Professionals from the tourism sector, business and academia will discuss the sustainability challenges facing the main engine of the Canary Islands economy in the framework of the 86th General Assembly of Hotrec, the European hotel and catering industry association, which takes place from 26 to 28 April in Adeje, Tenerife.
The thematic panel discussion will take place on 28 April in the morning as part of the second day of work, which will take the hundred or so delegates to the facilities of the Technological Institute of Renewable Energy (ITER), a research body under the Tenerife Island Council located in Granadilla de Abona.
Ashotel, as the hosting association, has included a visit to these facilities in the programme of this industry gathering with the aim of making known a lesser known facet of the traditional tourist resources of the Islands, as well as the research and innovation work of this centre, carried out in the Islands with a fundamental role in the generation of knowledge and synergies to achieve a more sustainable tourism.
This second day of work, which will begin with a guided tour of the bioclimatic housing and the renewable energy walk, which ITER has in its facilities, will continue with a panel discussion with the participation of Noemí Padrón, Professor of Economics at the University of La Laguna and researcher of the European project Myriad-EU; Guillermo Galván, Director of Renewable Projects at ITER; Sandra Herrera, Director of Marketing and Sales at GF Hotels; and Jorge Marichal, President of Ashotel and CEHAT.
Led by Marta Machado, deputy director general of Hotrec, the participants will discuss whether the tourism sector is prepared to face the current challenges in terms of sustainability. It will be a meeting point for the exchange of real experiences that some local members and European representatives have implemented in terms of sustainability.
Both Hotrec and Ashotel collaborate with Myriad-EU, a project in which the University of La Laguna participates together with other European knowledge centres and different economic sectors, and in which, through five pilot initiatives under development in different European regions (Canary Islands, Danube, Veneto, North Sea and Scandinavia), which act as laboratories, the risks and management of natural disasters (volcanological, seismic, pandemic or related to climate change, among others) are analysed.
In the Canary Islands, given its strong volcanic activity and geographical location, together with the problems of governance and dependence on tourism for economic development, the analysis of multi-risk and multi-hazard scenarios are essential for resilience.
HOTREC ASSEMBLY IN ADEJE: MEASURING FOR IMPROVEMENT
With the awareness of moving towards a more sustainable tourism and aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ashotel executes its own Tourism Sustainability Strategy. One of the first steps taken was in 2019 with the creation of its Tourism Competitiveness and Sustainable Development Observatory, through which and thanks to data analysis it measures the performance of the sector, allowing it to make better decisions, under the clear premise that “what is not measured cannot be improved”.
In his speech, Marichal will explain his conviction that the hotel and tourism sector has a clear opportunity: to collectively carry out projects and investments of interest in order to maintain the sector’s competitive position. In addition, Ashotel has consolidated in these almost four years support services for innovation and digitisation of companies, which help them in their digital transformation and in the identification of innovation projects.
Ashotel recently signed up to the Glasgow Declaration and is currently working on the drafting of a climate action plan with the aim of making the destination carbon neutral by 2050. In addition, in terms of energy efficiency and decarbonisation, Ashotel is also working on collective renewable generation projects (photovoltaic) and provides advice to members in this area.
Linked to decarbonisation, we are also working on sustainable mobility with the implementation of on-demand transport technology and car/bus sharing for staff working in our hotels.
Likewise, the Tenerife hotel association has launched the ‘Circular Tourist Communities’ project to reduce food waste and recycle bio-waste, through the generation of top quality compost that returns to agro-ecological farms and then improves the consumption of zero-kilometre products.
Twelve hotels in Adeje are currently involved and the number of participating establishments will soon be increased; the aim is that in the future this project will be extended to the whole island of Tenerife, as waste management and the circular economy are key objectives for progress as a destination.
ABOUT THE 86TH HOTREC ASSEMBLY
Founded four decades ago, Hotrec promotes the key role of the hospitality and tourism sector in Europe. It acts as a forum for exchange and helps to promote a regulatory framework and business environment in which to deliver maximum value to European society and the economy. It is based in Brussels and is constituted as a non-profit association.
It currently comprises 46 national associations in 35 countries and is the voice of the hospitality industry in Europe. Hotrec represents 1.7 million companies, mainly SMEs, and generates 9.5 million jobs (4.4% of total employment in Europe).
Every six months, the European hotelier association holds its General Assembly in the country which is scheduled to hold the presidency of the European Union in the next six months. Spain will take over the presidency of the EU on 1 July 2023 and the Hotrec assembly will be part of the regular meetings held between the national hotelier associations and the country’s administration, to exchange ideas on how to generate tourism in the complex EU legislation issued by the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament.
Tenerife was the destination chosen last October in Stockholm as the venue for the next assembly of the European hotel and catering industry, with Ashotel as the host association, in addition to the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (CEHAT) and Hostelería de España as co-organisers.