Photo: Loro Parque.
Loro Parque and Siam Park have said they’re delighted to have received the prestigious Biosphere Certified awards for parks and animal embassy. The certificates are awarded by the Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI) linked to UNESCO, and are considered as proof of the outstanding level both parks demonstrate in matters of tourism and environmental sustainability.
For Loro Parque, this is the twelfth consecutive year it has received the Biosphere Certified Animal Embassy certificate, while Siam Park has been awarded the Biosphere Certified Parks accreditation for the fourth year in a row. The certification is only granted after exhaustive audits which show full compliance with principles of sustainability and continuous improvement to ensure that the recipients of these awards are engaged in non-aggressive tourism that brings significant benefits not just for the venues themselves but also for society and the environment.
In this respect, Loro Parque particularly, with its Loro Parque Fundación, but also Siam Park, is now world-famous for its commitment to the environment and biodiversity conservation, while also eliminating single-use plastic from all facilities, supporting beach clean-ups, international protection and research programmes, and pioneering natural habitat protection practices. Loro Parque is, indeed, the first and only zoo in the world to receive the Biosphere Park-Animal Embassy certificate, and has also been decorated on several occasions with various national and international distinctions, such as the Plaque of Tourist Merit, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the “Gold Medal for Tourism Merit”, presented by the same ministry, as well as the Gold Medal of the Canary Islands Government, the city of Puerto de la Cruz and the Cabildo Insular de Tenerife, among other awards. Loro Parque is also the only company in the Canary Islands to have been awarded the “Prince Felipe Award for Business Excellence”, in addition to being named the World’s Best Zoo twice in a row by the world-renowned travel portal, TripAdvisor, among many other recognitions.
Siam Park for its part has been named Best Water Park in the World for the past seven years by TripAdvisor, and also operates on the principle of maximum environmental respect. The Park uses the latest technological developments such as the closed circuit for the water that feeds the Park from the sea where it is extracted and transferred to the desalination plant built exclusively for this purpose. Siam Park’s philosophy also incorporates the Km0 formula, so that local products are used as far as possible in its catering outlets to minimise the carbon footprint associated with importing products.
Both parks’ commitment to non-polluting renewable energies and to contributing to the development of sustainable tourism is evident at all levels, including management practices and their own photovoltaic systems which, added to other photovoltaic investments on the island, represents a power of 2.75 MW. In addition, a 4 MW wind turbine has been installed in Gran Canaria increasing the overall capacity to offset CO2 emissions from 2,500 to almost 4,000 tonnes.
There are many critics, especially of “the tanks” but instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, there is good reason to celebrate the environmental and tourism credentials and success of these parks. Maybe one day the tanks will be emptied, and many will hope with justice that that day won’t be far away, but the work this Fundación does, especially with birds and the environment generally, is precious and deserves recognition such as this.