Sustainability a key goal of UAE’s tourism sector, environment agency head tells global green tourism conference
Image Credit: Supplied. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (left) and Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi, known as the ‘Green Shaikh’, at The World Green Tourism Conference and Exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Abu Dhabi: As many as 60 per cent of hotels in Abu Dhabi have implemented measures to cut their carbon footprints, an official said yesterday.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, secretary general of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, said sustainability in the emirate’s hospitality sector was the key to making Abu Dhabi more sustainable and better able to combat climate change.
She said a majority of hotels contacted in a recent survey by the EAD reported that they had installed energy-saving systems, while about 60 per cent said they had implemented initiatives to control waste generation.
«It is vitally important that as Abu Dhabi seeks to div-ersify its economy and encourage the tourism sector to grow and contribute more to the economy, that we do so in an environmentally responsible manner,» Razan said during her speech.
«Creating jobs and building capacity in locals to manage our natural assets [is necessary] so that we can see growth not just in tourism but in sustainable eco-tourism,» she said.
Her comments were part of her introductory speech at the World Green Tourism Conference and Exhibition, which opened yesterday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).
Held under the patronage of Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), organisers said the three-day conference is designed to inspire the Middle East travel industry to place a bigger emphasis on sustainability.
Razan said many hotels in Abu Dhabi have been adopting Green Hotel guidelines, as well as environment friendly health and safety management systems driving annual targets for water, energy and waste.
Many have partnered with the EAD to install water-saving devices in every hotel room, she said and added that as a country with a fantastic natural heritage and a mix of geology, habitats and species on land and sea, the UAE was perfectly suited for green tourism.
«There is a world of opportunity for a new kind of tourism in Abu Dhabi that not only raises awareness of the unique biodiversity of the emirate, but can also play a role in celebrating and safeguarding the cultural heritage of its people,» Razan said.
Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi — known as the «Green Shaikh» — in his keynote speech highlighted his personal experience of a sustainable lifestyle.
He said if people, especially youngsters, do not adopt sustainable practices in daily life, a peaceful world cannot be achieved.
Emissions fall in dubai
The tourism industry in Dubai has reduced carbon emissions by 17 per cent in the past two years by adopting sustainable strategies, a senior official said yesterday.
«Dubai set a target to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by the end of 2011 and the latest figures suggest that we have achieved a reduction of 17 per cent,» said Shaikha Ebrahim Al Mutawa, Director of Business Development at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
She said that carbon emissions from the tourism industry were monitored by various Dubai government authorities, including the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, which is able to gauge the amount of water and energy used by hotels.
Source / Fuente: gulfnews.com
Author / Autor: Binsal Abdul Kader
Date / Fecha: 06/12/11
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