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Editorial: A need to combat climate change through green hotels

Editorial: A need to combat climate change through green hotels
Artist’s impression of the planned Wyndhm Silkroad Ark Hotel.
June 19
15:34 2018

The international community is now, we hope beginning to take notice of the effect of climate change in the Asia Pacific region. Particularly, for tourism.

The 30th Joint Commission for East Asia and the Pacific-Commission for South Asia Meeting and Regional Seminar on Tourism, Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation revealed the need to combat climate change.

One of the major topics, that will be beneficial to the tourism industry is the Green Bond issuance for green hotels.

Tourists are now continually looking for hotels which are nature friendly and classed as green hotels.

The International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank Group, through EDGE (Excellence in Design for Green Efficiencies) is willing to finance hotels re-build their properties  and make it more climate friendly.

Green hotels, in a nutshell, are built to reduce the usage of energy.

The seminar heard that reducing the cost of energy in hotels could help with climate control.

A study done by IFC showed that 62 per cent of tourists interviewed recently stated they were looking to stay in green hotels wherever they went to.

Corporate event planners, such as those that organised the UNWTO meeting, revealed that sustainable hotel procedures helped them decide on a hotel venue.

IFC was offering a software, on their site www.edgebuildings.com where it provides free advice on how to build green hotels, including costing, and even provides back-up personnel to check the buildings.

Fiji Hotels and Tourism Association president Dixon Seeto said they had not heard of the IFC green bond offer and had already had initial talks with IFC representative Autif Sayyed on this new development. With the association now giving the thumbs up to green bonds, Fiji could be on its way of converting most hotels and resorts to green hotels.

With that, Fiji would then be in a position to attract a major share of that 62 per cent of tourists looking for green hotels.

The Radisson Hotel was already a part of the clientele of EDGE.

An example of the great effect of conversion to green hotels was the City Express Hotel in Santa Fe in Mexico where they reduced their energy costs by 50 per cent.

IFC revealed if this was to be implemented in Fiji it would see a Three-Star Hotel spending an extra $13,000 to upgrade to become a green hotel and this would save the hotel around $25,000 per annum.

However, this EDGE assistance was placing more emphasis on medium or SMEs accommodation.

UNWTO Secretary General has seen the importance of Fiji’s strategic placing in the Pacific and was looking at the country being the centre for tourism projects.

The UNWTO meeting overall showed the big brother role Fiji now plays with its Pacific neighbours and the centre for the international community when talking climate change.

Our Prime Minister Vorege Bainimarama has set the tone through his presidency of COP23 and stakeholders now need to do their part.

The one way forward is the move to green hotels.

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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