Sustainable tourism practices reduce costs, increases revenue and attract customers. The success of the hotel sector, an essential factor in the tourism industry, depends to a large extent on the availability of natural resources.
It may, however, have negative impacts on the environment by destabilizing it. While the concept of sustainability has gained attention, voluntary initiatives to minimize adverse effects in the accommodation sector arose, such as environmental management systems.
A fairly recent tool was created by the Ministry of Tourism of Brazil: the Brazilian System of Classification in Hotels (SBClass), whose aim was to promote communication between the hospitality industry and the tourists and guide them in their classification, meeting several requirements, among them sustainability, aimed at reducing natural resources. It serves as a guideline for hotel classification and for meeting several environmental standards.
Initiatives like this are positive and have already shown immediate results. For example, the “Pousada do Sol de Aracaju”, located on the beach of Atalaia in northeastern Brazil, an inn with an area of 6400 square metres and approximately 40 employees, started to invest in efficient environmental solutions such as water reuse and solar heating. Customers’ awareness was also raised to assist them in reducing the consumption of water and electricity. The incentive the clients to reuse the bath towels.
Given these changes, the venture achieved a significant reduction in energy consumption by up to20%. With these practices, they were able to avoid power cuts at peak hours in the early evening, when energy consumption is generally most costly.
In terms of sustainability, these practices may be considered preliminary and subject to improvement but it is important to point out that it is already a major concern among managers to adopt practices that decrease consumption of natural resources. And for these and other aspects, it is important to invest in measures that stimulate a sustainable business environment, in order to help reduce costs and to attract environmentally conscious customers resources.
Alessandra Leal graduated in environment Management in Hotels
Have your questions for our author? click here.
References: Viegas M. M. A. (2008). Instrumentos de Turismo Sustentável - Práticas Ambientais no Sector Hoteleiro do Algarve. Revista dos Algarves, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portgual. Leal, Alessandra do Nascimento (2012). Importância da gestão ambiental em empreendimentos hoteleiros - O caso do litoral sul de Pernambuco. Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Dissertação de Mestrado. Site: <http://www.turismo.gov.br/turismo/ingles/> Accessed October 2012.