they are healthy and fit for human consumption, the GDN reported.




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