‘Significant implications for hotels’ energy and water consumption from growing tourism’


By Ifham Nizam

There would be significant implications for energy and water consumption in hotels, with the increasing number of tourist arrivals and guest nights, Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Executive Director Dr. Saman Kelegama said.

Speaking at a workshop titled `Environmental Management Practices in the Hotel Sector in Sri Lanka’, on Tuesday in Colombo, he said, therefore, it is important that the sector takes appropriate measures to manage water and energy sustainably.

‘This is important not only from the environment point of view, but also in terms of reducing costs of operations. In particular, cost of electricity is a significant issue faced by hotels in Sri Lanka, Kelegama said.

He stressed that proper environmental management practices can help hotels to reduce their operational costs and increase their competitiveness. This environmental orientation could be used as a market tool by hotels.

However, Kelegama expressed concern over the minimal or no research being carried out on these aspects in Sri Lanka. ‘Given the fact that tourism is increasingly becoming an important economic sector, assessment of environmental sustainability issues of this nature is very much important.

‘The IPS is proud to be able to shed some light on these research gaps through comprehensive research based analysis, he said.

Kelegama also said that the hotel sector has become a key sub sector of tourism, which has received the attention of the government in reaching ambitious targets, among which is the expectation to increase the number of hotel rooms to 50,000 by 2016.

IPS Researcher Kanchana Wickramasinghe who conducted the study with the financial and technical support of the Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE) said that the research is highly timely as the Sri Lankan government is in the process of expanding the industry and the accommodation sector with the increased enthusiasm of the private sector.

Wickramasinghe said according to the list of registered hotels obtained from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the number of hotels is 110. However, while undertaking the survey it was revealed that 16 hotels have to be removed from the sample as they were identified as not functioning during the survey period.

‘Therefore, out of the 94 hotels available in the survey, only 78 per cent hotels participated in the survey, recording a response rate of 83 per cent. This seems to be a satisfactory response rate compared to the rates of the previous studies, she said.

Some of the key findings were, hotels which maintain environment policies 37%, hotels with an environmental policy 40%, hotels with Environmental Management System (EMS) 28%, hotels which received environmental awards and certifications 19% and hotels which received capacity building awareness and training 38%.

Meanwhile, energy management good practices show; use of energy efficiency lighting methods 88%, use of solar power 69%, key switches 60%, efficient A/C 5% ,biomass boilers 6%, use of LED TV 4% and light timers 3%.

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