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Balinese hotels encouraged to adopt eco-friendly concept (3/05/2012)

 by Wasti Atmodjo on 2012-05-03
Going green is still an unclear concept for many hoteliers on the island of Bali with only a few hotels, villas and lodgings, of the thousands on the island, adopting the habits in their daily operations.

I Gusti Oka Ayu Suryawardani, a student on Udayana University’s post-graduate tourism program, revealed in her study that not many hotels here were aware of applying eco-friendly hotel management, as required by the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Suryawardani said many hotels claimed that they were adopting green concepts.

“Hotel managements decorate their surroundings with plants and flowers and then claim they have gone green,” she said.

The green concept is still unclear and confusing to many parties. “It is much more than planting trees and flowers, or hanging up signs stating that they are implementing environmental standards. The concept embodies the whole operation of the hotel.”

By applying a green hotel concept, a hotel must spare 30 percent to 40 percent of its location as an open space, or green zone. Proper waste management systems, energy efficiency and eco-friendly management are also among the requirements.

In an effort to go “green”, hotels must first have a basic understanding of what “green” entails, she said.

According to data from theUNWTO, the number of travelers taking both short and long distance trips could reach 1.6 billion people in 2020 spending more than US$2 trillion annually.

Based on this estimate, tourism would become one of the major contributors and producers of carbon-based emissions. The UNWTO study confirmed that 3.2 percent of global energy has been spent on various tourist-related activities, such as air travel and hotel operations.

“Lack of information and awareness on environmental issues, lack of motivation and little incentive from the government to assist hotels in going green are among the challenges,” Suryawardani said.

In Bali, the tourist industry, including hotels and transportation, must immediately start applying green concepts and sustainable tourism schemes.

“We live on a small island with limited natural resources,” he said.

Bali is currently facing huge environmental problems including shortages of clean water, electricity supplies, garbage and various other ecological issues.

Perry Markus, secretary general for the Bali branch of the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants, admitted that only star-rated hotels currently apply green hotel concepts.

There are 165 star-rated hotels, 1,026 non-star hotels and 1,016 lodgings in Bali.

“Every year, the association sends data about hotels in Bali that adopt green concepts to the national, as well as to the regional, level certification body for evaluation,” Markus said.

Previously, the German-based Eco-Hotel & Resort Management System certification body TUV Rheinland, has encouraged hotels in Bali to get eco-certification from international agency.

The certification recognizes and rewards a hotel’s commitment to continual improvement by implementing an environmental management system.

A number of criteria were set to ensure the greener, safer and more efficient operations of hotels, villas and other types of tourist accomodations.

Markus, on the other hand, said that Bali hotels were often awarded green hotel awards from national as well as regional bodies such as ASEAN Green Hotel Awards.

“We have to admit that the eco-friendly concept has not yet been perceived as crucial issues by many hoteliers. But, we are now moving toward that direction,” Markus explained.

Bali has also an annual Tri Hita Karana awards which are presented to hotels adopting green concepts.