Last month Ernst & Young released a report highlighting some promising news within the hospitality industry. They note that while a focus on sustainability has been adopted by governments, non-governmental orgs, consumers and businesses around the world, within the hotel industry, it’s “finally” begun to gain momentum. According to their findings, “the ‘greening’ of the industry is a trend that is here to stay.”
Over the last decade, the movement towards ecologically sound tourism has swept across the globe; and the practices being implemented are as diverse as the different geographies,” the report said. “Hotel companies are being prompted by rising energy costs, government pressure, consumer expectations and the competitive landscape to increasingly make sustainability a top priority.”
Their findings, which looked into practices in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East, Oceania and the U.S. during 2008, noted some best practices taking place around the globe. You can find the list after the jump.
- A strong focus in Asia on corporate social responsibility and “environmental harmony” among resort brands and boutique hotels. One property, the Six Senses Resort and Spa in Thailand has a social and environment coordinator who helped set up a dragonfly habitat to combat mosquitos.
- Luxury, business and economy lodgings are pursuing green strategies in Japan.From hotels offering green tokens in exchange for disposable toiletries to the Eco Challenge, a program with 288 participating hotels which promotes eco-friendly hotel policies.
- China’s goal is to build 10,000 green hotels by 2010 and is working on an Emissions Zero Program to offset hotel carbon outputs, which would factor in staff commuting time, food and beverage delivery and guest energy use.
- Ecotourism is growing in popularity in the Carribbean, and 57 hotels have received a Green Globe standard – more than any other region reviewed.
- Green practices were quickly adopted in boutique European hotels, many of whom see them as part of their modern aesthetic. They’re also breaking ground in innovative building practices; some hotels prefab their rooms before building, while others are building hotels out of shipping containers,
- Large-scale green luxury resorts, following in the footsteps of the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, and the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste city are being planned in the Middle East. And in a typical Dubai move, they’re also planning green hotels with celebrity endorsements; both Brad Pitt and Pamela Anderson are now attaching their name to new properties.
- Costa Rica ranks highest in the Western Hemisphere on the Environmental Performance Index, and although pockets of sustainable tourism are cropping up elsewhere throughout Latin America, more is needed on the government side to help support those efforts.
- Oceania is implementing carbon-emissions offset programs at many of its hotels, but they’re also promoting public awareness for sustainability; the 100% New Zealand campaign offered by the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010 Implementation Fund assists businesses implementing sustainable practices.
Photo: Kiattipong Panchee, Six Senses Resort and Spa
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