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Sunday, 16 June 2013

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'Sustainable growth vital for tourism sector'

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has identified significant potential for Sri Lankan hotels to use energy, water and other resources more efficiently and manage waste better, to curb carbon emissions and reduce operating costs.

The study, 'Ensuring Sustainability in Sri Lanka's Growing Hotel Industry', identified barriers faced by the industry in implementing resource efficiency measures and provided suggestions on different initiatives that could be applied.

It indicated, for example, how Sri Lanka's existing three to five star hotels could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 12,000 tons per annum if measures recommended in the report are implemented.

"Sri Lanka's hotel industry consumes a large amount of electricity and there is significant potential for energy efficiency improvements in this sector," said Additional General Manager of the Ceylon Electricity Board, Bandula Tilakasena. "If hotels shift certain energy intensive activities to off-peak hours, costs can be reduced substantially."

With over 68 star class hotels under construction to cater to Sri Lanka's rapidly increasing tourist arrivals, the report predicts that the tourism industry's energy requirements will increase three-fold by 2016. This growth will result in a steep increase in the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. "Sri Lanka's tourism sector needs to grow in a sustainable manner through measures that help protect the environment, and also increase profitability," said IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, Adam Sack. "It will take collaborative efforts from the government, the industry, and development institutions to make a difference."

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