WE LOOK AT HOW THE SMALL EMIRATE EXEMPLIFIES BIG TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INITIATIVES CONTRIBUTING TO THIS VISION AND GLOBAL TOURISM SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS.
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) declared this year as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, emphasising an important role of tourism as a contributor towards global sustainability.
One of the key areas where tourism has the potential to create a significant positive impact is in resource efficiency and environmental protection, in which UNWTO encourages all industry stakeholders to join its forces, cooperate and contribute in raising awareness.
In line with this global shift towards sustainability, the Ajman tourism and hospitality sector is taking innovative steps towards preserving the emirate for future generations and setting an example of how environmental awareness along with efficient cooperation result in a common extra effort to encourage balanced development.
AWARENESS BRINGS ACTIONS
Ajman’s hospitality leaders are well aware of the impact of hotels operations on the environment and the difference they can make when managing their businesses with sustainability as a priority.
Francis Desjardins, general manager, Fairmont Ajman, defined sustainability in tourism as a pursuance of progress without compromising the fundamental needs of future generations, where the hotels’ commitment to the earth is crucial.
Demonstrating awareness and a necessity to take actions, Iftikhar Hamdani, cluster general manager, Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman, and Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman, elaborated, “The tourism and hospitality industries generate a huge carbon footprint, a sizeable amount of waste and energy consumption daily, thus it is crucial for our industries to lead the green revolution.”
Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) holds sustainability as a pillar for its overall strategy and aims at developing and promoting environmentally-friendly hotel management practices, as Yamina Aoucher, director, tourism development and marketing, Ajman Tourism Development Department, described and further revealed, “Current carbon dioxide emissions stand at approximately 35kg per guest, being a global average in the hotel industry.
We target to achieve much lower production and eventually deliver an example in terms of the lowest emissions per guest.”
Additionally, water scarcity represents a major challenge that the region is facing along with waste production, according to Aoucher.
On one hand, a rapid tourism expansion in Ajman is positive, where at the same time it translates to potentially higher level of waste produced by hotels, from food wastage to energy consumption, as Desjardins also stressed.
Kefah Abraham, general manager, EWAN Ajman Suites Hotel, added another point, “Despite years of conservation efforts, hotels’ energy and resource consumption is still considerable, however, this also opens the way for further sustainability efforts which have a double benefit of saving money and preserving the environment.”
With a strong sense of responsibility towards the surroundings and society, a successful business is underlined by both profitability and sustainability, where it must firstly give to receive back, hence never forgetting the impact on the environment, indicated, Basant Kushwaha, director, engineering, Kempinski Hotel Ajman.