Sustainability practices in Qatar’s hospitality sector are expected to increase in the next two years as the country gears up to build around 40,000 hotel rooms for the FIFA World Cup in 2022, an expert has said.
Qatar Green Building Council head of communications Hamoda Youssef said increased competition in the country’s hotel industry is driving players and stakeholders to continuously raise their standards of services.
This, he said, includes carrying out sustainability practices, securing ‘green’ certifications from third party agencies, and complying with Qatar Tourism Authority’s (QTA) new hotel classification manual, which was released early last year.
Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the Hotelier Summit Middle East on Wednesday, Youssef said Qatar has a handful of five-star hotels that could be considered as ‘green’ hotels, however, three- and four-star hotels should also follow the trend.
“The QTA has taken a bold step by embedding sustainability to its classification system, which is the right step given the country’s commitment to sustainability and the Qatar National Vision 2030, as well as sustainability commitments in mega events like the FIFA World Cup in 2022,” he stressed.
He said some of the major sustainability challenges facing Qatar’s hospitality sector are raising awareness on sustainable practices and waste management, specifically recycling facilities.
“The misconception about sustainability is that it is only all about water and energy savings. This is one area we are trying to help Qatar’s hospitality sector understand by creating awareness on sustainability as a holistic process,” he said.
According to Youssef, sustainability practices enhance and optimise operations, increase staff productivity, and promote the establishment as a ‘green’ hotel to both the local and international market.
“Investing on your staff would help increase their productivity by around 20%, and it could also minimise issues such as absenteeism."
Some hotels in the region have also increased energy efficiency by at least 30% and employee productivity by 10% to 15%,” he said.
On waste management, Youssef said: “Another main challenge is waste segregation and recycling because the country’s waste recycling infrastructure is still young and is mostly led by private companies.”
He said there are a number of private companies providing recycling facilities for paper, plastics, and metal but there are no facilities to recycle other waste like glass, among other materials.
“But these types of companies are still developing. The demand is higher so they are trying to keep up but this is also a good opportunity for the private sector to attract more local and international companies and expertise to step in and fill this gap,” he stressed.