OHD is firmly committed to the long-term sustainability of its towns. El Gouna, OHD flagship project, is the first destination in the region to receive the Global Green City Award in 2014. Sponsored by UNEP, this award is handed to cities displaying substantial progress in environmental sustainability. El Gouna has been awarded four Green Globe certificates by Green Globe International, a non-profit organization that promotes environmentally and socially responsible tourism.
In 2007, El Gouna was the pilot location for the Green Star Hotel (GSH) programme, a national certification and capacity-building programme developed by GIZ, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism, and OHD. Internationally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, GSH supports hotels and resorts to improve their environmental and social standards.
Owing to GSH, over 85% of El Gouna’s waste is recycled. Additionally, a waste-recycling plant, wastewater management system, water desalination plant, a fish farm using rejected water, and a water reverse-osmosis scheme are used to recycle and reduce consumption of water. On the energy side, hotels and residents use solar water instead of diesel-fuelled heaters. Moreover, a solid waste management system and a capacity-building programme raising awareness for environmental protection were designed.
The GSH programme under the El Gouna Carbon Neutral City Project, El Gouna’s success helped the GSH program spread to 36 destinations throughout Egypt.