Sustainable Tourism

Travelers are increasingly favoring environment-friendly accommodations, prompting more hotels to adopt sustainable practices, according to experts at the 2023 Philippine Hospitality in Sustainable Tourism (Philhost) forum.

Liz Ortiguera, former Pacific Asia Travel Association chief, reported that sustainable tourism has become a key consideration for over 90% of Filipino travelers. This emerging trend has made sustainability a competitive advantage in the hospitality industry.

Ortiguera quoted the recent Economist Impact report and stressed the responsibility of hospitality leaders in incorporating sustainability in their businesses. “Hospitality industry leaders are the portal to the destination, and it’s their duty to properly introduce sustainable practices to both business and leisure travelers,” she said.

Backing Ortiguera’s statement, the 2022 Green Lodging Trends Report by consulting firm Greenview disclosed that 78% of Philippine hotels surveyed are implementing initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. Further measures include green roofs in 30% of hotels, waste audits in 63%, and energy reduction initiatives in a whopping 92%.

Susan de Cardenas of the Society for Sustainable Tourism emphasized the importance of credible sustainability certifications to avoid greenwashing, a practice where misleading claims are made about an organization’s environmental practices.

De Cardenas underscored that sustainable tourism isn’t just about the here and now, but also ensuring the future viability of travel destinations. “The Philippine Islands, with their 7,600 islands and various natural assets, need proper environmental inventory and coastal management,” she added.

She further highlighted the economic benefits of sustainable practices, referring to Global Sustainable Tourism Council-certified properties that have reported millions in savings. “Sustainability, in fact, is all about saving,” de Cardenas concluded.