Responsible Tourism, including current sustainable travel trends, will be adopted as the official show theme for Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 22-25 April 2018.
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “It is important to highlight that the GCC is one of the fastest growing regional hospitality markets on a global scale and is a resource-intensive industry. Its impact on the environment is multi-dimensional, ranging from CO2 emissions, water and energy demand, food waste, noise and light pollution. Travellers have become very conscious of the carbon footprint they are leaving while visiting destinations across the globe and the subsequent impact this has on the environment. This growing trend has meant the entire industry has had to look long and hard at how sustainability and a credible social conscious must drive business strategy. At ATM in 2018, we will be showcasing some of MENA’s leading, and commercially successful, examples of businesses which make the rich heritage of the region accessible to tourists, bring economic development to local communities and help preserve their cultures.”
More than 1.2 billion international tourists crossed the globe in 2016 and this is expected to grow to 1.8 billion by 2030. Tourism generates 10 pc of the world’s gross domestic product, is responsible for one in every 10 jobs and 30 pc of world trade in services making it central to many countries’ economies and people’s livelihoods.
However, consequently the UNWTO estimates that tourism is responsible for about 5 pc of global CO2 emissions. Accommodation accounts for approximately 20 pc of emissions from tourism, which includes energy demand, dining, and leisure.
According to the latest research from Colliers International, hotel carbon footprint in the UAE is within the global average range (20,000 – 30,000 KGCO2E per room); but Saudi Arabia is up at over 50,000 KGCO2E. It is a similar story in terms of hotel energy usage per square metre – the UAE is within the global average at just under 500KWH, but KSA up at around 750KWH.
“And it’s not just saving energy,” claimed Markus Oberlin, CEO at Dubai-based sustainability consultant and Green Globe partner Farnek. “Hotels can apply a ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ principle to so many aspects of their operation – food waste, grey water and so on…”
To address global warming, the UAE Government has set itself ambitious targets to reduce its carbon emissions by 16 pc by 2021. To achieve this objective the government has asked the UAE business community to support its efforts.
“Energy costs alone in UAE hotels represent approximately 6 pc of total hotel revenues, so even small savings could have significant financial benefits, underscoring the business case for sustainability,” added Oberlin.
India & Responsible Tourism
Tourism sector is one of the largest employment generators in India and encourages inclusive growth of the less-advantaged sections of the society. One of the objective of the Paryatan Parv, a programme launched by the Government of India is to spread the awareness about tourism as a major engine of economic growth and harness its direct and multiplier effect on employment and poverty eradication in a sustainable manner by active participation of all segments of the society. The core theme of Paryatan Parv is ‘Tourism for All’ as it is the endeavour to associate every section of the society and all stakeholders both in organised and unorganised sector for developing and promoting tourism in the country.
During the Paryatan Parv, sensitisation programmes, skill development programmes and training programmes are being organised to inculcate appropriate tourism traits and knowledge amongst the service providers to enable them to act / work as tourist facilitators. Young men and women are being trained acts as catalyst / resource persons in turn for similar effort. To gradually work towards a tourism-sensitive citizenry for college going students including those enrolled with youth associations and organisations. By creating awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism for them in terms of increase in source of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area, promote local arts, cultural, handicrafts, cuisine etc. to generate livelihoods.
Since the hospitality industry is facing a challenge of supply of trained manpower, the Paryatan Parv offers an opportunity to the people who are directly or indirectly associated with business of tourism to upgrade themselves and be part of the industry in some way. To ensure that the efforts put up during the Paryatan Parv should not get diluted, the mission of the Ministry of Tourism, therefore, is not only to supply skilled hands as required by the sector but to also upgrade / certify the skills of the existing service providers to reduce the skill gap. The Ministry of Tourism has put in place a strategy to reduce the skill gap in the sector, including sanction of institutional infrastructure and launch of short duration training programmes for creating employable skills.
Two flagship schemes of the Ministry of Tourism, Swadesh Darshan and Prasad although focuses on Infrastructure development of the circuits and sites, the salient feature of these schemes is comprehensive development of tourism which includes creating employment opportunities through active participation of local communities in a sustainable and inclusive manner through development of a “Responsible Tourism” initiative.