Island nations and popular travel destinations can be those most prone to water shortage, particularly where the tourism season overlaps with the driest months, and where water use per guest in hotels greatly exceeds that of the local population. Significant tourism growth is forecast to continue in future years (one billion more people will be in the global middle class by 2030 adding to the number of travellers), contributing significantly to the global economy (10.2% of global GDP in 2017, source: WTTC) but also building pressure on water use.
The hotel industry has an opportunity to show that it can grow sustainably, responsibly and intelligently. By planning smart and inclusive growth, safeguarding freshwater resources in the communities where they operate, and contributing to their long-term availability, hotel companies can use tourism growth to bring positive change for their guests, staff and local stakeholders.
Following recent water crises in Sao Paulo and Cape Town, and in consultation with its member companies, ITP commissioned this research to better understand water scarcity in key destinations around the world, so the sector could work proactively to address this issue. This Destination Water Risk Index (DRWI) has four key objectives:
- To help hotel companies (ITP members and others) prioritise action on water scarcity where water risk is the highest, and implement water stewardship strategies in their hotel developments and operations in destinations. This index will help developers, corporate responsibility (CR) teams and property managers evaluate risks and take action with a first-of-its-kind dataset.
- To encourage the hotel industry to come together and take collective action in destinations with the highest water risk, to address current and future local water scarcity in their properties and within the communities in which they operate.
- To call the attention of the wider tourism industry and its stakeholders (e.g. national and local governments) to water scarcity in these destinations and the need to take proactive and collective action to avoid many more Cape Town situations.
- To highlight existing solutions and best practices implemented by ITP member companies to prevent water risks by adopting a water stewardship approach to water management right from the hotel development phase, and throughout their operations and supply chain.