Indian Hospitality Sector Step Up Sustainability Efforts – BW Businessworld

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Sustainability has become a priority for both the public and private sectors, and the hotel industry is no exception
Photo Credit : (Clockwise) Fazlani Natures Nest, Reni Pani Jungle Lodge and Moksha Himalaya Spa

As the world grapples with environmental concerns, hospitality players have now become more aware of the need to implement ‘sustainable’ practices.
Sustainability has become a priority for both the public and private sectors, and the hotel industry is no exception. The hospitality sector adds to environmental stress and exerts pressure on natural resources. The industry, on the other hand, is dependent on the same natural environment, which is an integral part of the ecosystem that creates a tourist destination. As a result, there is an inherent risk that harms the very foundation upon which hospitality is built.
Asif Fazlani, Managing Director, Fazlani Natures Nest said, “We place paramount emphasis on sustainability and responsible tourism. Fazlani Natures Nest has created a rainwater harvesting pit with a capacity of more than 10 lakh liters as part of its efforts to conserve water. Not only this treated water from its sewage treatment plant is used for irrigation of its organic farm.

The resort also follows a drip irrigation system to conserve water. Drip irrigation or trickle irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation system that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface.”
“As a responsible hospitality entity, we make every effort to ensure that our resorts are sustainable and eco-friendly. From no single-use plastic to utilizing solar power for heating water, our sustainability efforts are reflected in various facets of our operations. We segregate waste generated in our hotels and use it to create fertilizer. Then we have a sewage treatment plant (STP) that helps us to meet our water requirement for horticulture. Being a property located on the hills, maintaining ground water level is of paramount importance for us. So, we depend on rainwater harvesting for the same,” said Akash Garg, CMD, Timber Trail, and Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort.
The industry is progressively turning ‘green’. Hotels in India have been advocating the term ‘going local’ or ‘responsible tourism.  As more and more travellers seek out unique and local experiences, it is critical that lodging is at the center of these efforts.
A known hospitality player, CGH Earth‘s business model, which has been developed over many years, has not only helped generate tourism revenue but has also created the concept of shared value’ between the local community and business. The group strives to hire people from the surrounding community and find ways for them to contribute to the company’s initiative to preserve culture, heritage, and the environment.
CGH Earth’s Marari Beach Resort segregates degradable and non-degradable waste, recycling food waste in the biogas plant to generate gas for the kitchens while recycling every bit of dry waste the property generates.
Further to this, Marari Beach has outed around 45,000 units of packaged drinking water in plastic bottles from its waste stream, replacing them with RO-treated water, packaged in reusable glass bottles, to reduce waste generation.
“We work alongside local farmers to grow produce that is not just good for us, but also good for the land. We also work with local schools and governing bodies, encouraging the students of the community to eat healthy from a young age,” Michael Dominic, Managing Director, CGH Earth commented.
CGH Earth‘s Spice Village, Wayanad Wild, Visalam, Mantra Koodam along with all other properties curate extraordinary experiences that arise from its intimate bonding with nature and community.
The quality of the surrounding environment is critical to the travel and tourism industry. As a result, investing in reducing environmental impact benefits both the brand and the community. An environmentally friendly program can help provide property credibility and have a positive impact on the brand. It also reduces overhead and helps the bottom line.
“Supporting local communities through tourism is the way forward for the industry. The local outlook is one of the pillars of sustainable tourism goals. We at Fazlani Nature Nest give utmost importance to villagers who live in the vicinity of the property. We employ the local population depending on their knowledge and many of them are also employed in our farms and fruit orchards that are part of the overall ecosystem of the resort,” added Fazlani.
Using the local community for labour and resources can help other local businesses generate revenue. It also helps to reduce the carbon footprint and fosters positive business relationships. Investing in the local community has stimulated growth and will help draw visitors to the region.
“In line with our philosophy, Reni Pani works closely with the forest department to create experiences that are non-motorized including walking, canoeing, and camping. At Bori Sanctuary, ours is the first lodge, and we have helped set up a tourism model including inducting local guides and training them. Both our lodges employ locals to provide alternate income opportunities to forest dwellings communities”, explained Aly Rashid who Heads the Jehan Numa Wilderness division of the Group.
Participating in and contributing to community events and projects can strengthen community relationships. This also contributes to the growth of the hotel brand and creates brand recognition, which can be beneficial when marketing to the local population.
“Transportation as we know adds significantly to carbon emissions. So, our F&B mainly offers seasonal menus where we use the local harvest. We have our own 250-acre farm which helps us to cultivate sufficient vegetables.  For us, sustainability is also about how we engage local communities in maintaining the ecosystem of a destination. The workforce in our hotels is 80 percent from Himachal Pradesh. We also promote local dances and cultural activities as part of the overall guest experience,” said Garg.
In today’s time, no hotel can genuinely thrive in isolation from its surrounding community. One of the biggest gamechanger for the industry is how intensely brands incorporate sustainability and responsible tourism in their operations as well as a marketing strategy.
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