Hotels in Environmental Sustainability /
International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI) Research
|July 23, 2002 - British holidaymakers are leading
the move towards environmentally responsible travel, according to a new
multi-national report on consumer travel trends by the International Hotels
Nine out of 10 people surveyed in the UK believe tourism development is in danger of destroying the environment, compared to 70% of Australians and a third of Americans.
The report, out today, is based on the first international survey of consumer attitudes towards the role of hotels in environmental sustainability. It was conducted this month among travellers at airports in the UK, US and Australia by IHEI member hotel group Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
According to IHEI director Karen Fletcher, “Ten years ago only a handful of hoteliers recognised their vital role in protecting our environment and sustaining tourism.
“Today there is a groundswell of awareness within the industry that the survival of tourism destinations depends upon our ability as individuals and organisations to reduce the pressures on the earths ecosystems. Fortunately for hotels this translates into tangible cost savings and business benefits.”
The report shows that 90% of British tourists interviewed nowadays consider it part of a hotel’s responsibility to actively protect and support the environment, including local communities, and are more likely to book a property with a responsible environmental attitude. This compares with two thirds of Australians and Americans polled.
However, no British respondents reported actually asking if hotels have an environmental policy, a question posed by a less shy 26% of Australians and 14% of Americans.
Greater pressure on hotels from the Brits and Australians
British people and Australians expect more from their hotels. Fifty three percent of each (compared to only 28% of Americans surveyed) are very likely to choose hotels with equipment like renewable power supplies and biological wastewater treatment systems.
Australians particularly favour properties which use recycled toilet paper and biodegradable toiletries (50%), compared to only a quarter of Brits and 13% of Americans.
Predictably the British are keen on places which protect animal and marine life (80%, as opposed to 60% of Americans). Ninety six percent say they pay extra care when throwing away rubbish likely to harm wildlife (75% Australia; 57% US).
But it is the Australians who show most concern for nature, with 83% supporting hotels which avoid felling trees (compared to 32% of people in the US).
Reflecting American food tastes, only 11% of US consumers prefer hotels using home- or locally-grown vegetables and fruit, as opposed to an average 58% in the other countries.
At a domestic level…
The Brits and Australians demand more environmentally-responsible hotel keeping, with an average 65% (compared to 26% Americans) preferring hotels which conserve energy by re-using towels and closely managing lighting and air conditioning.
Seventy four percent of British travellers surveyed (62% Australians; 57% US) like hotels which seek to employ staff from local communities, figures also reflected in the 87% of Brits (63% Australians; 60% US) which expect their hotels to guarantee good wages and working conditions.
There is a growing recognition that environmental sustainability extends to protecting the well-being and culture of local communities and their people, endorsed by 71% of Brits and Australians but only 53% of people surveyed in the US.
In particular, 62% of Australians interviewed (57% UK; 49% US) consider it very important that hotels support local businesses and cottage industries, as well as investing in local schools and hospitals.
Seventy seven percent of Brits surveyed (70% Australia; 54% US) feel hotels should consult local people on how their land is developed and used, as well as share prime resources like water and power with their nearby communities.
However, only 33% of Americans asked want to find local people on their hotel beach, compared to 75% of more willing Australians and Brits.
New awareness of personal responsibility:
While all three nationalities are equally happy to save water by showering, not bathing (70%), the British more readily conserve power by switching off lights and turning down air conditioning when leaving their hotel room (91% UK; 67% Australia; 76% US).
Seventy percent of Australians asked (and 65% of Brits), but only 36% of Americans, cycle or walk on holiday, instead of travelling by car.
Thirty eight percent of Americans surveyed say they often fail to dress according to local sensitivities (only 22% Brits), and 35% of Australians interviewed find themselves intolerant of language differences (12% Brits and Americans).
The purpose of the survey was to get a feel for current consumer views on sustainable tourism, identifying attitudinal changes and new holiday trends.
on Attitudes to
Do you agree with the following statements:
When choosing a hotel, how influenced are you if it undertakes the following:
How important to your holiday are the following measures that hotels can take to protect the environment:
When staying in a hotel/ resort, how often do you:
How important is it to you that hotels:
Which element of your holiday do you think has the most negative effect on the environment (tick one):
How likely are you to think about:
How much extra would you be willing to pay on a two-week holiday for a hotel you know is environmentally responsible (UK only):
About the International Hotels Environment Initiative
Established as a non-profit programme in 1992 by chief executives of the world’s leading hotel groups, the International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI) this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.
As a programme of the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, an educational charity - and a pioneering business leadership initiative in its own right - IHEI promotes continuous improvement in the environmental performance of hotels throughout the world.
Providing IHEI’s leadership and funding are senior executives from 11 multi-national hotel groups, between them representing 68 brands, hotels on five continents and two million rooms. Also supporting the initiative are hotel brands and partners around the world.
In the past 10 years, IHEI has significantly raised awareness of responsible business practices amongst members of the global hotel sector and its suppliers, as well as tour operators, government bodies, academia and consumers. It acts as a catalyst and a conduit for members to pool resources and share experiences on a non-competitive platform.
But IHEI does not just plan and pronounce. It offers information and networking support, covering cost-saving programmes and new technologies, a best-practice manual, video and magazine - Green Hotelier, an environmental action pack, responsible purchasing guidelines and much more.
Its latest tool is a web-based, benchmarking system designed in conjunction with WWF UK to measure and improve both the environmental performance and the profitability of hotels by helping them save energy and water, better manage waste, carry out more informed purchasing, reduce chemical use and contribute to local communities.
As the voice of the hotel industry in the environmental debate, IHEI is highly regarded by not only the world’s top tourism experts but governments, industry chiefs and powerful people in the hospitality business.
Indeed, it is represented on the judging panel of prestigious awards such as British Airways’ ‘Tourism for Tomorrow Awards’ and, in conjunction with American Express and the International Hotels & Restaurant Association, the ‘Green Hoteliers Award’.
IHEI’s objectives are
Corporate and affiliate partners and associate members are: Association of the Brazilian Hotel Industry (ABIH), Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), CH2M Hill, Small Luxury Hotels of the World and the Association of the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Industry in Denmark (HORESTA).
About sustainable tourism:
Tourism development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, taking into account socio-economic factors, as well as environmental management issues
Ecotourism is a subset of sustainable tourism and specifically addresses
Head of International Communications
Luxury Hotel Partners/Small Luxury Hotels of the World
T: 01372 224600
F: 01372 361874
|Also See:||Lake County, Fla. Struggles to Carve out Ecotourism Market, Explosive Growth Threatens Image / July 2001|
|Teaching Travellers to Be Activists in Preserving the Places They Visit is a Key to Achieving Sustainable Development in the Tourism Industry / April 1999|
|Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel Formed to Encourage the Travel and Tourism Industry to Develop/Promote Sustainable Practices / Mar 2000|
|Andreas Obrist and Sybille Riedmiller Named Green Hoteliers of the Year by the IH&RA; Honored for Committment to Energy Conservation / Nov 2001|