"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going."
- Paul Theroux

AIRDA NewsDesk

Message of the Month

August 2017

I am so pleased these days when I hear of activities centered around responsible tourism and eco-friendly practices. What was for years seen as just “bringing in the numbers” is now bringing with it the responsibility of restoring the natural ecological balance of tourist locations. So while you welcome tourists with open arms, you also need to embrace eco-friendly measures down the value chain.

After all these years, having seen the world go round in this industry, it’s reassuring to find resorts seeking linkages with native environments - working towards nurturing and conserving local eco-systems. 

While the hospitality industry needs to be the prime mover here, we also need to raise awareness among vacation seekers. They need to be on the same page in a participatory kind of way. (I don’t own run or run the resort, but I can be responsible for my actions during my stay.)

In this message I would like to stress on what a resort location can offer you - as a guest, tourist, visitor or employee. An ecosystem where your stay, your food and your activity results in minimal degradation within your surroundings.

And if this can be your conscience keeper you’re on the right track - because it helps to give back more than what you’re taking away.

I’m no expert when it comes to managing eco-systems from the hospitality industry point of view. There are many others who are inspired, experienced and qualified to make a long-lasting impact in these scenarios. But I have ventured out to list a brief set of concern areas that might point in the right direction. Pardon me for being simplistic in this measure of enquiry.

Manage Sourcing
Useful to bring in produce from local communities and neighborhood supply chains – you can start small and grow these relationships over the years. It’s always sensible to invest and re-invest in local communities.

Manage Consumption
Here, I’m referring to consumption in terms of indents by individual departments, as well as consumption by end consumers. Useful to track visible and invisible losses, because this can impact your bottom line and your ability to allocate resources to other areas.

Manage Waste
Managing waste has a lot to do with managing consumption – if you manage one, you end up managing the other as well. But this concern could be extended to the waste a resort generates every single day and the eco-friendly ways of managing it.

Manage Efficiency
Managing efficiency sounds like an elementary highlight, but it’s something that needs to be tweaked from time to time. To reach optimum levels in being a eco-friendly resort, your teams need to be efficient across a 360 degree sweep. Efficiency drives commitment levels and compliance.

Manage Depletion
What I mean here is a close watch on support inputs that encourage eco-friendly practices – from the point of view of men, material, resource inputs and management commitment. A program can run aground if you don’t have a system in place to manage depletion or constant supply.

Manage Plastic
Plastic seems to be an out-of-turn entry in this listing, but is such an impacting factor in environment degradation that it needs to be flagged, highlighted and underlined as a huge offender. Everything comes in a plastic container these days.

If you list out 100 products in various weights and measures, chances are all 100 are dispensed or packaged in some form of plastic – right down to the small sachet of shampoo in the bathroom of your suite. Bottled water is another cascading concern area. According to me, if you manage plastic, you’ve got a huge, monstrous bug bear out of the way.

As my tailpiece to this story we also need to look for convergence, where eco-friendly concepts lead to eco-friendly imprints - with visitors and tourists playing a crucial support role.

It takes two hands to join forces and make an impact.

B. S. Rathor

Advisor & Member - Executive Committee

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