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Best Environmental Practices for the Hotel Industry

Tourism is one of the major activities of the Moroccan economy. It has considerably increased during the last decade representing in 2010 about 8% of the Gross Domestic Product (second biggest contributor), providing thousands jobs (second biggest creator of jobs), and the top foreign exchange earner. It is important that this increase is accompanied by a strategic vision aiming to implement along the whole tourist value chain a sustainable approach, enhancing the development of the tourism industry and insuring its viability.

With its partners from the private sector, the Moroccan Department of Tourism has thus designed, mechanisms targeting the tourist operators in general, and hotels in particular. Indeed, hotels are at the heart of the tourism industry and have an essential role to play in promoting sustainability. In this respect, one of the very first mechanisms developed by the Moroccan Department of Tourism jointly with the National Hotel Federation and Sustainable Business Associates (sba, Switzerland) concerns the promotion and the implementation of Best Environmental Practices (BEP) by the hotel industry. Thus, targeted trainings, technical support and practical tools are developed and made available as part of this project.

Local capacity building and networking


A first Train-the-Trainers session was organised in October 2008 in order to build the capacity of targeted experts in the area of environment management in hotels. Subsequently, environmental experts, professionals of the hotel industry, and representatives of the tourism delegations who participated in the launch of the project constituted the National Experts for Sustainable Tourism (NEST) network. NEST members became national ambassadors to promote BEP through awareness raising campaigns in the most prominent tourist destination of the country (Agadir, Ouarzazate, El Jadida, Fez, Marrakech, Meknes, Rabat, Tangiers, Tetouan). Additionally, NEST members moderated several technical seminars targeting hotel managers and their technical staff and providing them the practical tools to implement BEP in their own hotels.

Enhancing best environmental practices


The pilot phase of the project enables the implementing of the BEP Guide with the support of the NEST members. Hotels of different categories were selected in several regions of the country: Agadir, El-Jadida, Fez, Meknes, Ouarzazate, Rabat, Tangiers and Tetouan. After 2 years of implementing the BEP, more than 30 hotels have undertaken concrete actions. Beside its profitability, BEP has also a very significant impact on resources. For instance, a 4-star hotel in Fez saved 700 m3/month of water and 30'000 kWh/month.

The most significant corrective measures were emphasised in the form of fact sheets. These case studies will be used to disseminate examples of good practices on environmental management in hotels at the national level.

Results dissemination


The professional Forum-Fair, ‘Ecorismo Maroc 2010', co-organised and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, sba and François-Tourisme-Consultants, took place on 20-21 April 2010 in Rabat. The purpose of the Forum-Fair was to provide concrete and practical questions to needs on issues related to sustainable development. During this event, a session was devoted to the success of the BEP project in order to bring forwards the impact of the eco-efficiency practices on economical performances of the hotels.

Perspectives


The BEP Guide is meant to be reused regularly (i.e. annually) by hotel responsible to conduct their yearly diagnosis and to select additional corrective measures. Hotels can thus set their own benchmarking, comparing their performances to the standard hotel benchmarks or even to their performance during the previous years. This continuous improvement approach will facilitate their future actions towards certification and/or labelling.

On a broader level, the BEP project is in line with the new Moroccan tourism strategy: Vision 2020. This strategy sets sustainability as a fundament of tourism sector for the new decade and seeks to create a unique destination while preserving cultural heritage and natural environment. In fact, Morocco has the political will of positioning the tourism as a national priority due to its achieved performances at the international level and the major place of the sector in the Moroccan economy over the past ten years (first contributor in the balance of payments, second contributor to national GDP and second source of job creation). In this respect, an approach towards a sustainable tourism was introduced by the Ministry of the Tourism in order to strengthen the environmental management practices of the accommodation sector and to extend sustainability to travel distribution, tourism transport and travel guides. For those purposes, a national accompaniment scheme was developed towards sustainability for the benefit of Moroccan tourism stakeholders.


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