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Evironmental Consciousness
In
Hotel Administration
(1993)

by Eberhardt H. Rues

Click Here to View the Spanish Version

To learn more about Eberhardt H. Rues click on the following link. About the Author

ECO-TOURISM WITHOUT ECO-HOTEL MANAGEMENT IS LIKE THE SEA WITHOUT WATER

Nature and Culture Tourism (Eco-Tourism) and Environmental Consciousness in Hotel Administration (Eco-Hotel Management) are two activities that partake in the Green Movement in its sense of conservation and consciousness-raising about the environment and of the natural resources.  Natural and cultural resources are the primary tourist attractions of many countries or regions whose principle income is derived from tourism.

SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES IN THE DEVELOPMENTOF TOURISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Professionals and experts in ecology, the environment, tourism, and the hospitality service industry are conscious of the fact that as tourism grows and develops in the 90s and in the 21st century, there needs to be a substantial change if it is to survive.  This is especially true if one considers that international tourism grew more than 57% in the last decade (WOT, World Organization of Tourism, 1992).  It is foreseeable that the 450 million international tourists in 1991 could increase to more than 650 million by the year 2000.

The part of tourism that experienced the most growth is nature-related  tourism; this includes ECO-TOURISM (WOT, 1992).

Tourism has become the most important civil industry in the world grossing US$3.5 billion a year.  The travel industry and tourism employ 127 million people (one in every 15 employees in the world) (WOT).

WE MUST CHANGE OUR SYSTEM OF MANAGEMENT

If one were to ask a hotel or restaurant owner, What are your business objectives and/or activities  The answer is, to produce and to make a profit.  The answer to the same question on the part of an ecologist would be, to ensure survival.

In conclusion, the second answer is the correct one, no matter what your profession, be it: architect, hotel owner, doctor, or ecologist.  Survival comes before making a profit.  But a company that does not make a profit, such as a hotel, cannot survive.  Because of this, the principle objective of a business, as much for a hotel as for any other industry, is to assure its continuation and survival.

THE HOSPITALITY SERVICE INDUSTRY IS THE BACKBONE OF TOURISM

The international hospitality service industry plays a very important role in the expansion of tourist destinations.  It can contribute substantially to the visionary and planned growth within this new concept of specialized tourism, such as eco-tourism, by constantly strengthening the universal responsibility of environmental consciousness for the primary tourist resources:  NATURAL, CULTURAL, AND TRADITIONAL.

The international hospitality service industry, beginning with its global expansion in the 50s and continuing through today, has become the backbone of tourism, and occupies a leadership position.  This position of leadership, especially within the areas of CONSERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT  and participation during the PLANNING OF NEW TOURIST DESTINATIONS, constitutes the major challenge for the hospitality service industry in the 90s and into the 21st century.

FOLLOW EXCELLENT EXAMPLES

International hotel chains show great interest in launching the first campaigns and programs in favor of conservation.  Studies already exist of diverse systems using the principle of the 3 Rs:  REDUCING, RECYCLING, AND RE-USING.  Early measurements have shown good results.  For example, the Hotel Inter-Continental New Orleans saved US$79,000 by recycling in 1991 (New York Times, 8/8/92).

In the Research Results[1] from 1993 concerning the pro-environmental initiatives of the hotel industry and tourism in the United States, there are more than 15 hotel chains, among others:  Canadian Pacific Hotels & Resorts, Sheraton, Inter-Continental, Hilton, Westin, and Radisson, that provide excellent examples.

RAPID ACTION FOR THE SURVIVAL OF TOMORROW

Destruction, due to the overbuilding (over supply) of hotels in environmentally sensitive areas, excess waste (garbage), waste water, and other typical environmental hazards of tourism, requires enforcement of existing laws and the application of the principle of the 3 Rs as soon as possible.  Time is precious, that which is destroyed or lost can never be repaired.

Hotel owners should view the daily deterioration of the environment like a vacant room; the eco-system is destroyed, similarly, a guest room not sold one night represents a loss.

PLANNING THROUGH VISION AND PARTICIPATION

The secret to success in both the expansion of international hotel chains in the 50s and the first results from energy and waste reduction by the end of the 80s was due to the fundamental principles of development:  PLANNING THROUGH VISION AND PARTICIPATION.

The topics of Tourism and Environment are among the most discussed and worried about in the world.  Ecologists, international institutions (pro conservation), some governments, some international hotel chains, and some hotels since the early 80s, are developing new programs and initiatives toward the conservation and protection of the environment every year.

Unfortunately the old saying:  Actions speak louder than words, does not apply to these programs and initiatives.  These programs remain only words and the initiatives do not apply, except in a few cases.  The publication CARING FOR THE EARTH, precisely specifies:  ?Governments, organizations, and industries need to work together to guarantee that tourism is planned and regulated to control its impact on nature and maintain natural resources.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION IS A UNIVERSAL RESPONSIBILITY

Developing countries with the largest growths in tourism, especially in their natural resources, need to apply the existing recommendations of the international organizations and the societies of eco-tourism.  Environmental responsibility is a universal responsibility.

Governments and authorities of developing countries, with few exceptions, need first of all, to participate in a joint effort of eco-tourism destination development, with the effective and continuous implementations, control, and vigilance of the regulations. 

Professionals of integrated eco-tourism development in developing countries with the best solutions and intentions remain limited in their participation and control. Governments and authorities do not continuously enforce these regulations, and the existing problem affecting environment remains inconclusive.

A sad example of a government lacking in cooperation and participation with an international hotel chain is the capital of a West African country.  The hotel applies the eco-hotel management system.  They have already standardized all their hotels.  The hotel seems to be an oasis and gives a good example of eco-hotel management despite its waste deposits that one finds within 2 blocks of the hotel.

GUIDE TO ECO-HOTEL MANAGEMENT

Environmental consciousness in hotel management[2] follows four principle objectives: 

1.     Contribution toward the PRESERVATION and CONSERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT.

2.     CONSCIOUSNESS IN EDUCATION toward CONSERVATION.

3.     EFFICIENCY in the consumption of ENERGY, WATER, AND WASTE.

4.     ECO-MARKETING.

This guide describes in an analytical form the different systems of Eco-Hotel Management based on the principle of the three Rs REDUCING, RECYCLING, AND RE-USING.

With an emphasis on energy efficiency, reduction in the consumption of water, reduction in waste (garbage), and quality of the environment (internal and external).

This guide is structured for practical application in the daily operations of a hotel or a related business.  It is divided into four parts:

FIRST PART:  Basic systems in the administration of energy and water.

SECOND PART:  Reducing the mountains of waste (garbage):  the challenge of the 90s.

THIRD PART:  Measurements of the principle of the three Rs by department.

FOURTH PART:  Building and renovation

ECO-HOTEL MANAGEMENT AND ECO-MARKETING

The basic systems of hotel administration and marketing in the context of the environment are defined as follows:

ECO-HOTEL MANAGEMENT

A hotel administration oriented toward ecology must motivate and orient themselves toward raising their level of environmental consciousness in their actions and in their collaboration with all the communities of the world.  This is assuming that the entire hotel operation or related establishment, along with all the employees (at all levels:  owners, managers, supervisors, and workers), investors, architects, engineers, ecologists, and all others who are interested in preserving nature.

ECO-MARKETING

Eco-marketing, to introduce a new technical term, is marketing oriented toward the ecology, the discovery of natural resources, cultures, and traditions, without disturbing or destroying the environment.  Eco-marketing ensures competitiveness in business and survival in the turbulent times of the late 20th century.  Every year, people (clients and tourists) are becoming more ECO-CONSCIENTIOUS.  Because of this, people demand and expect (especially from industrialized countries) a quality environment both inside and outside the hotel or related establishment, as well as in natural areas, flora and fauna.

Over the past decades, I have had diverse assignments in Eco-Tourism Design & Development Projects as well as in environmental education programs for hotel schools across 4 continents[3].  During this time, my most satisfying experiences have been:  to continuously enrich my knowledge of environmental issues and to participate with international eco-conscious professionals.  For these reasons the principle objective of this textbook is to:  design guidelines for CONSCIOUSNESS-RAISING TOWARD CONSERVATION for the international hospitality service industry and related businesses.  I am convinced that together we?all owners, operators, managers, staff, and students of the hospitality service and tourism industry and professionals in environmentally related issues can and will contribute toward the PRESERVATION and CONSERVATION the environment.

THE SURVIVAL OF OUR ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM,

LIES IN THE CONSERVATION OF BOTH.

Eberhardt H. Rues

 

PURPOSE OF ECO-HOTEL MANAGEMENT

CARING FOR THE EARTH

Why should we change the system of management in difficult times and more so, for the environment which has nothing to do with thehospitality service and restaurant industries  This is the question put forth by owners and professionals of the hospitality service industry in some developing countries, with exceptions.

Eco-hotel management is directly related with what the document Caring for the earth, specifies: governments, organizations, and industries need to work together to guarantee that tourism is planned and regulated to control its impact on nature and maintain natural resources.  If tourism is correctly managed in protected areas it can become an effective instrument and an economic resource toward conservation. 

LONG-TERM STRATEGIES WITH VISIONARY PLANNING

Money earned rapidly and over the short term is less recommendable than that earned over the long term.  To make money, hotels and businesses should focus on long-term business strategies and visionary planning.  This strategy is not new.  What is new is that these long-term strategies have a high probability of achieving good results if the importance of the environment is taken into consideration. 

Within the last years in industrialized countries, the environment, apart from labor and capital, has become the most important factor of production.

It has also become a decisive factor in the seal of approval for the majority of tourist groups from Europe, North America, and Asia in the purchase and choice of vacation destinations. 

OPENING NEW MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

The hotel or business that orients itself and participates in favor of the environment is not limited, on the contrary, it opens new opportunities in the market and makes innovations; actions that positively motivate employees and clients.

Conservation of the environment does not mean limiting growth, rather it is a necessity and requirement for the world economic market.  For this reason, the hotel or business with Environmental and qualitative orientation can easily acquire a new market and have an important advantage on the competition that only thinks about money and quantity.

Top of Page

END Notes:

[1] Research Results:  Environmental initiatives of the Hospitality Service Industry and Tourism.

[2] The term hotel management in this textbook is not only limited to the administrative system of a hotel, but it should also be applied to all businesses related to the hospitality service industry.

[3] Design and development of the first eco-lodge project in Latin America, 1976.  RUES-ECO-LODGE Vacation Village in the Amazon region, Ecuador.

 

Eberhardt H. Rues - Founder and President
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