Travel trade encouraged to vote for new water award
The World Responsible Tourism Awards, now in their 10th year and presented annually “to inspire change in the tourism industry”, are introducing a new award category valid for one year only: Best for Water Conservation. The award is in support of the United Nation’s International Year of Water 2013. The World Responsible Tourism Awards are sponsored by the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism.
Although 783 million people still do not have access to clean water and 2.5 billion do not have adequate sanitation, tourism puts a lot of pressure on water resources, especially in destinations that receive high volumes of tourists and where water is scarce. In the Mediterranean, for example, holidaymakers can use up to 440 litres a day – double the consumption of any Spanish town dweller, according to UNESCO. Studies estimate that an international tourist consumes 222 litres of water daily.
During the tourist season, Majorca needs to import water transferred by tankers from the mainland to meet demand from its 2 million visitors. Santorini and other Greek islands also supplement their water resources by importing from nearby islands.
Hotels are where water consumption is at its highest, and a surge in hotels due to the constant and global increase of tourism is adding pressure in destinations. Water is needed for laundry, swimming pools, toilets, food preparation or upkeep of landscaped gardens. An 18-hole golf course can consume more than 2.3 million litres a day – as much as that consumed by 60,000 rural villages in Thailand.
However, the hotel industry is making progress in promoting water conservation. The award organisers are encouraging people to nominate a tourism organisation committed to water conservation at: www.worldresponsibletourismawards.com/nominations (click on the website link). Everyone who nominates is entered in a draw to win a walking holiday on the island of Gozo in the Mediterranean.
[pictured: Algarve, Portugal; photo by Marc Sievert, travelphotos24.com]