Since the agreement made with 15 service providers by Halong Bay Management Board, Halong began running a pilot banning plastic products on tourist boats from August 1st. As a leading cruise operator in Halong Bay, Bhaya Cruises is proud of being proactive with our first and significant green contributions to the Bay.
Recognized as a World Heritage site and chosen by many film-makers to have blockbusters for silver-screen like James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies or Kong: Skull Island, Halong Bay has attracted millions of visitors. This is why the bay needs to be protected and looked after, something the Vietnamese authority is regulating and we are supporting.
According to Vietnamnet, Mr. Pham Dinh Huynh, Deputy Head of the management board, said 15 providers of tourist boats, kayak, and high-speed boats have agreed to stop using plastic bags and bottles from August 1st. The new regulations have played a small part in keeping Halong Bay clean, but we all look forward to a greener Bay in the future; and no matter what, small steps are better than nothing.
What has Bhaya Cruises done immediately after the regulation was released?
Bhaya Cruises is the largest operator that has pioneered the overnight cruise in Halong Bay. Since our first launch in 2007, Bhaya Cruises have run 17 fleets with 04 cruise lines to suit our passengers’ different needs. Our objective is to let passengers experience not only Halong Bay but also the bigger picture – The authentic experience of the Gulf of Tonkin delivering service from the heart. With 100,000 visits annually, Bhaya understands our responsibility to fulfill our passengers’ expectations and still make positive impacts on the ecosystem in Halong Bay.
After the single-use plastic banning regulation, all restaurants and bars on 17 fleets have immediately replaced plastic water bottles with glass ones.
Our immediate action in response to the environmental issue was also to remove all single-use plastic water bottles with glass ones that are similar for the restaurants and bars onboard. Relating to food safety standards, it is required to follow the sterilization process strictly to use refillable glass water bottles in each cabin. After researching the best solution onboard, Bhaya has decided to serve recyclable BPA Free plastic bottles in the cabins in the future and for our long-term and sustainable goals. These bottles will be highly recommended to our passengers to refill and reuse during their stay with Bhaya and onwards.
How has Bhaya pioneered sustainable tourism in Halong Bay?
We no longer use plastic straws – effective from the end of 2018! All Bhaya passengers are now familiar with paper straws, which actually add a stylish result when paired with different drinks: cocktails, mocktails, or juice.
All Bhaya’s cruises include the MasterChef session where passengers have a chance to participate and try their cooking skills. In the past, we had used nylon gloves for guests to wear while they make spring rolls, however, these gloves have since been removed. We now suggest passengers wash their hands before joining this fascinating session – after all, real cooking is all about feeling the ingredients with bare hands, right?
Our operations team has also done a wonderful job by switching to paper food containers for leftovers. To store food in the kitchen, Bhaya uses and cleans recyclable plastic containers regularly to ensure thorough hygiene and limit plastic waste.
We have worked continuously with suppliers to minimize the use of plastic bags for delivery and insist on taking advantage of reusable plastic containers, cloth bags, mesh bags, paper bags, etc.
Moreover, amenities (e.g. toothbrushes) are only served upon request at the reception desk instead of free handouts in each cabin. Bhaya encourages passengers to be more proactive with packing their own personal items and use eco-friendly products. If they would like to purchase some souvenirs onboard, Bhaya sells all items covered in chic paper shopping bags.
To go above and beyond, Bhaya has also created a bamboo cutlery set for The Au Co cruise brand. The set is then convenient for guests to take offboard and enjoy in their street food adventures in Vietnam. Another sustainable product branded with The Au Co and adored by passengers is the tote. It is made of canvas that can be easily machine-washed and used for an active lifestyle. The tote can literally fit the world inside!
Bhaya Cruises has also registered to participate in the program “refill my bottle” and looked forward to having our own refill station at Bhaya Cruise Center soon. This will provide free drinking water in shelters and offices to encourage everyone to use their personal water containers, instead of purchasing branded single-use plastic water bottles unnecessarily.
Changing a habit is not an easy task and it takes time. It is even more challenging to change perceptions of the whole community who have been used to a certain lifestyle. However, if there is no action taken, the environment we are living in will just become worse. Slowly but surely, we can fix the mistakes and bring Mother Earth back to her stable and calm place. Together.