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Dubai Hotels Benefit From DTCM’s Green Tourism Initiatives
(28 February 2012)
Hotels achieve significant reduction in energy consumption


 

A slew of Green Tourism initiatives and awareness programmes about environmentally sustainable tourism launched by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has been helping the hotels and hotel apartments in the Arabian Gulf region’s tourism hub in reducing the consumption of electricity and water and presenting themselves as environment-friendly properties to guests from across the world.

Inaugurating the environmental tourism training workshop titled Green Tourism in GCC Countries- Between Hope and Reality at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, Mr. Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, DTCM Executive Director of Business Development and Media Relations Division, said tourism has been playing an increasingly important socio-economic role in the economies of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the recent years with Dubai maintaining a market leading position.

“Several other GCC states have also started giving more focus to tourism. There have been reasonable concerns about environmental issues due to the development of tourism industry in our region,” he remarked.

The senior official said environmentally sustainable tourism was being pursued in Dubai in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism which leads to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be filled while maintaining cultural integrity, essentials ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems.”

He said the DTCM has been active in enhancing the industry’s contribution to Green Tourism.

In 2009, the DTCM launched Dubai Green Tourism Award to encourage five, four and three star hotels reduce hotel carbon emissions by 20 per cent. The award submissions for this year were extended to include two-star hotels and standard hotel apartments. The department has shortlisted 23 hotel establishments for the 2011 awards programme. Hotels and hotel apartments are assessed for a wide range of environmental, economic and social issues, including energy saving, nature conservation and community involvement.

In a presentation, Ms. Shaikha Al Mutawa, DTCM Director of Business Development and Chairperson of the Dubai Green Tourism Award organizing committee, said the main aim was to strengthen the economy of Dubai through the development of initiatives that enhances the importance of sustainable tourism throughout the industry.

The major aims of Green Tourism Initiatives include encouraging the hotel sector to be conscious about the use of natural resources and energy conservation and to implement systems that reduce the emissions of CO2, to spread environmental awareness and social responsibility throughout the tourism sector and to create a statistical environmental model for hotels that illustrates the scale of energy consumption and improvements.

The other aims are to recognize the best practices and encourage the hospitality sector to exchange knowledge about environmental practices and to support and supervise the eco-tourism attraction and create a unique experience for our guests and visitors.

She said the UAE’s Green Economy Initiative includes six major tracks covering a wide range of legislation, policies, programmes and projects. The first track aims to promote renewable energy, clean fuels and energy efficiency usage. The second track intends to encourage investments in green economy and green technologies and to create job opportunities for UAE citizens.

The third track, concerning the green city, includes urban planning, sustainable transportation, and clean air initiatives. The fourth track deal with climate change and aims to reduce carbon emissions, encourage organic agriculture and preserve biodiversity. The fifth track is set to rationalize the use of water and energy resources, encourage recycling and raise environmental awareness. Finally, the sixth track, on green technology, will focus on carbon capturing and storage technologies plus generating energy from waste.

Ms. Shaikha also announced that the department would conduct benchmark studies with seven destinations including the Boston, Portland, Puerto Rico, Macao, South Africa and Melbourne, about the operation of green awards and eco-attractions.

She said the number of Dubai hotel establishments participating in the Green Initiatives has increased to 104 in 2011 from 70 in 2009. Similarly, the participating hotels managed to cut down consumption of electricity by seven per cent in 2009 and 12 per cent in 2011 and water by 12 and 20 per cent in 2009 and 2011, respectively. The number of Green Teams in hotel establishments also went up from 160 in 2009 to 576 in 2011.

The three-day seminar was being attended by officials from UNEP, UNESCO, hoteliers, environmentalists and media representatives from the GCC states.

In his remarks, Dr. Mohammed Alashkar said the workshop was an ideal platform for exchanging knowledge and experience in the tourism sector and the interaction would add valuable ecological information to the knowledge of the hoteliers and others.

He said the workshop has been designed for boosting the knowledge of those working in the tourism sector to ensure that Dubai and the GCC region continues to lead in the world as a sought-after tourism and business destination while supporting its economy and protecting the people and environment.

In his address, Prof. Dr. Said Mansour Mohamed El- Batouty, Consultant at United Nations Development Plan (UNDP), explained the definition of a Green Economy and provided insights to the participants about tourism in environmental economy, natural resource management in tourism economy and natural reserves and their role in preserving the environmental heritage.

Mr. Frederick Reinisch, General Manager, Jebel Ali Resort and Spa, shared the successful ‘Green Journey’ of the property in terms of preservation and promoting Green Tourism concepts. At Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa it is the responsibility of each and every associate to contribute and promote ECO practices and lead by example, he said.

We have also taken up the initiative of educating our associates and guests, including the local community, keeping in mind that the children are our future hence our challenge to increase the number of awareness activities within the resort, he added.

Mr. Frederick said the hotel’s landscape and gardens including the entire golf course are irrigated with recycled water through by our onsite treatment plant since 1981 and it has been using its own desalination plant to desalinise all water used throughout the Resort since 2001. Conserving water is aided by the Sewage Treatment Plant providing recycled water for our 128 acres of gardens and 9-hole golf course since 1981 and the Storage capacity and was increased in 1998 with the extension of PTC.

Solar water heating system is installed and used for the Associate Accommodation since 1998. All taps throughout the resort have been fitted with diffusers since 1997. The hotel replaced the existing bulbs for the Public Areas and corridors with Energy Saving bulbs in 2008 while all the guest rooms, lobby and lift landing areas are fitted with LED lights since 2010. All the walkway bridges around Palm Tree Court accommodation and the golf course signage’s are made from eco-wood.

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