Environmental focus at AHIC
ROYALTY, finance experts, property developers and hoteliers will speak of the need to pursue sustainable environmental policies while building a tourism infrastructure in the Middle East at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai.
The panel discussion will be introduced by video by Charles, Prince of Wales, an of ecologically sound methods in architecture and development.
Defined by the UN Environmental Programme as “maintaining a balance between the environmental, economics and social-cultural aspects of tourism development necessary for long-term sustainability”, the topic is increasingly highlighted as one that affects the mindset of tourists and the travel industry.
UNEP has reported that tour operators are setting sustainability standards for their suppliers, warning destinations to make use of natural environmental resources while conserving this natural heritage.
In the UK, a survey by the Association of British Travel Agents revealed that 45 per cent of respondents felt it important that their holiday did not damage the environment, highlighting the potential to generate new business through ‘green’ strategy.
Hotels are increasingly taking this message on board in their expansion and operations, according to Jonathan B Tourtellot, director of the Centre for Sustainable Destinations at the National Geographic Society, who chairs the discussion. “The future of the hotel industry is inextricably tied to sustaining the quality and character of the destinations on which the hotels depend,” he said.
The panel of speakers includes Marriott International president and managing director Ed Fuller, Nakheel’s Dr Imad Haffar, Accor’s general manager for human resources and sustainable development, Cathy Kopp, and HSBC’s Jon Williams.