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Hotel guests’ behaviour proving ‘a big challenge’ to green efforts

Holidaymakers’ behaviour is proving “a big challenge” to industry efforts to reduce environmental impacts in overseas accommodation.

That is according to Carolyn Wincer, commercial director of Travelife – the Abta-owned sustainability certification programme for hotels.

Speaking on an Abta Decarbonising Tourism webinar last week, Wincer highlighted “the good news” that “it doesn’t require big things to provide quick wins” in cutting hotels’ energy and water use and waste.

But Wincer said: “The not-so-good news is guest behaviour varies widely and can have a major impact. It is a big challenge for hotels to improve because of the vast range of expectations of international guests. It’s possible guests undo the work.”

She reported that in hotels with power in rooms activated by key cards: “Lots of guests override the controls and leave electricity on the whole time. They change the air conditioning to really cold or warm, then open the balcony doors and haemorrhage energy.

“They expect welcome fruit baskets and disposable slippers. Also there is the volume of waste guests leave in rooms, particularly in beach destinations.”

Wincer argued: “This can only change through education. Travel companies and governments can help. We would like the industry to target travellers before they leave the UK.”

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