Apart from advancing the green agenda, going sustainable for hotels would mean competitive advantage in an industry where travelers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious.
At the 2023 Philippine Hospitality in Sustainable Tourism (Philhost) forum at a hotel in Taguig City over the weekend, former Pacific Asia Travel Association chief and Bridge XP Advisory managing director Liz Ortiguera said there had been a rise of conscious travelers across the globe in the past years.
Citing the recent Economist Impact report, Ortiguera said more than 90 percent of Filipinos alone answered that sustainable tourism is an important factor in their travel considerations, the highest among all the countries in the region.
“As hospitality industry leaders, it’s in your hands, you are the portal to the destination and so it’s in your hands to introduce very properly to business and leisure travelers, your destination,” she said.
According to the 2022 Green Lodging Trends Report by consulting firm Greenview, at least 78 percent of the hotels it surveyed in the Philippines are already implementing initiatives to reduce carbon emissions.
It also showed that some 30 percent have green roofs; 63 percent are conducting waste audits in the past three years; and 92 percent are implementing initiatives to reduce energy use.
In a separate workshop, Susan de Cardenas of the Society for Sustainable Tourism highlighted the importance of getting certified, especially when the credibility of a destination is threatened by greenwashing or misleading claims about an organization’s environmental practices.
“Travelers are now looking for sustainable stays,” she said.
She emphasized that developments in a destination should also be based on the environmental inventory of its natural assets.
“The Philippine Islands, 7,600 islands, it’s all about coastal management and environment, even in Metro Manila, right next door is the lake. We still have to inventory the natural assets and their carrying capacity,” she said.
“(Some of the) properties, who are in fact GSPC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) members and certified, showed savings — millions of dollars saving from being sustainable, that’s why I’m saying it, in fact is all about saving,” she added.
The GSTC Criteria is the global standards for sustainable travel and tourism and provides international accreditation to develop a common language about sustainable tourism. (PNA)