Burj Al Arab Jumeirah pioneers turtle rehabilitation, sets an example for the hospitality industry

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah not only cuts a stunning silhouette against the skyline of the Emirate of Dubai, but the international luxury hospitality chain is also a pioneer in driving unique environmental changes. A case in point is the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) that they have undertaken, in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office.

Conceptualised and conceived in 2004, shortly after the Wildlife Protection Office was bombarded with rescue requests from members of the public, DTRP now has a team of seven working dedicatedly for turtle rehabilitation. The team receives regular veterinary assistance from Dubai Falcon Hospital and the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory and has released 1,700 turtles including Hawksbill, Green, Loggerhead and Olive Ridleys to the ocean. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah has left no stone unturned in aiding the project and employs an animal husbandry team that is devoted to taking care of all the rescued turtles. These turtles are brought in by organisations focussed on turtle conservation and rehabilitation.  

With only 8,000 nesting females across all seven species of marine turtles left worldwide, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah has undertaken a task which not many would dare to. No wonder then, the DTRP is the only committed rehabilitation project in all of the Middle East and the Red Sea region.

To drive home a wholesome project, the team also encourages interested hotel guests to take part in turtle feeding, learning about turtles and indigenous fishes from the lagoon’s discovery trail and observation island. Children from primary and secondary schools are also given educational tours of the facility.

Gerhard Beukes, Director of Aquarium Operations and Animal Husbandry, The Aquarium & Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah expressed, “As a global hospitality brand, our primary business goal is to multiply occupancy rates across our properties, however, we must also have the bandwidth to measure and control the impact that heavy tourist inflow might cause on the neighbouring environment.  Further, we should appoint dedicated teams to design plans for safeguarding the local communities wherein we operate and also collaborate for environmental projects to ensure a healthy ecosystem.

Alongside undertaking initiatives, educating and training each staff, employees, stakeholders and even tourists about the pressing issues concerning our sustenance is mandatory. We must also set examples with our result driven activities and encourage others to be environmentally conscious individuals and entities.”

In fact, DTRP is not the only project undertaken by Burj Al Arab towards its goal of attaining sustainable tourism. Jumeirah Saadiyet Island resort provides complimentary reusable plastic bottles to all guests, encourages them to refill locally-filtered water and serves water in glass bottles, thereby completely eliminating single-use plastic items.

In the era of a global tourism boom, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah has turned over a green leaf and remains committed to being leaders in ecotourism with a focus on reducing its overall carbon footprint, optimising the use of natural resources and sustaining the quality of natural, built and cultural environment.