Like in the case of garments exports where the consumers in Europe are concerned about adherence to proper labour standards, in the travel trade too the tourists, specially the European clientele, are now increasingly concerned on the hotels programme that adhere to norms on environment, proper water and energy management and waste management.
To facilitate the adherence of these internationally accepted environmental norms for Sri Lankan hotels, the ‘Greening Sri Lanka Hotels’ project was launched around one year ago and is carried out through the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
Srilal Miththapala, Project Director/Consultant, Greening Sri Lanka Hotels said that the project involves advising and raise awareness of the Sri Lankan hotels the importance of conserving energy, managing water and waste which helps to increase the tourist intake as some tourists are particularly interested in hotels that adhere to environmental norms.
He said that for the Greening of Sri Lankan Hotels project, the European Union has provided funds of US$2 million and they would be providing all the know-how and expert advice as to how to reduce the energy consumption in water management and waste management and is expected to bring in a 20% energy consumption reduction in the 4-year project period.
Mr Miththapala told Business Times that they would soon launch a competition among the environmentally -friendly hotels that save energy, water and manage waste to recognize and appreciate their contribution to the nature.
He said that the project is gaining ground as hoteliers too welcome such a project so that on the one hand they save energy as well as the energy bill and waste and water management too, benefit the hotels.
Under this project focus is mostly on the SME hotel sector. Mr Miththapala said that hotels with 50 or less rooms or hotels with Rs 5 million or less turnover fall into SME category. He said that a large number of hotels go for refurbishing beginning May aiming to position them for the 2011 peak intake of tourists and this would be the opportune time for them to involve these hotels.
He said Sri Lanka still attract tourists for its sun and sand – the beaches which constitutes around 50 to 60% of the market coming from European countries and therefore their concern for the nature should also have to be taken into consideration.