The tourism industry is now responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions according to a study published by Nature Climate Change magazine. Hotels, restaurants and transport all have a significant impact on the environment. As a result, some hoteliers have decided to turn to planet-friendly practices to improve the management of their establishment. Faced with today's ecological problems, it is necessary for hoteliers to commit to a sustainable approach.
The new generation of environmentally conscious travelers
The Millennials very quickly became aware of their impact on the environment. Through demonstrations, including the climate march last May, young people show their mobilization for a more environmentally friendly world. They have already implemented a certain number of practices in their daily lives: selective sorting, purchase of organic products, carpooling... The aim is to contribute through small actions to reduce their environmental impact.
This awareness is found in all sectors, including tourism. In Sweden, air transport, considered the most polluting form of transport, is beginning to be boycotted by many young travelers. It must be said that sustainability is an important criterion for this generation when planning their holidays. Nearly 68% of travelers prefer to stay in an eco-friendly hotel according to a Booking study. Even when travelling, Millennials are sensitive to their impact on the planet and want to be able to maintain the habits established in their daily lives.
The environmental practices to be implemented in his hotel
By committing to a sustainable approach, the hotelier contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it is also a good way to attract the new generation of travelers. To do so, it can draw inspiration from these few practices already in place in the hotel industry:
- Eliminate plastic = By 2021, single-use plastic items will be banned. Hoteliers must therefore find new alternatives. Geneva Green offers hospitality products made of recycled plastic while Comatec offers a catalogue of objects made with natural materials.
- Reducing food waste = Simple actions can be implemented by the hotelier: measuring food losses, raising customer awareness, reusing food surpluses, etc. In addition, a study shows that 70% of establishments that have set up a waste reduction programme have recovered their investment after one year.
- Building green buildings = The principle is to build hotels with ecological and natural materials in order to limit the environmental impact of construction. The Eklo hotel chain is based on this approach by building eco-responsible, low-energy hotels with a recyclable wooden frame.
- Involving the traveller = Travelers are also responsible for the pollution generated by the hotel industry. This is why the hotelier must make travelers aware of their consumption during their stay. This involves installing sorting bins in the hotel. Instead of daily cleaning of bed linen/towels, the hotelier can offer to do this service at the request of the guest.
The accreditations to be obtained
For travelers wishing to stay in an eco-responsible hotel, labels have been created to distinguish the establishments. Each eco-label establishes its own criteria to be met by hotels wishing to obtain this distinction. Today, the best known are the European eco-label, Green Globe or the Green Key. The World Council for Sustainable Tourism has created standards to harmonize certification of green hotels to provide maximum transparency to the traveller when selecting a hotel.
The creation of these labels is a good way to guarantee the traveller that the hotel is committed to a sustainable approach through the implementation of various actions. However, a traveller who wishes to book a room in an eco-responsible hotel must consider other criteria. He can find out about the hotel's commitments if it supports projects related to the environment. The location of the hotel is also an important criterion, especially the proximity to activities to limit car travel.
Whether it is a small village gîte or a large town centre hotel, all structures can invest in a sustainable approach through the implementation of simple but effective actions. Indeed, each action will have an impact on the environment and on citizen awareness. More than a trend, sustainable tourism is increasingly appealing to the new generation of travelers. Through the implementation of an environmentally friendly policy, hoteliers will save money in the long term.