United Nations World Water Day
As the world celebrates World Water Day, a prominent research consortium warns that the tourism industry faces a global water crisis that could lead to conflict. Can steps be taken to avoid disaster?
More than 50 tourism industry professionals attended a conference on water conservation that was held at Eaton Hong Kong.
At the conference, Dr Susanne Becken, a Professor of Sustainability from Australia’s Griffith University, said that the tourism industry was at risk.
“Tourism in the Asia Pacific region is growing at 4% per annum,” Susanne said.
“At the same time, more than 75% of the countries are experiencing water stress at least at some critical period throughout the year. The quality of the available water supply is diminishing, while the demands on volume and the costs to use are increasing.”
All of this could lead to conflict.
“Layer into this the inequity of water use by large hotels, where the consumption of water by guests can outpace that of the local population by up to 8 times, and the potential for conflict becomes a significant new business risk,” Susanne said.
But as some hotels prove, ‘sustainable luxury’ is, in fact, possible. The Banyan Tree Lijiang in China’s Yunnan Province, for example, is EarthCheck gold certified.
EarthCheck ia managed and owned by EC3 Global. It is an internationally recognized environmental management and certification programme with members in more than 80 countries. It is aimed at improving the operational performance of member organizations while reducing costs.