Hector De Castro, President at the Luxury Sustainable Hotels Int’l Association (LUSH) and Founder at EcoHotelProjects says he foresees a new wave in design with regards to hotel development and operations, with a deep shift towards sustainability.
As part of our CEO Sustainable Hospitality Series, this month we dicussed with Mr De Castro, who heads one of the most specialized technical companies on luxury sustainable hospitality developments: EcoHotelProjects. From there, they promote the development of facilities ready to follow the SDGs or achieving LEED certifications, so that improving or implementing an holistic concept of sustainability, including the local communities, employees and the environment. “EcoHotelProjects has made great efforts to pioneer in hospitality sustainability showing that is possible to experience luxury and being sustainable and profitable at the same time. We deliver luxury experiences with sustainable practices embedded in the process”. At De Castro Group companies we love taking sustainability challenges with ground-breaking initiatives on environment, hotel operations and well-being”, shares Mr De Castro.
At EcoHotelProjects we do love concepts and project developments like the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, with a breathtaking introduction and beautifully developed, he added.
All practices implemented by EcoHotelProjects are embedded in this core philosophy and are visible and measurable; this alignment of philosophy and practice has manifested in the official recognizement by the Luxury Sustainable Hotels International Association®, he adds. “Our concepts and project developments avoid, for example, cutting down trees at the property ever since the very design phase and not by transplanting all the existing ones around the new hotel”.
“At EcoHotelProjects we draw a very clear separation line between what is ecologic and what is sustainable, two concepts which are often commercially mixed causing wrong messages to the market”.
Other great example of our most beloved concepts is the Intercontinental Natadola, located in Fiji, natural materials and elements as water, wood and stone, beautifully integrated. At EcoHotelProjects we are proud of our association with EuroAsia Management and De Castro Group, sharing deeply these values, projects and concepts.
However, Mr De Castro feels the biggest challenge for sustainable tourism today include the threat of hard exploitation of natural resources and maintaining environmental integrity which requires a corporate culture movement into a specific philosophy: “building a truly sustainable ecosystem needs a higher investment than what it would take for a conventional hotel building” he says, and continuous adding that “but do not forget that sustainability is also financially profitable, we need to value more KPIs and a wider way of measuring ROI, not only in terms of balance sheet but also in terms of brand value, impact and alligment with the new tourist demand and business sustainability, thinking in a longer term.
“Developing a real sustainable tourism needs to boost two key pillars: economic development for local communities and environmental integrity” says Mr De Castro.
Mr De Castro opines that we can keep tourism sustainable by ensuring synergy with local communities by using their services, promoting indigenous culture, reducing carbon footprint by using local produce and drawing maximum energy from within the ecosystem.
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Papaya Playa Project
Meet Hector De Castro