Heritage Tourism & Climate Change
WHY SUSTAINABILITY IN THE HOSPITALITY
INDUSTRY MUST BE OUR TOP PRIORITY?
1. The hospitality industry depends on a healthy global ecosystem and is uniquely
vulnerable to environmental damage.
Our natural environment is the beautiful destination we offer guests; it’s where the food in our hotels and restaurants comes from; it’s the air that our customers breathe and the water they drink. Climate change and biodiversity loss are two major interconnected environmental issues that have a broad impact on the hospitality industry.
2. Customers want sustainable business.
A 2020 study by consulting firm Kearney shows that the COVID pandemic has made consumers even more concerned about the environment when making choices than before. Going green leads to better loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing, and higher customer satisfaction.
3. The hospitality industry already has a major impact on the global ecosystem.
Right now, the hotel sector accounts for around 1% of global carbon emissions, and this is set to increase as the industry grows.
Research by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has found that the hotel industry needs to reduce its carbon emissions by 66% per room by 2030, and by 90% per room by 2050, to ensure that the growth forecast for the industry does not lead to a corresponding increase in carbon emissions.
Hotels can also have a direct negative impact on biodiversity, due to excessive use of resources, purchasing unsustainably farmed produce, waste, irresponsible tourism, and unsustainable design.
Restaurants have a huge role to play in countering biodiversity loss. Food production is the economic sector with the largest impact on biodiversity, contributing 60–70% to date of total biodiversity loss in terrestrial ecosystems, and about 50% of biodiversity loss in freshwater systems.
The hospitality industry is in a position to achieve huge amounts of positive change through the introduction of sustainable design and practises, and without the need to wait for government targets.
Making a Case for Heritage Tourism & Climate Change
But, we can go further than that. We can use our influence to become sustainability champions and ‘third wave’ corporations, driving new ways of thinking and doing business.
In the case of the hotel industry most companies can be described as ‘second wave corporations’, according to a model developed by the authors of “Organisational Change for Corporate Sustainability.”
First wave corporations are those that reject the notion of sustainability, or choose not to take any action. Second wave corporations, although they accept and adopt a sustainability agenda of some form, do it to serve their self-interests and third-wave corporations who go beyond self-interests and see creating a sustainable world as their mission. They use their products and services to help create a sustainable society, and they build networks and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve that goal.
To have a meaningful impact on global ecology, we need to adopt a new business paradigm, where hotels would become active advocates of sustainability values and influence their suppliers, partners, customers, communities and governments.
Hotels Need To Go Beyond The Second Wave.
Leaping from the second to the third wave requires change-leadership and management. Hotels that are leading the third wave transition have leaders who are devoted to sustainability and have the leadership skills to influence and transform current ethos and practices.
Hotels Need To Go Beyond The Second Wave.
Tierra Hotels is a small company with three hotels in Chile, all designed to use local materials and minimise energy for heating or cooling. The hotels have their own solar farms and grey water systems, and have begun reforestation projects on their own grounds, reintroducing native species, in addition to planting traditional crops and kitchen gardens for food.
In cooperation with the Chilean Tourist Board and Forestry Association, Tierra Patagonia also actively supports a reforestation project which aims to plant one million trees across Chilean Patagonia’s national parks. They offer ecotourism training opportunities for hotel professionals and workshops for guests.
These two examples of Tierra and Inkaterra demonstrate how sustainability can be embedded within the ethos of a company as a driving force of its activities, with the guidance of committed leadership.
Many different types of hotels are implementing sustainability plans in response to changing customer demand. Inhabitat lists the world’s 20 greenest hotels every year, and Forbes Magazine has their own list of favourite sustainable hotels.
Hotels around the world are recognised for the work they’ve done to reduce their footprint, through awards such as; the Better World Sustainability Award, the World Travel Green Hotel awards, the Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark and the Eco Hotel of the Year award.
Hotel management schools around the world also have a critical role to play.
How is Nyanga Arts Festival Addressing Climate Change in the Field Of Heritage?
Safeguarding Cultural Heritage and Biodiversity
Nyanga Arts Festival designated sites, including Nyanga National Park Biosphere Reserves protect 472 square kilometres of cultural heritage and biodiversity.
Monitoring the Impact of Climate change on Heritage Tourism in Nyanga
Nyanga Arts Festival is in the process of developing monitoring mechanisms that track the impact of climate change on local heritage properties
Responding to Climate Emergencies in Nyanga
Following the destruction of cultural heritage in Chimanimani in the wake of Cyclone Idai, Nyanga Arts Festival will setup a Nyanga Heritage Tourism Emergency Fund.
Building Capacity to Mitigate the impact of Climate change on Heritage Tourism and Communities
Nyanga Festival will organise capacity-building workshops on climate-related disaster risk management for festival site managers.
Spearheading Heritage Tourism and Climate change Research
Culminating to a National Heritage Tourism and Climate Change Reflection Forum at the 2nd Edition of Nyanga Arts Festival in 2023.
Sounding the Alarm on the International Stage
Highlight potential or actual threats on heritage tourism to UNESCO.