“There is no Planet B.” —Sir Richard Branson, Jennifer Miles’ favorite quote

 

Jennifer Miles & Neil van Niekerk, southern cross club, cayman islands, eco resortThe casually sophisticated Southern Cross Club Fish & Dive Resort is Little Cayman’s original resort. A unique blend of rusticity and elegance the resort is often described as “Barefoot Luxury”. Guests can expect friendly and diligent service, delicious food, inviting rooms and a comfortable dive boat – a few of the things that bring them back year after year. And of course Little Cayman is renowned for its pristine coral reefs and spectacular dive adventures.

 

dive business has an important role in protecting the marine environment

 

The Southern Cross Club recognizes that the dive business has an important role to play in protecting and enhancing the marine environment for guests and residents of Little Cayman. The resort became Green Globe Certified in 2010; Green Globe is the global certification for sustainable marine tourism and provides a framework for sustainable tourism and improved community interactions.

Green Globe members adopt sustainable practices that save energy and water resources, reduce operational costs, and positively contribute to local communities and environment. The resort was the proud recipient of the inaugural CEPTS Environmental Stewardship Award at the Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards in 2013, recognition of the resort’s good stewardship of the environment and its ongoing commitment to preserving it.

 

three lessons learned in running a sustainable dive resort

 

The key lessons learned by Jennifer and Neil in running a sustainable dive resort are: First, it takes a committed and engaged team to bring a dive operation along the path to sustainability. It requires an inspired leader and team members who are there to do the detail work, educate staff and guests, and collaborate with the community and environmental groups. Second, it takes environmental action and involvement at the government level (through associations and direct contact with officials) is important to influence environmental responsibility and sustainable development. And third, that taking a property through the process of certification is daunting at first but small steps and measurement help to keep the team motivated and on-target.

“Being involved has real world challenges. We are trying to promote tourism and at the same time we are trying to promote sustainable development.”

Jennifer Mills started working in the hospitality industry in 2003, joining the Southern Cross Club in 2004. Since the current Management Team took over in 2010 the resort has garnered accolades including PADI Longevity Award and World Traveler Award for Cayman’s Leading Boutique Resort. The resort has been the recipient for Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence annually since 2010. Jennifer was nominated for Accommodations Manager of the year at the Cayman Stingray Awards in 2013, she is actively involved in the community, in particular with regards to the Cayman Islands National Trust and the Department of Environment’s Turtle Project

Neil van Niekerk is the Manager at the Southern Cross Club, Little Cayman and the President of the Sister Islands Tourism Association. He is a life-long scuba diver and marine conservationist, a Master Scuba Diver Trainer and MCA Captain. He coordinated the community response for the lionfish invasion in Little Cayman as well as participated in the research.

 

Making sustainable choices to acquire a Green Globe Certification

 

To hear more about the lessons learned in making sustainable choices and to acquiring Green Globe Certification listen to the entire interview by Jennifer and Neil at Blue Ocean Summit 2014: Jennifer Miles and Neil van Niekerk. See images of the Southern Cross Club and read about how the Golden Globe certification was acquired for the Southern Cross Club.

Not far from the Southern Cross Club is another Golden Globe certified resort. Dana Krauskopf is the owner of the Hamanasi Advernure and Dive Resort in Belize. Hamanasi was Golden Globe Certified in 2013 and received TripAdvisor’s 2014 Traveler’s Choice Award for second in the world for Service, as well as for Romance & Best Small Hotels. It received Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Award in 2013. Dana shares some valuable clues on her experiences in creating a high-end, sustainable dive resort at Ocean Profiles: Dana Krauskopf