(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Sustainable tourism initiatives put in place by the Dubai government could save the industry up to Dh436 million every year when fully implemented. That is according to Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), who was speaking at the Climate Future Week that kicked off in Dubai today.
"This journey towards sustainability is deeply rooted in the region's history and culture, as the environment has always been a top priority for the United Arab Emirates and Dubai," he said. "We recognise the need for a shift in behaviour amongst residents and tourists to ensure the long-term sustainability of the city."
To cut emissions, DTCM has implemented several homegrown initiatives across the emirate. The UAE recently announced that it set a stricter target for reducing carbon emissions with major cuts within a decade, and the government is seeking to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030.
Sustainable Tourism Stamp
One such program has 19 sustainability requirements for hotels in the country, including guest education, green events and managing towels and linens. "Dubai is the first city in the world to establish mandatory sustainability requirements as part of the hotel's classification system," said Kazim. "These promote widespread adoption of sustainable practices within the hospitality industry to meet Dubai's carbon reduction targets."
Launched in July this year, the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Stamp recognises and rewards hotels that demonstrate outstanding commitment to these sustainability requirements. "The DST stamp encourages Dubai hotels to actively engage in environmental practices and initiatives to combat climate change," he said. "It is our ultimate recognition to hotel establishments across various classifications, creating a rewarding mechanism that highlights and celebrates hotel's commitment to sustainability."
Hotels vying for this recognition undergo rigorous assessments conducted by third-party qualified assessors and a jury committee, ensuring the credibility and integrity of the recognition process.
Dubai Carbon Calculator
The carbon calculator tracks carbon emissions from Dubai-based hotels. Integrated with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and other platforms, this calculator analyses hotels' carbon footprints.
"Hotels in Dubai submit consumption data, which is then processed by the carbon calculator," he said. "The tool generates a personalised dashboard for hotels, allowing them to understand emission trends and compare their performance with industry averages. With this information, we can implement good practices based on the carbon calculator's data, which can lead to significant cost savings for the hotel industry."
In addition, the Dubai College of Tourism offers a range of online courses for the tourism and hospitality workforce to teach them knowledge and skills related to sustainability in the tourism industry.
A city-wide sustainability movement launched by Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum, Dubai Can focuses on eliminating single-use plastic water bottles across various establishments, including hotels, businesses, and public spaces.
A case study presented by Kazim showed that a Dubai office with 700 employees managed to save over 181,000 bottles from going into landfills, reducing 16 tonnes of carbon emissions. Similarly, a Dubai resort with 800 rooms saved Dh36,700 monthly on bottled water.
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