It’s time we make sustainable choices
An eco-conscious hotel will not only put sustainability into its practice but also in the buying of planet-friendly products. This newsletter series on Hospitality defines how consumers and hoteliers can reassess their buying behaviors to create a complete ecosystem.
Imagine jetting off to a beautiful island with pristine coastlines and an amazing underwater world. Right now, you can soak up the sun and enjoy a myriad of water sports activities. But 50 years later, there may be no coast for your children or grandchildren to visit as climate change laps up our environment and the very Earth we stand on.
Let’s face the facts first. Global warming is inevitable unless we act now. This is the precise reason that governments across the world, including the GCC, have come together to promote and validate eco-tourism. Ecotourism, as a form of travel, is founded primarily on a specific interest in the natural history of a region. The concept has generated a significant amount of interest because it represents an alluring alternative to the mass tourism paradigm that has contributed to the depreciating ecological conditions of destinations throughout the world.
In recent years, the GCC has stood out as a shining example of ethical tourism. While the global ecotourism market size was valued at $181.1 billion in 2019, and is expected to reach $333.8 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 14.3% from 2021 to 2027, the ecotourism market in the GCC is expected to surpass US$ 651.45 million in terms of value by the end of 2028 (link).
Hospitality To The Rescue
One main sustainable contributor to this industry is the Hospitality Sector, which is one of the success pillars of tourism. Hotels play a vital role in sustainable tourism. Reports by hundreds of hospitality businesses around the world illustrate that by implementing appropriate management processes they have:
- Reduced energy and water consumption costs by more than 20 percent.
- Solid waste and wastewater disposal costs by more than 15 percent.
- Drastically cut down on plastic consumption and waste.
- Improved the quality of the tourism ecosystem in which they operate.
- Improved staff motivation and community relations.
In the GCC
The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has developed a sustainability strategy, roadmap, and holistic approach to ensure the continual development of sustainable tourism, which will be implemented through the Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is launching a variety of ecotourism efforts in its future. The Vision 2030 is an ambitious plan to decrease the kingdom’s oil dependence in part by increasing tourism to account for 10 percent of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product by 2030, up from 3 percent today. The vision outlines a plan for heightened sustainability efforts across the kingdom, from large-scale “Giga-project” developments to a massive tree-planting campaign. As we await the nail-biting FIFA 2022 that comes up in less than two months, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) last year launched a new international multi-media campaign, to drive forward the country’s tourism goals and cement its ambition to welcome more than six million visitors a year by 2030. The campaign features nine unique, engaging keychain characters designed to introduce travelers to the destination.
Supporting sustainable hospitality are associated pillars, namely Apparel, Textiles, Cosmetics, and Accessories. Consumers and the hospitality sector should not just look at a sustainable hotel but take adequate steps towards supporting and encouraging the industries that make eco-tourism complete. Here we look at a few.
Did we ever think that plastic waste could be recreated into a fashion statement worn by icons across the globe with high purchasing power? Eco-friendly textiles are the ones that are thoughtfully crafted by ethical brands that are durable and skin-friendly. These include hemp, recycled plastic, recycled polyesters, Econyl, waste plastic, etc. And these materials are fashionable.
As sustainability is seeping into the core of every hotel today, the beginning must be from the roots. Today, the industry is looking for textiles that last longer, require less water, and are reusable. The first step towards textile sustainability in hospitality has already been taken, both in the sector’s raised awareness of and demand for ever more reused textiles.
If you think switching to sustainability will drive your costs up, think again. New technologies and affordable textiles can not only drive your brand quotient up but also create a better business model. Likewise, if you are deliberating on buying a swimsuit for your next beach outing, think how your fabric choices may affect the planet. Scout for brands that are committed to our future.
Take Toxic Off The Beach
Although the negative impact of the fashion industry remains unknown on a broad scale, it is still sizeable. This industry is one of the few that is working to reduce its carbon footprint. To counteract this, many global labels have embraced the sustainable production and sale of their clothing lines. In the hospitality industry, swimwear constitutes a major share of the apparel line.
Today, many create curated and handmade pieces from eco-friendly materials such as Econyl regenerated yarn, recyclable textiles, and hemp that can be customized for hotels. The bottom-line being: Ethical Fashion doesn’t have to be boring. Many such brands also feature in global fashion magazines and on runways across the globe. From ensuring workers are are treated fairly to supporting local businesses, the fashion industry is finally realizing its responsibility towards a better planet.
Eye-catching and Environment-Saving
Accessories add appeal to style and personal preferences. These constitute hats, watches, and eyewear. Many of us may not include these as part of our eco-conscious buying, but this plays an important role in saving the environment.
Hotels are increasingly looking to harbor sustainable products into the ecosystem, and many idealistic labels are successfully creating curated products to suit the guests’ high-end lifestyle. For instance, for eyewear, many labels use recycled plastic and bio-acetate inspired by the beauty of the natural world. When it comes to hats, eco-friendly labels are creating masterpieces out of jute and recycled materials that are both fashionable and environmentally friendly.
Another important piece of the statement is the bag. Made to be uber stylish and drop dead gorgeous, labels are taking a lot of effort to blend conscientious into the couture. Bags made from cactus and vegetable leather are the core ingredients in every statement piece that is no less than luxe and long-lasting. Watches aren’t just for timekeeping anymore. These statement pieces can breathe a personality of their own into the wearer. For the hospitality industry, there are many brands that create individual pieces from wood, upscaled recycled waste materials, fibers of apple and pineapple, cactus, etc. that are luxurious yet easily available.
Sunscreens that not just protect your skin
The hotels are going the extra mile to source sustainable and organic shampoos, creams, and body washes to offer their guests. This plays a vital part in the hotel’s brand identity, while supporting the environment. Many brands are harnessing the benefits of nature and its natural products to not only save the skin but also the oceans and coral reefs. When you swim with sunscreen on, chemicals like oxybenzone seep into the water, where they’re absorbed by coral reefs. These substances contain nanoparticles that can disrupt coral’s reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching. Look for organic butter, wax, and natural minerals the next time you make a conscious purchase.
Save the Planet, Save Our Children!
Sustainable hospitality must not be looked upon as a trend but as a necessity when we step out for a holiday next time. Sustainable practices and products in a hotel have a positive impact on customer experience and their likelihood of returning. Encourage yourself to not just check into an eco-friendly hotel, but also look around to see if the hotel is green with its services, products, and accessories. After all, going green leads to better loyalty, word-of-mouth marketing, and higher customer satisfaction.