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Cacao Pearl Update

I recently wrote about an exciting concept: the environmentally friendly, nonprofit luxury resort.

Joël Céré, the CEO of Barefoot Resorts and the Cacao Pearl poobah, sheds more insight on what exactly they’re doing and how they’re doing it:

Can you give specifics on what types of renewable energy will power the resort?
100% renewable and sustainable: Solar, micro-hydro, wind and bio-fuels.

What sort of eco-activities will be available for guests?
Diving with 22 shipwrecks in the vicinity; snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, kite flying, hiking in the forest; learning traditional arts & crafts (including cooking lessons with fresh produces from our garden) or just lazing on the beach. We’ll also offer yoga, relaxation in our open-air spa, a movie theatre, a well stocked library, organic restaurants, etc…

The Cacao Pearl is also within short sailing distance to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site). This park features a large limestone karst landscape with one of the world’s longest underground rivers (5 miles). The area represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full ‘mountain-to-sea’ ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

Tubbataha Reef Marine Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 206 square miles, including the North and South Reefs. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 110 yards perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands.

How do you respond to skeptics who might say it's not possible to accomplish a zero-impact resort because by its very existence it impacts its surroundings?
Put simply, if we did not set-up the Cacao Pearl there, this island would have been snapped-up by another developer who would have been less concerned about the environment. The Cacao Peal will positively impact its surrounding economically, enviromentally and socially:
• Economically: The resort will create substantial economic opportunity for the local community through employment and local products/services sourcing.
• Environmentally: Cacao Resorts will provide an economic incentive for local communities to preserve the environment but will also contribute directly to the funding and activities of local marine reserves and environmental programs. Our development accounts for less than 20% of the island.
• Socially: Cacao Resorts will set-up a local fund to sponsor local social and economical programs. This can range from micro-credits to educational bursaries to infrastructure projects.

One of Barefoot's stated goals is "to ensure long-term value for our people, projects, investors and partners." With 100% of Cacao Pearl's net operating profits used to support local environmental and social programs, how will Cacao Pearl deliver ROI to investors?
Every Cacao Pearl eco-villa owner will enjoy capital growth and a very competitive rental yield. As a company, the Cacao Pearl is a commercial endeavour that seeks to make a profit. Like all resorts, our profit comes after deducting operational expenses, taxes and capital expenses (to allow the resorts to invest in their growth – thus generating more profits). What happens to this profit is the main difference to traditional resort operators, and in this we are closer to a not-for-profit business: We commit it to an independent and non-profit foundation for distribution.

While the focus obviously is on Cacao Pearl now, does Barefoot have any other properties on the horizon?
We are in talks with the government of Belize for a project in Cayo, western Belize, close to the important Mayan site, Caracol. We are also looking at a winter resort and are scouting for suitable sites in North America. We will also launch a new island adventure in Asia during 2009.

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“Cacao Pearl Update”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    These are the same group of people who launched a similar project in Belize, Barefoot Belize. They took tens of thousands of dollars of investors money and have now abandoned the project, have made no contact with the investors and left the investors out of pocket and no way of getting their money back. You will note they make no mention of this as they move on to their new ‘investment’. BUYER BEWARE!!"

  2. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Couldn't agree more - these guys are not to be trusted. I have come across them in my time also... a costly encounter.