It’s not the label, which makes you green but the content. This certainly applies to the Blue Oyster Hotel, a family-run, popular hideout with 18 rooms in Jambiani. The hotel, opened in 1999, can pride itself of being the very first in Zanzibar to receive the “Responsible Tourism Tanzania Certification” (RTTZ) at the highest, so-called ‘tree level’. “We had to fulfil 272 criteria for that in an auditing process”, says Simon Beiser, who together with his brother Anwar runs the beach property founded by their father, the late Klaus Beiser.
Sorry, no pool
There is no pool and no air conditioning. Instead “we have the ocean on our doorstep, coastal winds and fans in the rooms”, says Anwar Beiser: “Responsible tourism has a high importance for our daily business.” A simple set-up of only four solar panels provides hot water for the entire hotel, while a natural basin filters grey water for gardening use. All waste is collected and recycled. Staff are encouraged to bring their trash from home to learn how to separate it. “It’s the simplicity of most ideas which strikes me most”, says manageress Louise Tinning, 29, who holds a bachelor degree in sustainable tourism.
Staff from the neighbourhood
Other pillars of green success include fresh seasonal dishes. No endangered fish, but a local catch, fruits, veggies and meat from local farms. “Aware and well-trained staff”, says Tinning, is also very important. Many of the thirty or so staff members come from neighbouring villages, all are properly health insured and were kept on board even during the pandemic.
Blue Oyster has started a foundation for schools and maternity support in the neighbourhood. Captain Zapi, a former fisherman, takes guests on popular sunset cruises in an ngalawa outrigger boat – one of the many examples of Zanzibari being integrated in the hotel. But the most special Blue Oyster green trick is the most simple: Everyday around 5 pm while guests are happily turning their sunbeds towards the gentle late-afternoon sun, a young waiter goes around to collect early dinner orders. Fresh coconut crusted fish today? Or better spinach stew with chapatis? “With early orders we avoid throwing away at least twenty portions per night”, explains Louise Tinning. So easy a conscious holiday can be!