Dubai’s Hotels Mandated To Meet Sustainable Tourism Requirements

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Dubai Tourism has issued a new directive mandating hotel establishments to meet the set deadline on July 1, 2021, and comply with the sustainability requirements set by the Dubai Sustainable Tourism.

The move is part of Dubai’s continuing efforts to advance sustainability standards in the hospitality and tourism industry and enhance the emirate’s image as a leading sustainable tourism destination. The set deadline is an extension of the original compliance date in 2020, which was pushed to this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A total of 19 standards have been set by the DST which include sustainable management approaches, performance metrics, energy, food and water management plans, guest education, employee training initiatives, the presence of sustainability committees within hotel establishments and corporate social responsibility programmes for local communities, among others. 

Environmental advocates welcomed the latest development which reflects the emirate’s serious efforts to push environmental sustainability and reduce the negative impact of key industries to the environment. If implemented, the Dubai tourism sector can significantly contribute to the emirate’s targets to achieve the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 and reduce carbon emissions by 16 per cent this year.

Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Founder and Impact Leader of Goumbook, remarked: “Dubai’s commitment to make the hospitality industry become more sustainable is great news for the environment and we are keen to see more hotels implementing leading sustainability initiatives. This announcement goes with our upcoming projects with hotel establishments to promote in house bottling plants and water refilling stations to serve filtered tap water instead of single-use plastic water bottles.”

Goumbook has been working with various hotels to encourage them to shift to a more sustainable choice when it comes to using water and providing them to guests, which would massively cut on the use of single-use plastic bottles. 

Through its Refill UAE campaign, Goumbook aims to revolutionize the practice of drinking water consumption in the UAE, especially in sectors where there is heavy dependence on bottled water. Providing healthy and sustainable water refilling stations empower consumers and make it easy for them to move away from buying bottled water.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for hotels to effectively manage water consumption as well as cut on plastic waste and carbon emissions that come from plastic bottle production. We believe hotels must take the lead to this change and we are confident that guests will support and appreciate hotels in this move,” Abella added. ‘’We had the opportunity to work with Jumeirah Group and Jebel Ali Hotels & Resorts in the past few years and they were able to implement innovative solutions to filter and bottle tap water and remove plastic bottles from their operations, with great benefits to the environment and to their customers’’

Dubai Tourism has required hotels to resume their monthly submission of carbon emission drivers using the Carbon Calculator. The sustainability tool was conceived in 2017 as part of the Tourism Dirham Platform, providing hotels with a system to measure their carbon footprint and submit monthly their consumption of 11 carbon emissions sources such as electricity, water, district cooling, waste, fuel for transport, fuel for generators, and LPG among others. 

Yousuf Lootah, Vice Chairman of Dubai Sustainable Tourism, said: “We strongly encourage hotels to comply with the 19 Sustainability Requirements set by Dubai Tourism and provide Carbon Calculator submissions by 1 July. We know that with the ongoing support of the relevant government bodies these hotel establishments can play a huge part in achieving the overall carbon emission reduction target over the next year and beyond.”

In 2019, DST has trained a total of 528 hotels on the sustainability standards to help unify Dubai hotels’ environmental practices and thereby further promote the emirate’s tourism economy.

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