Located in St. Lucia’s beautiful Rodney Bay – Bay Gardens Resorts features three unique and authentic resort hotels that exude the island’s trademark warmth and gracious hospitality.
Green Globe recently recertified Bay Gardens Inn, Bay Gardens Hotel and Bay Gardens Beach Resort.
Bay Gardens Resorts has been working on establishing a groundbreaking program that fosters economic development through building stronger connections between agricultural and tourism industries. The resort group’s participation in the St. Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association (SLHTA) Virtual Agricultural Clearing House program has helped the properties source more produce locally rather than purchasing imported fruit and vegetables. The VACH initiative was established in 2016 when it was revealed that St. Lucia was importing $10 –$15 million (EC) worth of crops that could otherwise be grown locally and bought at a lower price than when imported.
Sanovnik Destang, Executive Director at Bay Gardens Resorts and SLHTA President, noted that when a farm to table menu was introduced in restaurants there was an increase of 10 to 20% in revenue as guests opted to try local cuisine prepared with homegrown ingredients. For this reason the Association plans to continue strengthening the relationship between the growing tourism industry and the under utilized agricultural sector.
Mr Destang said, “Our hope is for new and younger farmers to expand their farming and provide them with financing that will hopefully assist them getting started on producing on a larger scale”.
Hotels, restaurants and food and beverage distributors obtain information on the availability of crops via the VACH which operates on a simple Whatsapp platform. In its first year of operations, over 400 farmers enrolled in the program resulting in sales totalling over $800,000 dollars (EC). This money goes directly to the farmers thereby stimulating economic activity. Through the combined efforts of hoteliers, restaurants and food and beverage companies, it is estimated that a greater percentage of cantaloupes, honeydew, watermelons, tomatoes and pineapples are now being purchased locally. The program is steadily gaining momentum and three greenhouses sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) have been received in support of this vital initiative.
Resource management was another key focus over the past year. To limit energy consumption GEM Link occupancy sensors were installed in 111 out of 198 rooms at Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Bay Gardens Inn that has led to a 15% reduction in energy usage per occupied room.
In addition, to minimize their environmental impact, Bay Gardens Resorts discontinued the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) products throughout all three properties at the start of 2017. The group moved away from using styrofoam cups, plates, trays and clamshell containers that are harmful to the environment and wildlife such as turtles and fish and replaced them with new biodegradable alternatives. It is hoped that the ban on styrofoam products will trigger a domino effect amongst other food service establishments on the island.