05.03.2019
The President of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has said that improving sustainability is firmly on the agenda for the tourism industry.  A survey undertaken by the IHF, which is holding its Annual Conference in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney shows that many hotels are already focussing on introducing targeted sustainability measures, particularly in the areas of the energy and water conservation as well as waste and plastic use reduction. 
 
Michael Lennon announced that the IHF is developing initiatives to support hotels and guesthouses achieve further improvements in environmental sustainability. He states: “Ireland is experiencing challenges in meeting its climate change targets with the prospect of paying substantial fines. As a sector, we recognise that we can be part of the solution and many hotels are already making substantial efforts to further improve their sustainability. There is a limit, however, to what individual businesses can achieve by themselves in this area given the substantial investment and expertise required. We are committed to addressing this through a number of sector specific initiatives with our industry partners and we will be looking for Government to play an active role in supporting our objectives.” 
 
According to the IHF survey, most hotels (78%) are planning to invest in energy conservation.  The steps being undertaken range from central operations such as boilers to motion sensor lighting systems, energy efficient kitchen appliances and automated energy management systems, all of which help to reduce energy consumption. 
 
Furthermore, over half (55%) intend to undertake water conservation measures. While efforts such as towel reuse programmes are now almost a global industry standard, other initiatives include the installation of onsite water tanks that enable hotels to control their own flow and pressure. These initiatives were particularly important during last summer’s water restrictions as they allowed hotels to manage water usage and replenish tanks during off-peak times, assisting in local authorities’ water conservation measures without affecting guest experience.  
 
In other areas, six out of ten hotels are increasing their efforts to reduce the use of plastic within their properties. The majority (69%) are also improving their processes to reduce waste and increase recycling. 
 
Mr Lennon said that implementing sustainable initiatives would have wider benefits for the growth of Ireland’s tourism industry, especially in the regions. “Technology designed to improve sustainability has the added potential to help hoteliers to automate and simplify operational tasks. This can enable properties to improve efficiencies and free up staff for more one-to-one personal engagement with guests, which is critical to the delivery of best-in-class customer experience.”
 
He said this was also vital in the context of the opportunity presented by Europe’s aging population. “One in four European will be aged over 60 by 2020, increasing to nearly one in three by 2030. New products and enhanced service levels including the introduction of new guest-facing roles will be essential for Ireland to seize the opportunity presented by the exponential growth in senior tourism.” 
 
About the IHF
Founded in 1937, the Irish Hotels Federation is the national organisation of the hotel and guesthouse sector in Ireland. It represents almost 1,000 hotels and guesthouses nationwide, employing over 60,000 people and is a key stakeholder in the Irish tourism industry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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