Prioritizing sustainability is becoming more central to the destination travel industry’s overall business plans as companies seek to conserve natural resources, control costs, generate profits, and appeal to more environmentally conscious consumers.
Today, more and more travelers are planning itineraries based on a destination’s sustainability commitments and actions.
In particular, millennial travelers want to see concrete efforts by the hotel, airline and cruise industries to reduce environmental impact and make a positive impact on society.
In recent years, the tourism and hospitality industries have thought to go beyond. Many have started placing notes in bathrooms reminding guests to reuse their towels, but now it’s important to focus on sustainable practices. The United Nations Since 2017 has been declared the Year of Sustainable Tourism Development, independent hotels have begun to plan for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and have created their own path.
Unfortunately, the approaches to sustainability and resilience are not consistent within the industry and among the companies that decide to invest in them. Currently, there is no single clear way for the destination travel industry to become eco-conscious or truly eco-friendly, but many different attempts to invest in sustainable efforts.
When most think of sustainability, they think of it as being focused on the environment. It’s actually more than that. Sustainability in the tourism industry aims to create a balance between environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects.
Resilience is often associated with financial risk. However, being destination resilient means understanding the local risks of the destination or property.
As companies, destinations and tourism industry businesses advise on their future journeys, it is important to understand the critical success factors of sustainability and how these factors play a role in the environment and impact resilience planning. When working with destinations, we use the critical success factors from the Sendai Framework, which provides global standards. As sustainable investment options expand, standardization becomes increasingly important.
These reasons are from the starting line “Do we understand the risk?” to the “Are we investing in prevention and protection?”until all “How environmentally conscious are we to protect the destination for the future?”.
These reasons include:
- Understanding risks by looking at regulations on tourism and development and incorporating the effects of climate change into the destination’s overall sustainability and resilience plan.
- Investing in resilience and sustainability to create a sustainable transport infrastructure including public transit, low emission vehicles, etc. and understanding how this investment affects the destination economy.
- Managing sustainable tourism growth by keeping the destination to smaller hills and valleys and positioning it more consistently in high and low seasons.
- Develop awareness of the environment and conservation. What does life look like on Earth and what does it look like in water in terms of product quality? Are there climate measures being taken to reduce those risks to protect and preserve the destination from a conservation perspective?
One of the key factors in achieving sustainability and resilience goals is food resources. A growing number of hotels, resorts and destination properties are growing food on-site or trying to purchase and truly hyper-localize. This, in turn, results in less shipping, less packaging, and other non-recyclable and single-use products.
The QO Hotel in Amsterdam has its own greenhouse which it uses to grow fresh produce for its menus, uses locally sourced and recycled materials for its construction and operations, and focuses on sustainable living, including waste and energy management.
Other lasting changes are physical in nature. Operators are choosing swimming pools that are salt-based and maintained using minerals rather than chemicals. increasing water recycling programs on campus; Incorporating furniture made from recycled materials; and using native and low-water plants in their landscape design. Iberostar Group is another example of a commitment across its portfolio through its Wave of Change program, which has committed to becoming zero waste by 2030.
Hotels are looking at technology to aid their sustainability and resilience efforts, including in-room motion sensors, LED lighting, key card systems, improved building management systems and smart meters based on the number of people in the room and low-flow toilets and shower heads.
Looking beyond these steps will help the industry and others take steps forward and gain some clarity about what practices are environmentally friendly and what constitutes greenwashing.
As part of Whitbread’s commitment to halve its carbon emissions by 2025, the 200-key Gail Premier Inn in Edinburgh is using a 100kW battery to power the hotel at peak times. The battery can be charged in two hours and can be powered off-peak and used during peak periods.
The Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina is powered by 100 solar panels on the roof. In Las Vegas, Aria Resort and Casino guests in stretch limos powered by natural gas. The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in New York City was built using reclaimed materials. 1 Hotels has been certified carbon neutral since 2018 and continues to make industry leading commitments with the company across its portfolio.
Marriott has committed to reducing water consumption by 15 percent, carbon emissions by 30 percent, waste to landfill by 45 percent, food waste by 50 percent, and to use at least 30 percent renewable electricity by 2025.
Hilton uses its own in-house award-winning system, LightStay, to report on ESG. In addition, the company has taken steps to increase the supply of renewable energy in its hotels around the world in line with its science-based targets. Today, the majority of hotels operated by Hilton in the UK purchase 100% renewable electricity.
From Radisson Hotel Group c. 1,500 hotels in operation and under construction, more than 450 with eco-labels. The group aims to reduce its carbon footprint and water consumption by 30 percent by 2025.
IHG Hotels & Resorts”Journey to Tomorrow” The program marks a continued commitment to making a positive difference to people, communities and the planet over the next decade, and the “IHG Green Engage” program, which enables the hotel brand to set and track property-based carbon targets. Energy, water and waste.
The cruise industry has come a long way in trying to make their ships and entire systems sustainable and renewable, and has proven to be a leader in the industry. A major part of their efforts is reusing water for cooling purposes and making food waste more environmentally friendly. It’s amazing how quickly the industry has implemented these and other systems and brought them to market.
The airline industry is moving towards sustainability and resilience by using sustainable aviation fuels and partnering with consumers to achieve their ESG goals. Many airlines are delivering on their promises and encouraging consumers to participate in their programs. This is especially important for millennial travelers who care deeply about environmental issues and are willing to share in the airline’s goals.
Six years ago, the United Nations 2017 “Sustainable Tourism for Development Year”. It outlines the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, widely regarded as the gold standard in the industry.
In addition, organizations such as the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA) also play a significant role in leading the industry. SHA launched both the Hotel Carbon Monitor Initiative (HCMI) in 2012 and the Hotel Water Monitoring Initiative (HWMI) in 2016, which assesses carbon consumption and requires input from several metrics, including accommodation size, rooms booked per year, electricity and gas consumption. And that the laundry is imported.
There is a major shift in consumer behavior and values. They gained a greater understanding of the impact of climate change and how changes such as recycling, eating locally grown produce and reducing plastic use are becoming commonplace.
By applying a strong framework to eco-friendly and sustainable programs, destination travel providers can not only reduce costs and protect the Earth for future generations, but also create product integrity. It is becoming popular for travelers and consumers to choose travel partners based on the company’s commitment to the cause.
At a time when the industry is looking to reinvent itself, sustainability offers an opportunity to increase profitability, return capital, and most importantly, improve the planet we all live on.
As the wider community becomes more aware of the impacts of climate change, the demand for sustainable shelters will continue to grow. In turn, major hospitality chains are finding that operating a more environmentally friendly hotel not only saves costs, but also makes their properties more ethically attractive.
As the hospitality industry continues to take steps to become ESG compliant, owners, investors and operators are implementing ESG into their overall strategy. As a result, the destination’s travel sector is primed to move to NZC as it offers guests the environmentally friendly options they need.
Reprinted from Hotel Business Review with permission from http://www.hotelexecutive.com/