Is it just me, or do the concepts of conservation and hotel development used in the same sentence (or press release) present a clear oxymoron? ThereÃ¢€â„¢s been plenty of press lately given to hotels jumping on the Green movement bandwagon. From pursuing LEED certification in architecture and construction to encouraging guests to reuse towels and bedding in an effort to save water and energy, more hotels are spending time and money to save what, really? Face?
Ok, so I may sound a bit jaded, but, as Dr. Phil would say, letÃ¢€â„¢s get real. Hotels are not in the business of preserving land and resources. TheyÃ¢€â„¢re in business to provide service to travelers while delivering a handsome return on investment to their owners and shareholders.
Meanwhile developers continue to build their structures in ecologically and often sociologically fragile lands.
Case in point: A massive new project under construction in the Bahamas, the Bimini Bay Resort and Casino will, when completed, cover a tenth of the island, reports a story in The Miami Herald. The $850-million project will include a hotel managed by the Conrad Hilton chain, a shopping court with a Starbucks and a casino with a 10,000-square-foot gambling floor. Conservationists fear the project is destroying precious mangroves and wetlands that offer breeding and nursing grounds for more than 140 marine species, not to mention impinging on a traditional island lifestyle.
The story reports the developers are touting jobs development, environmental impact studies and dredging and filling work, but it all looks a bit like window dressing on this end. Hey, letÃ¢€â„¢s call it what it really is: the relentless march of progress and profits.