This World Oceans Day, Atlantis Dubai celebrates the two-year anniversary of the Atlantis Atlas Project, the cornerstone of its overall commitment to contribute to sustainable and responsible tourism. Over the past 12 months, the implementation of green investments totaling half a million US dollars has resulted in significant change to help reduce waste and emissions and facilitate a more responsible operation.
Tim Kelly, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Atlantis Dubai said: “We are proud to share the outcome of the second year of the Atlantis Atlas Project, our ongoing commitment to sustainable development. Through the efforts of our dedicated Atlantis colleagues, we have achieved some incredible results and are creating a legacy of environmental stewardship as we aim to do business in ways that are good for both people and the planet.”
Reducing waste and energy consumption remains a critical focus of the Atlantis Atlas Project. The implementation of the Winnow AI technology to help reduce food waste across buffet operations has seen a 40% reduction in food waste to landfill over the past 12 months. Since the inception of the on-site water filtration and bottling plant – which supplies all rooms and restaurant outlets with safe, clean filtered drinking water in the form of refillable glassware – 2,020,908 plastic water bottles have been replaced since July 2022 to date, and the destination is on track to eliminate all single-use plastic water bottles by the end of 2023. This commitment was made in February 2022 in support of Dubai Can, a sustainability initiative by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. In addition, 2,178 solar panels were installed across Atlantis, The Palm to provide renewable energy generating 720,445kWh of renewable electricity in 5 months, which is a C02 saving of 310 tons.
Education & Awareness
With education and awareness a main focus of the Atlantis Atlas Project, young explorers and families can get closer to nature through three new youth educational programmes launched over the past 12 months: Shark Specialist, Dolphin Specialist, and Marine Explorer. These experiences aim to nurture and develop a passion to protect marine life and understand why the wellbeing of every single animal is always a key priority. In addition, the accredited, state-of-the-art Dolphin Bay in Atlantis Aquaventure introduced three new no-contact programmes to its offering: Dolphin Kayak, Dolphin Paddle, and Dolphin Sunrise. These experiences invite guests to participate up close in the daily enrichment and training sessions of the pod of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, as well as inspire and educate guests to do more to protect all marine life and our oceans.
Marine Conservation & Animal Welfare
For every marine animal experience participated in by a guest, Atlantis Dubai contributes $1 USD into an investment fund to support UAE-based conservation and sustainability projects that help protect the ocean and our environment. For 2022-23, Atlantis contributed $120,000 of funding to support nine projects, including New York University Abu Dhabi’s coral research, United Arab Emirates University’s endangered species research, Goumbook’s “Save the Butts, Waste to Value” campaign, IUCN Shark Specialist Group research, Freestyle Divers reef rehabilitation project, AZA SAFE Sharks and Rays efforts, SFS Trace technology, Global Diving Research SL’s dolphin research, and the Zayed University and UAE Dolphin Project initiative to learn more about local dolphin and cetacean populations. For 2023-24 Atlantis Dubai is proud to announce the fund has increased by 17.5% to $140,000; since launching in 2021 the $1 USD contribution programme has raised over a quarter of a million dollars to date. The project partners for this year will be announced later this summer.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In addition to taking sustainable steps forward, Atlantis Atlas Project’s CSR programme has continued to thrive over the last 12 months, with initiatives including the donation of 4,102kg of food and 21,941kg of linen/towels to the Stray Dogs Centre Umm Al Quwain, as well as 8,450 meals to the region’s humanitarian aid organisation Tarahum Charity Foundation. Atlantis Aquaventure also became the first waterpark in the Middle East to earn the IBCCES Certified Autism Center™ designation. In order to help autistic and sensory-sensitive guests and their families plan a visit and navigate the waterpark, Atlantis Aquaventure re-designed all in-park signage to include IBCCES sensory ratings for 24 attractions. In addition, the team created two designated Quiet Zones, which have lower sensory stimulus for those who might feel overwhelmed during their visit.
Kelly Timmins, Director of Marine Animal Operations and Sustainability, Atlantis Dubai, commented: “Two years on from the launch of the Atlantis Atlas Project, we have successfully woven sustainability into the fabric of Atlantis Dubai. We are building on this day by day, year by year, to continue scaling up our efforts and working toward bigger goals. We recognise there is still a way to go to become the Middle East’s champion for responsible and sustainable tourism, but we are adamant about the journey to get us there.”
An ambition of the Atlantis Atlas Project is to engage guests in conservation efforts to help them discover more about the natural world through awareness and education. To celebrate two years, The Lost Chambers Aquarium is providing free entry for one child (ages three to seven) for every paying adult on Thursday, 8th June and Saturday, 10th June. There will also be an extended programming of educational experiences, including an Ocean Tales Scavenger Hunt, a Meet The Diver moment, and an Aqua Nursery activity to learn more about baby sharks and rays.
In addition, on World Oceans Day, for every marine animal experience participated in by a guest, Atlantis Dubai will double its $1 USD contribution on the day to support future partnerships which drive conservation and sustainability.