Ajman: To mark World Tourism Day, industry officials tackled sustainable tourism in a panel discussion with a call to ‘measure, manage and mitigate’ carbon footprint in order to address the clear and present danger of climate change.
During the event, organised by Ajman Tourism, Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel, and TravTalk Middle East — a panel discussion focussed on the theme “Shaping the Sustainability Future in Businesses” during which young sustainability advocate Sarim Hamdani gave the keynote address and stressed the importance of sustainability, with a warning: “if we don’t act now, the next generation will suffer severely.”
Among the panellists were Khadija Mohammed Turki – Tourism Marketing & Promotion Expert at the Ajman Department of Tourism Development; Roxana Jaffer, CEO of Sovereign Hotels Ltd; Sanith de Silva Wijeyaratne, Director Climate and Conservation Consortium; Shubhojit Mahalonobis, Director and Managing Partner, Danube Home and Hospitality Solutions; John Horgan, Director of Eco Burner; John Whaley, CEO of Integrity Business Solutions, and Amish Choksey, Partner and General Manager of Green Gold Eco Tech Fzco.
For Iftikhar Hamdani, Area General Manager of the Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel and Coral Beach Resort Sharjah, who moderated the panel discussion, it is crucial to include all enterprises in bringing about a change.
Over the past several years, Hamdani has promoted sustainability. Making that straightforward shift in his life in order to plan for the future wasn’t just a project — it was something he was passionate about, he said.
The Ajman Department of Tourism Development’s Khadija Mohammed Turki, an expert in tourist marketing and promotion, discussed several sustainable tourism practices.
In order to advance the sustainability objectives, Khadija highlighted sustainable tourism practices carried out by the department as a government organisation and the collaboration with the public and private sectors.
In particular in the hospitality industry, Roxana Jaffer, CEO of Sovereign Hotels, emphasised the necessity of focusing on people, planet, and profit.
One highlight of the event is Aerowater, a water-from-air harvesting technology.
Shubhojit Mahalonobis, Director and Managing Partner of Danube Home and Hospitality Solutions, shared their global campaign on Aerowater — which allows you to condense water from humidity, as well as how they are looking at supplying water to the African region because it is important to bring that water to the doorsteps of the people because water is scarce in that region.
Another example is the oil rigs, which require water but are currently supplied with it by helicopter; as a result, they are developing new strategies to do it in a sustainable manner.
Between 15 sites, they lowered their hotel chain’s carbon footprint by 150 tonnes, and they want to significantly reduce it over the course of the following year. All of this, according to him, is feasible with the help of both the public and private sectors, and only then can they go forward.
In order to ensure sustainable practices, particularly with numerous hospitality projects around the UAE, Amish Choksey, Partner and General Manager of Green Gold Eco Tech Fzco, gave information about the various programs he has been working on.
Director of the Climate and Conservation Consortium Sanith de Silva Wijeyaratne stressed the importance of addressing the numerous problems caused by climate change and used concrete examples to engage the audience.
He emphasized again how important it is to think about the future and be aware of your own carbon footprint. Thus, he discussed the many methods for measuring carbon footprints and how to control and then mitigate them for the benefit of society.
Important to act today
The director of Eco Burner, John Horgan, reaffirmed that despite numerous difficulties over the years, they are all being addressed since they are now more crucial than ever. The primary point is that people need to adapt because it’s important now —today — not in another five years.
Notably, the “forgetting curve” was discussed by John Whaley, CEO of Integrity Business Solutions, and Amish Choksey, Partner and General Manager of Green Gold Eco Tech Fzco, who are both involved in training people in sustainability. When you’re young, everyone teaches you excellent habits, but as you age, you start to lose the things you previously thought were crucial.
The panel’s collective message echoed the core principles of “Measure, Manage, and Mitigate” as essential steps in fostering a sustainable and responsible future for businesses and society as a whole.