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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clean Me, Green Me, Fiji Me

Fiji sets world mark becoming first country to implement a national low carbon travel and tourism sector initiative

With international focus starting to turn towards Copenhagen as the Danish capital gears up to host the UN Climate Change Conference in December, Fiji has stolen a march on the rest of the planet becoming the first country to launch a national low carbon travel and tourism sector initiative.

The national tourist office and key players in the destination's tourism, hotel and business sectors have aligned resources with Australian-based clean technology specialist Greenlight Technology Group (GLTG) and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) to help advance Fiji as a low carbon tourism destination.

According to GLTG CEO Chris Andrew the first phase of the initiative, the establishment of an alliance amongst all key players in the Fiji tourism industry and clean technology businesses, is already underway.

The next step, he said, will be for the alliance to work together to prepare an advisory paper on how best to bundle a range of individual hotel initiatives into a larger Clean Development Mechanism* (CDM). The proposed Fijian Hotel CDM Program will be a world first for the tourism sector

When this has been completed, a pilot project deploying energy efficiency technologies and small-scale renewable energy sources will be rolled out across the destination over the next 12-15 months.

"Tourism is critical to Fiji's economy, contributing approximately 25 per cent to GDP," Mr Andrew said.

"Bringing together all the key players in tourism is really what will ensure that the maximum benefits are achieved while helping to keep Fiji solidly positioned as an environmentally responsible destination.

"The May 2009 World Economic Forum report 'Towards a Low Carbon Travel & Tourism Sector' notes that tourism destinations that pro-actively work on sustainability initiatives will be better positioned than their competitors to survive in an era when international tourists are growing more environmentally conscious in choosing their holiday destinations.

"With this global trend in mind, GLTG and the Fiji alliance will consider and agree on methods for deploying energy efficiency technologies and small-scale renewable energy sources suited to hotels in the Pacific region.

Tourism Fiji CEO Josefa Tuamoto, who sits on the committee of the newly formed group, said the CDM was intended not only to benefit the people of Fiji but provide a model for low carbon tourism to Fiji's immediate neighbours.

"We intend showing the world that even as a small nation, we can set the pace when it comes to critical international action in an area that is affecting each and everyone one of us today.

"As the world becomes more and more aware of the efforts needed to protect the global environment, a subject that has become an everyday issue for people all over the world, it is inherent on the world to unite to ensure that we leave our children and our children's children and the generations to come with a world fit for everyone to live in and prosper.

"It has long been a dream of mine that Fiji and particularly Fiji's tourism industry becomes a leader in this area and helps us become a nation recognised for its efforts on behalf of the entire global village.

"To this end we hope in the not too distant future to unveil the plans that we and our industry colleagues plan to establish and in the process shine a spotlight on a new capability for Fiji and its people."

For further information on the Greenlight Technology Group visit www.gltg.com.au.

For more information the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership visit  www.reeep.org.

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