Solaiman Al Rifai, senior project manager, Tourism Development and Investments is currently leading the Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative, and he told Hotelier Middle East: “Tourism development is very important. We need to look at what exists in Dubai, what sort of offerings we have and how we can improve on it and create new destinations for tourists.”
DST is an initiative by DTCM to lead the hospitality sector in Dubai to encourage the implementation of best environmental and sustainable practices. “DTCM’s strategy is to have something for everyone and that’s why we are now focusing on sustainable tourism. Dubai’s sustainable tourism initiative focuses on improving the efficiency within the hotels and increasing their awareness about sustainability,” he added.
One of the ways which they educate hoteliers is by conducting workshops on best environmental sustainable practices and have trained more than 500 government officials, in the region, from different sectors on low carbon development.
“Sustainable tourism is a part of Dubai’s 2020 plan and UAE vision 2021. We’re looking at having an integrated platform to make sure that the tourism industry in the future is sustainable in their approach. We’ve developed a sustainability strategy which has three areas of focus: environment, social and economic and look at how hotels can be more efficient to protect the environment and manage their resources and activities through CSR,” he said.
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) hosted the Hospitality Sustainability Board Game in November 2016, the inaugural activity of the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Initiative. Designed by Dubai Tourism in collaboration with Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF, Roya International and Insignia, the game was created as an educational tool for Dubai’s hospitality industry to contribute towards the city’s goal of sustainability.
“As we look forward to capacity expansion and increased visitor volumes in the lead-up to 2020 and beyond, it is paramount for us to implement measures for this industry to reduce consumption and conserve resources. Raising awareness of conservation practices is a key pillar of the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Initiative, making this game a very significant step towards creating a clear understanding of how powerful hospitality employees are in bringing about change,” Al Rifai said.