Some states in the Middle East have a terrible reputation for their carbon footprint and reliance on oil. States such as Qatar, for example, is incredibly wasteful of fresh water and gives free electricity to all citizens resulting in a personal carbon index that’s higher than anywhere else in the world.
On the other hand there are states, including Dubai, which take their responsibilities seriously when it comes to making sure future generations can enjoy a habitable environment. Dubai is interested in becoming a luxury destination for people from all over the world and they recognise that sustainability is a watchword for many people who are looking for an exclusive place to stay and relax without having to worry about the negative global impact of their travels.
The Dubai Department Of Tourism And Commerce Marketing (DTCM)is rolling out a number of environmentally sustainable tourist initiatives including encouraging hotels to do what they can to limit the amount of water and electricity they consume so that they can compete with other accommodations across the world which don’t have the inconvenience of being located in a desert with little naturally available fresh water.
Tourism: A Major Source Of Revenue
Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, Director of the Business Development and Media Relations Division, pointed out that tourism had been playing a greater part in the diverse revenue streams that Dubai enjoyed along with the five others which make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Speaking on the issue of environment and vacationing Rahman said: “several other GCC states have also started giving more focus to tourism. There have been reasonable concerns about the environmental issues due to the development of the tourism industry in our region.”
The World Tourism Organisation describes sustainable tourism as: “tourism which leads to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be filled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological progress, biological diversity and life support systems.”
In 2009 the DTCM inaugurated the Dubai Green Tourism Award to encourage all hotels with more than two stars to reduce their carbon emissions by 20%. This year the award was extended to include all hotels and holiday apartments. The criteria for the award includes environmental, economic and social issues including saving energy, conservation of the environment and involvement in their communities.
Greener Initiatives In The UAE
Meanwhile, in the UAE there is a Green Economy Initiative which includes six paths outlining a wide range of legislation, policy and projects. These include
*Promoting renewable energy
*Investment in the Green economies
*Planning the Green city, including planning, transport and clean air
*Climate change and carbon reduction
*Rationalise the use of water and energy consumption, encourage organic agriculture and protect biodiversity
*Innovative technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and producing energy from waste
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