Hotels and the Environment

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HOTEL INDUSTRY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
By
VASUNDHARA TANWAR

LITERATURE REVIEW
When we talk of hotels we never think that something like that could have an impact on the environment and people would spend millions of rupees and infinite number of hours to deal with this so called impact. However this is absolutely the case. The seemingly small problem is literally taking the world by storm. So much so that national governments, hotels and even the UN are taking steps in order to find solutions to this problem. Extensive research has been done in the recent years by economists and scientists etc to come up with the most sustainable ways to run hotels since the degradation of the environment is a major concern worldwide. Papers like “An analysis of environmental management, organizational context and performance of Spanish hotels” by M.J. Alvarez which addresses the factors that determine the deployment of environmental management practices and its effects on firms’ financial performance have been published. Results find support for the notion that age of facilities, size, chain affiliation, stakeholder environmental pressures, and their use of operations management techniques exert a lasting influence on the degree of implementation of environmental management practices by hotel firms. Moreover, findings show a positive relationship between environmental management practices and firms’ financial performance. Various other economists in different countries have drawn similar conclusions. The United Nations environment programme also published a guide “how the hotel and tourism industry can protect the ozone layer”. Environmental Good Practice in Hotels, published by UNEP IE and the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), presents 15 case studies selected from the IH&RA annual Environmental Award. The case studies document environmental programmes initiated by independent hotels and international chains across the globe - in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. Action areas include environmental policy, design and construction, water, energy, waste, emissions, purchasing, staff training, and guest communication. The range of environmental initiatives featured is extensive, from simple recycling measures to water conservation using the latest technology, and from resorts built to strict environmental guidelines, to small hotels where the personal commitment of the general manager drives environmental activities. All case studies highlight the environmental and economic benefits gained by the actions taken. Also included are examples of environmental initiatives taken by national hotel associations, and a list of sources on environmental management publications and programmes in the hotel industry. These are just some examples of what is being said and done by organizations that observe what is going on. The actual participants, the hotels, are also not far behind. Many hotels have come up with various innovative ways to contribute to the betterment of the environment. Some of them have won various awards for this very purpose. Hotels now days strive to achieve the ECOTEL® certification which is primarily the hallmark for environmentally sensitive hotels. One of the pioneers in such activities would be the orchid group of hotels. However, there are others that strive to achieve excellence in this cause and some have been quite successful too.

INTRODUCTION
Most countries rely heavily on the services sector for its growth. A major part of this sector is tourism. Tourism is one of the leading growth sectors of the economy and brings in billions of dollars for developing countries. When we talk about tourism we can hardly isolate it from talk of hotels. Hotels in a sense are synonymous with tourism and one cannot be talked about without reference to the other. The growth of the tourism industry has greatly increased the amount of stress on the environment. Now each individual has...
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