Macaneta Beach Resort featured in Sustainable Business Magazine

Sustainable Business Magazine speaks with Sandhya Singh, Marketing and Sustainability Coordinator at Macaneta Beach Resort, about navigating the pandemic, leading by example with their eco-center, and how the resort educates visitors about local and global environmental crises.

By Alexander Caesari

Macaneta Beach Resort is located between the Indian Ocean and the Incomati River in the province of Maputo, Mozambique. Originally built as a grocery store and snack bar for local residents in 1972 by Senior Augusto a local fisheman, the beach resort was founded in 1997 by his son Senior Americo, the first of its kind on the Macaneta Peninsula. Beginning as a modest chalet enterprise with five members of staff, the resort quickly began to change: over the last 25 years, evolving with gathering interest, Macaneta Beach Resort now offers a plethora of accommodation types, from suites to self-catering units to conferencing facilities. A shore-fronted beach café, swimming pool, entertaining room, and on-site restaurant add to the resort’s impressive list of facilities. Now, the resort employs a team of 20, three of which have been employed for over 25 years, witnessing the vast changes as they have arisen. As well as a holiday location, Macaneta Beach Resort also doubles as a prime rental venue for events, weddings, and parties.

ADAPTING TO SURVIVE

As with many businesses working in the hospitality sector during the global pandemic, Macaneta Beach Resort has adapted with the times, adopting new, rigorous measures to ensure the safety of their guests and comply with government-imposed restrictions. “Following the news of travel restrictions and the closure of borders, we set out on developing a marketing strategy to target and attract nearby travelers to the resort,” explains Sandhya Singh, Marketing and Sustainability Coordinator at Macaneta Beach Resort. “Under normal circumstances, we attract visitors from neighboring countries; however, with the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve had to adapt to survive by refocusing our marketing strategy. This meant rebranding Macaneta Holiday Resort, as we were previously known, to Macaneta Beach Resort, and launching this refreshed brand identity with a new website.” “With a well-planned digital marketing strategy, we managed to attract travelers in close proximity to the resort,” says Ms. Singh. “Though local, these individuals were looking for a break away from their cities and busy urban environments. By promoting our new marketing strategy and establishing a firm base of health and safety measures, we were able to reassure visitors, some of whom didn’t know of the resort anyway, and make them feel secure.

During quieter periods, we took the opportunity to carry out upgrades: making the resort more affordable, improving bathrooms and toilets, modernizing bedrooms, creating a new menu for the restaurant, and so on. These upgrades, set in motion by the pandemic, have certainly paid off.”

REBUILD, RESTORE

Since their inception, Macaneta Beach Resort have been involved in local environmental initiatives and schemes that support neighboring communities. “We’ve always cared deeply about our beautiful natural surroundings and understand the need to protect them,” says Nikita and Yash Ambaramo (Management team). “We’re driven by the following mission statement: the resort doesn’t belong to us; it belongs to the land, and we must give back. Putting these words into action, we helped in the construction of a gabion wall, acting as an artificial barrier, to halt the erosion of a local riverbank. Natural barriers, including mangroves, are rare, typically because of deforestation and the cutting down of trees for firewood. Therefore, we make it our goal to promote mangrove planting initiatives which ensure that local habitats are rebuilt and restored.”

“Local dunes are also threatened by erosion,” continues Ms. Singh. “As such, we’ve cordoned off areas that are at risk, using fences and notice boards to inform the local community, making them aware that they shouldn’t climb across the dunes (which would otherwise damage them further). We’ve an on-site museum to make our mission known, showcasing the rubbish which has been collected from local beach and river clean-ups. By doing so, we are educating the local community about to the harmful effects of pollution and how waste like plastic damages marine life and the environment.”

LEADING BY EXAMPLE

To facilitate their transition towards environmental sustainability, Macaneta Beach Resort in Partnership with Repensar have created an eco-center. “Our vision is to become a fully sustainable eco-resort that continues to uplift local social groups,” explains Ms. Singh. “As part of this vision, we’ve partnered with Repensar, an environmental education cooperative in Mozambique, to put concepts into practice, establishing our eco-center on the resort’s premises. The purpose of the eco-center is to address current environmental challenges we’re facing across the peninsula, and to raise awareness about the global crises we are all facing. A feature of the Eco Centre is Villa Ambaramo also know as Cassa De Vidro (glass house), a unique building constructed from glass bottles in place of bricks as well as from recycled glass bricks, made in our own on-site treatment facility from glass bottles which have been collected as part of various clean-up initiatives in the local area.

“As an eco-home, the center is fully solar powered and makes use of collected rainwater. It is a leading example of sustainable living and showcases how small changes can make a lasting, positive impact. In turn, we aim to entice and educate visitors about sustainable travel and of pressing environmental issues, leading programs about pollution and the environment – all from our glass-built eco-center.”

TRAVEL FOR CHANGE

The notion of sustainable travel has become imbued in everything Macaneta Beach Resort do, including their plans for the future. “We aim to be at the forefront of environmentally responsible tourism, a kind of ‘travel for change,’ if you will, that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local communities,” explains Ms. Singh. “As a business, we want to promote purpose-driven travel, ensuring no negative impacts are made upon the local environment and community. With this in mind, we plan on redesigning our business operations with a more sustainable model, adopting a circular economy to limit our emissions. This will include adding more environmentally-friendly accommodation, like our eco-center, that blends with our surroundings; solar powered lighting, which is already used in some of our gardens, pathways, and outside areas, will be used throughout.”

“As with the eco-center, moreover, we aim to install water treatment systems across the resort that work by harvesting rainwater, which can then be used for gardening, cleaning, and flushing toilets. In tandem, we’re also developing education and training programs for our staff to help reduce waste and conserve energy by trying to create more recycling treatment facilities on the premises and composting programs for all organic waste. In terms of skills development, we want to create a mentorship and

training program for locals wanting to work in the hospitality sector, therefore coming full-circle.”

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  1. stellarhomes

    Goodness, I’m genuinely intrigued by the supportability drives at Macaneta Ocean side Retreat! It’s rousing to see a business flourishing in the travel industry as well as making proactive strides towards ecological protection. Your obligation to maintainability sets a fabulous model for others in the neighborliness area. Keep up the incredible work!”

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