Photo: PPP, Tulum.
According to Hotel Tech Report (2022), “a 2021 study found that 81% of travelers surveyed said they plan to choose a sustainable accommodation option in the coming year. The share of green-minded travelers has risen consistently over the past 6 years that the survey was conducted”. For LUSH, the Luxury Sustainable Hotels International Association, is also important to emphasize that an important part of sustainability are the local communities of the tourist destinations. Each year more travellers are looking forward for an authentic experience of local culture. To fulfill their expectations, hoteliers need to achieve community engagement, is not enough just to employed locals or sell local crafts.
“Hospitality industry has great opportunities for moving towards a sustainable tourism business with community engagement, as they have close contact with people from all over the world for extended periods of time.” -Makayla Haertel (2022)
Is crucial to understand that by supporting local businesses and initiatives, hotels contribute to the development of the community, which results in a positive economic and social impact for local residents. The involvement of the community and the sustainable hotels can take on many different forms. The main goal should be “provide educational value and positive sustainability experiences to those individuals and the surrounding communities”. (Haertel, 2022) However, this can only be reach with a strategic plan.
Some of the actions that a sustainable hotel can implement to make a positive impact in the community are:
Collaborations with local schools. Education is the base.
Collaborations with local artisans. Boost local economy
Use of green energies
Support local farms and fishermen to source the food, and create learning partnerships to educate staff
Hire local people
Implement regenerative measures: leave it better than it was
Talking about economic impacts, supporting the local economy is another important way that hotels can make a positive impact. (Wadhwa, 2022) Sadly, many times the incomes of tourist go directly to global brands and not to local businesses. However, there are exceptions. Some of them are the ones mentioned next.
“As part of its RiseHY program, HYATT has committed to hiring 10,000 “opportunity youth” between the ages of 16 and 24 by 2025”. – Hotel Tech Report (2022)
“WYNDHAM announced that the company achieved 100% gender equity in pay for its executive team in 2021”. – Hotel Tech Report (2022)
“51% of MARRIOTTs top 20% highest-paid employees in the United States were women in 2019″. – Hotel Tech Report (2022)
Sustainable hotels have the opportunity to partner with small businesses such as boutique stores, tour guides and restaurants. The main goal of these partnerships needs to be a health tourist system where the organizations and the community perceive tourism as an activity with positive impacts for them, environmentally, economically and socially. Hotels play a large role in promoting job development, promoting training programs, sponsor hospitality and sustainability courses, and enriching local communities.
A part from the economical and social positive impacts mentioned above; we can relate the impact of sustainable hotels in the communities with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) from the United Nations. They were 17 and all of them where published for The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. Some of the goals that are more present in the path of a sustainable hotel that wants to be aligned with the community are the following:
Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
“The goal of making positive impacts in the communities can be achieve only if the hospitality sector works like a community”
(Hector De Castro, CEO at LUSH association and EcoHotelProjects.
There are different organizations focused in sustainable hospitality and its impact in the destinations. At the Luxury Sustainable Hotels International Association (LUSH) we look forward to increasing our specialized community to exchange our knowledge about sustainable boutique hotels, sustainable tourism, heritage, tourism from social scope, politics related to tourism, SDG’s, etc.
“Ecohotelprojects is proud member and accredited certifying body of LUSH,
the association of reference for luxury sustainable boutique hotels and retreats”.
As members at LUSH we’re alligned with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and share and follow its criteria. We all have as final goal to create a better world, a greener hospitality industry and work hand by hand with all of our members and community.
People, Planet and Profit alligned to create a better world.
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