Climate Change? Five New Challenges That Hotels Now Face
Climate change is a reality that more and more of us witness in our day to day lives. Despite public awareness campaigns, there is still a segment of the population reluctant to change lifestyle habits that may affect the environment. However, it’s not just citizens facing this issue – businesses must adapt as well.
More than many others, the tourism sector is being affected by this phenomenon in a very direct way so hotel owners have to get used to new system requirements. This is due not only to a responsibility to the natural environment, but also because tourists are increasingly demanding more in this area.
“Tourism for Tomorrow” is a recognition that awards responsible tourism efforts each year and are given each year by the WTTC (The World Travel and Tourism Council). This year’s edition has paid special attention to studies surrounding the impact of climate change. Those ideas and initiatives presented should consider hotel accommodation in the context of the struggle for the common good of our environment.
This effort occurs alongside an assumption that the implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures to climate change will create a loss of competitiveness for tourist destinations. Responsible Hotels has set out to provide examples of actions aimed at mitigating these effects:
1. A Reduced Carbon Footprint
The carbon footprint is the measure used to assess the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Hotels have to become aware of the importance of this and try to reduce it in any way they can. A number of tourist destination will soon witness the effects of climate change. Rising temperatures and water scarcity will be the main factor for sun and sand destinations, while the mountains will suffer from a lack of snow. For that reason, its important to remember that the more you reduce these emissions, the better it is for destinations that have to fight against this phenomenon.
2. Use of Renewable Energy
The use of renewable energy provides not only an environmental benefit, but also economical one for tourists. All hotels should have this kind of system to help combat carbon emissions and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The most commonly used among these is solar energy, but there has also been a lot of growth in wind and hydro efforts as well.
3. Saving Water and Waste Separation
It is very important, especially in the Mediterranean area, to launch water-saving measures in the face of climate change . Hotels have to develop initiatives to help preserve this precious commodity. Garden irrigation systems with recycled water or offering guests the option to wash one’s sheets and towels on a daily basis are just some ideas that can be implemented. As to the separation of waste, it is very important considering the amount of waste generated by a hotel, most of which can be divided appropriately for recycling.
4. Investment in Infrastructure
There are hotels with long histories that may be reluctant to invest in changes that could help create a more sustainable infrastructure model. Changing toilets for water-savings models, installing more efficient heating systems or simply investing in the structures needed for renewable energy usage can sometimes pose a problem for employers. In these cases, we have to point out the many reasons for such an investment, because in the years to come, these changes will prove to be not just a contribution to the environment, but an economic benefit as well in the form of energy savings.
5. Customer Awareness
Tourists are becoming more conscious about the environment and desire responsible behaviour on the part of hotels, but it is also true that it is not a widespread or well-known practice. For this reason, it is important that hotels make the effort to inform their guests about policies and habits that are good for the environment. Many establishments are encouraging their guests to use a bicycle as transport or even suggest activities that involve walking. The separation of waste or water reduction are two steps that the guest can be involved in during their stay.
These five steps should be essential for any accommodation if we hope to reduce the impact of the tourism industry on our environment. In addition to these efforts, many hotels are introducing additional measure to help fight the dreaded effects of climate change. These efforts can affect tourism migration in the future and help ease climate issues that are now a reality in many current destinations. Tourism has to be adapted to these new circumstances and must also help fight to avoid further effects of climate change.