Potential water shortages and water stress will present a significant threat to the future growth and development of the tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region states a white paper on Tourism and Water released today in Singapore.
The international white paper was prepared by a leading research consortium supported by the EarthCheck Research Institute based in Australia, together with Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies.
Dr. Susanne Becken, professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University, together with Dr. Raj Rajan, vice president of Global Sustainability for Ecolab, presented the findings of the white paper at a special World Water Day and International Year of Water Cooperation Distinguished Lecture coordinated by the Banyan Tree Global Foundation.
The white paper provides a global context on water stress, availability and stewardship, and discusses the implications for the tourism industry along the three dimensions of cost, availability and quality.
“The cost of water is likely to increase, and legislation that will initiate some form of water footprint is conceivable, if not inevitable,” says Professor Becken. “Businesses that are prepared to audit and manage their water consumption will have a competitive business advantage for the expected changes in water regulation and control.”
Increasing water scarcity, Professor Becken explained, not only increases regional risk to climate change, but also often leads to conflict. According to UNDCWS (2012), there were more than 120,000 water-related disputes since 1990 in China alone.
The white paper explains that with the ongoing growth in tourism visitation, the Asia-Pacific tourism region must increase understanding of the role it needs to play in water management issues. PATA predicts more than a half billion international visitors to the region in in 2014.
“Forward-looking hospitality businesses are working to address water consumption and minimize impacts to local communities,” said Dr. Raj Rajan, vice president of Research, Development and Engineering for Ecolab, and a prominent contributor to the white paper. “The white paper encourages hospitality businesses in the Asia Pacific region to take a holistic systems approach to identifying and implementing water efficiency and conservation measures.”
The paper outlines how water efficiency can be achieved and undertakes a benchmarking review of hotels in the Asia Pacific using EarthCheck data. The benchmarks highlight important geographic, behavioural and operational differences across the region, which require further investigation.The EarthCheck Research Institute will follow this white paper with two further research reports that will address water use benchmarks and baselines for hotels together with models to guide operational best practice.
Source = EarthCheck