Aoucher, explained, “The tourism sector is well positioned to positively impact both the environment and benefit local communities, economically and socially through incorporating sustainability.
[…] It is our vision that the tourism companies operating within the emirate should also develop a sense of liability and responsibility for managing and preserving the rich heritage of Ajman, [including] natural resources which are limited in supply and their elevated footfall leads to rapid depletion of such precious resources [on a global level],” adding that it is henceforth the responsibility of all bodies of the sector to work collaboratively to achieve sustainable growth.
As examples of mutual initiatives with ATDD, Hamdani described a project of recyclable materials collection and Kushwaha recalled a large-scale clean-up event at the recently opened Ajman Marina, which gathered hoteliers, department heads and staff working as a team for long hours to achieve accumulation of more than two tonnes of rubbish.
Desjardins, while emphasising the importance of close cooperation with ATDD, also mentioned teaming-up with the Ajman Centre of Corporate Social Responsibility, leading to such events as beach or desert clean-up days, where the local authorities, the hotel’s guests and community members participated.
As a tourism department responsible for consistency of environmentally-friendly business conduct across the sector, ATDD also cooperated with Emirate Green Building Council to ensure that the ATDD employees along with Ajman hotels’ staff received adequate training to be able to implement and maintain green principles within their working environment, as Aoucher revealed.
The joint efforts are complemented by various ongoing staff training programmes and workshops provided by hotels in-house, which are simultaneously taken further.
Hamdani exemplified the pioneer initiatives of the company’s representatives who take part in various forums and conferences to share the hotel’s green practices with fellow partners, inspiring them and other organisations to shift towards sustainability.
With a motto Together For Difference, Kushwaha highlighted the role of the hotel’s green committee which supervises and facilitates correct environmental conduct within the property, focussed mainly on reducing energy waste.
Adding to the trend of an in-house green supervising body, which seems to be emerging among Ajman’s hospitality providers, Desjardins, also mentioned, “To keep us on track towards achieving sustainability goals, we have appointed a sustainability committee, represented by colleagues from each department, who create and implement the best practices for conserving energy and reducing waste and water consumption.”
SUSTAINABILITY HAND-IN-HAND WITH PROFITABILITY
Ajman’s hospitality experts have not only realised the pivotal role of sustainability in corporate social responsibility strategy but also as a source of balanced, long-term growth. As a result, the hotels apply numerous ecological and environmentally-friendly measures to secure both, sustainability and profitability.
Environmental awareness has led to extra sustainability efforts, with creativity and the latest technology appear to have become an effective mix of ingredients in the hands of Ajman’s hoteliers.
Desjardins listed the energy saving practices at the hotel’s premises, such as switching off steam boilers at night, setting cooler temperatures at a controlled sequence, switching off lights in the empty areas, with future investment plans to obtain motion sensors, grey water treatment systems and fully applied LED lighting.
Kushwaha, while confirming that sustainability is not only a social awareness responsibility but also a profit-generating strategy, exemplifies that the use of recycled water in irrigation saves almost AED3,135 (USD853.5) per day thanks to the sewage treatment plant; daily savings up to AED576 (USD156.8) in diesel consumption are achieved with solar water heating system; the replacement of 850 units of classic light bulbs with LED save the property on average AED292.4 (USD79.6) daily or further cost reduction of AED1,125 (USD306.3) monthly is reached through creating more space in rubbish containers by using a cardboard compacting machine for processing the carton boxes.
A SMALL EMIRATE WITH BIG GREEN POTENTIAL
Considering the implementation of sustainable strategies within the industry in the years to come, Desjardins lists recycling of all materials, turning food waste into compost, buying in bulk to avoid wastage and sustainable purchasing as some of the important practices to adopt or improve by hoteliers.
Adding to the vision of elevating the emirate’s green status in the near future, Aoucher unveiled the idea of sustainable agriculture as a solution towards achieving equilibrium in terms of culture, growth and social dynamics, which will help to deliver greater value to the society while preserving the environment.
Abraham expressed that Ajman has the potential to become a green tourism leader amongst all emirates through setting the industry’s benchmark thanks to ATDD’s support, and willingness of the hotels to go an extra mile in their efforts.
He also identified that the industry’s goal to control costs through sustainable practices generate an additional interest from guests, who often address and question the hotels’ impacts on the environment.
Ajman represents a non-conventional destination with the potential to appeal to ecologically-conscious travellers seeking not only leisure, but sustainable travelling and therefore appreciating the emirate’s green economy orientation, demonstrated by environmentally-friendly efforts in the tourism sector.
As Desjardins enthused, “The beauty of Ajman is that, being the smallest emirate, it is easier to impact and come together as a community in an active environmental movement.
Canvassing for each and everyone’s support towards the preservation of natural resources and adherence to social values will definitely help the destination to be amongst the leading emirates in driving sustainable and eco-tourism.”