Sustainability moves may ease hotels’ cost challenges: industry leaders

In the face of soaring energy cost, hotels in Singapore may find this the best time to consider alternative “renewable” sources, opined speakers at the recent Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre’s (SHATEC) webinar Embracing Sustainability in Tourism: Sustainable Tourism as Table Stakes – Viability and Profitability.

While independent and small hotel players may lack the resources of big chains, speakers believe that they can start their sustainability journey by taking small steps like prioritising what they can control for maximum impact. At the same time, an assessment of existing assets should be conducted to allow them to optimise what they have before committing to huge investments.

Hotels looking to start their sustainability journey can take small steps and conduct regular progress reviews, advised industry leaders

Speakers also shared their achievements in the sustainability journey.

According to Roger Simons, director, sustainability, Marina Bay Sands, there are now 10 members on his team and carbon footprint at the massive integrated resort had been cut by 30 per cent since 2012.

Jessie Lim, director of conference services and sustainability, Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel the Stamford, said an in-house app helped to identify goals and motivate colleagues.

She added that it was important to “clearly communicate and engage colleagues on the challenges”, make change “as easy as possible”, and also to “make (the process) fun”.

Earlier this year, the Singapore Hotel Association and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) jointly launched the Hotel Sustainability Roadmap.

Keynote speaker Jeannie Lim, assistant CE (policy and planning group), STB, reiterated Singapore’s goal was for 60 per cent of the 69,000-room inventory to attain internationally recognised Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) hotel sustainability certification by 2025.

The aim for Singapore hotels, she added, was to start tracking emissions by 2023, to cut emissions by 2030, and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Success in sustainability programmes requires “time and effort” rather than a “hard cost”, opined hospitality marketing and training consultant Christine Toguchi, managing director, MacroVision Network. She added that hotels will also need to analyse its progress and review next steps.

For now, STB is “identifying the gaps” and “setting clear targets” for sustainability, and will be announcing details of the GSTC certification by next year.

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