Oyster Bay Lodge, a four-star luxury lodge situated on a natural coastal reserve in the Kouga region, is one of the latest holiday destinations to become officially approved by Fair Trade Tourism.
“Oyster Bay Lodge’s approval opens up significant economic benefits to the local economy,” says Claire Kloka, Oyster Bay Lodge Operational Manager.
“More and more travellers are looking for fair and responsible options when they plan their holiday.
Fair Trade Tourism offers a possibility of extending ethical purchasing decisions beyond everyday products such as coffee, tea and fruit to include holidays that guarantee a better life for local people and beyond.
“Partnering with a recognised label such as Fair Trade Tourism, enables us to promote responsible travel to the international trade and to encourage support to sustainable and certified products.”
Oyster Bay Lodge boasts between 10 and 20 employees – depending on the time of the year. The majority of employees are from the local and surrounding communities.
They furthermore run various community projects such as township tours and the upliftment of the local schools.
“If we do not invest in the area, there will not be a bright future for the area,” says Kloka.
The eco-friendly lodge only uses borehole water and invested in solar geysers. They hope to generate the bulk, if not all, of their own electricity in the near future and run a paperless operation.
A new World Bank initiative has been launched to help Tanzanian youth improve the quality of their skills and tap into the country’s key economic sectors.
The US$120 million programme announced on 16 June will see at least 30,000 trainees in university, technical, vocational and alternative programmes benefit from an initiative designed to help eradicate deficiencies in workforce skills in Tanzania. The initiative is being funded under the World Bank’s International Development Association.
Dubbed Education and Skills for Productive Jobs, the project aims to improve the quality, quantity and relevance of skills vital for sustainable development and employment.
This will strengthen the institutional mechanisms of Tanzania’s new National Skills Development Strategy – NSDS 2016-2021 – which aims to boost the supply of quality labour for industries.
According to the World Bank, it is critical that Tanzania promotes short-term approaches to capacity building such as short-cycle training and firm-based training in addition to vocational, technical and university training.
Young people will be trained in key economic areas such as tourism and hospitality; agriculture, agribusiness and agro-processing; transport and logistics; construction; information and communications technology; and energy.
According to a World Bank statement, Tanzanian firms have identified a skills gap that is higher than the average in Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world. The country also has low levels of skills compared to other developing countries, and the gap is greater at medium and higher skills levels.
An information document linked to the project states that about 32% of the population has either no primary education or incomplete primary education. Around 46% of people have completed primary education.
In addition, a large proportion of unsuccessful firms have complained of skills constraints, with 63% reporting that a lack of workers with the right skills contributed to their failure.
“The improvement of human capital by helping to address the skills gap is critical for the attainment of the country’s goal to become an industrialised economy, create income opportunities and reduce poverty,” said Bella Bird, World Bank country director for Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Somalia.
“But also with the population of job-seeking youths growing ever so rapidly, these actions are important for long-term development.”
The five-year initiative will be implemented in accordance with the Tanzanian government’s National Skills Development Strategy guidelines under the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training.
The project will support the progress of integrated reporting and management of information systems, to enable the ministry to collect, consolidate and use real time data on service delivery for planning and monitoring.
Similarly, the project will support training institutions being funded to develop systems to track post-training employment of graduates.
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A lack of money should be no barrier to young Northlanders wanting to study at a new tourism and hospitality college in Paihia, its chief executive says.
QRC Tai Tokerau Resort College was opened last week with an initial intake of 19 students, all but one of whom are young Maori from Northland. Up to 50 more students will be accepted this year. Eventually the roll could grow to 350.
The college, based on Selwyn Rd in central Paihia, is a satellite campus of Queenstown Resort College but with some crucial differences.
QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips said students who qualified for a study grant, as determined by a means test, would pay about $3500 a year in fees. By contrast Queenstown students paid $13,000.
The course was residential with accommodation and three meals a day included. An accommodation allowance covered most of those costs. Students who could not afford the $80 per week shortfall could apply to the Northland Youth Education Trust.
Although set up by the college, the trust’s decisions were independent.
The course was structured so that students studied for six months, completed a paid internship for nine months, then did another six months study. Even at minimum wage students should be able to earn $15,000 on internship to pay off their student loans. “So there should be no financial barrier to attending the college,” Mr Phillips said.
Students had to wear a uniform from day one and meet high standards of grooming, attendance and punctuality. That meant they could hit the ground running once they started work, he said.
The course also had a strong focus on pastoral care with a “super coach” responsible for organising after-school activities such as sport, music and kapa haka. The impetus for the college came from New Zealand Maori Tourism chief executive Pania Tyson-Nathan who saw it as a way of getting young Maori employed in the tourism industry.
The pace of green building in the hospitality sector is on the rise, and it doesn’t require making any sacrifice in the luxury of your stay away from home, according to a new report from the U.S. Green Building Council.
It’s no secret that with operations running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, hotels consume natural resources at a high rate. Representing more than 5 billion square feet of space in the United States alone, there is an enormous opportunity for the industry — and guests — to positively affect the built environment, according to the USGBC.
For years, USGBC has diligently made progress toward greening the hospitality sector. Among these efforts was the establishment of the LEED User Group for Hospitality and Venues, which engages in multifaceted dialogue and peer-to-peer collaboration to identify best practices, lessons learned and ongoing challenges for sustainability in the sector. The LEED in Motion: Hospitality report brings the dialogue to a wider network and highlights the opportunity for triple-bottom-line wins when hotels think sustainably.
Across the world, demand for green hotels is rising. Today, LEED-certified hotels of all sizes are found in more than 40 U.S. states, 31 countries and five continents. It’s a movement sparked in part by guest preferences. According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, nearly two-thirds of travelers reported plans to make more environmentally friendly choices over the next year. And while on vacation, 88 percent of travelers turned off lights when not in their hotel room, 78 percent participated in the hotel’s linen and towel reuse program and 58 percent used recycling in the hotel.
In response to this shift, companies such as Starwood’s Elements brand, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotel Group and Hyatt Hotels include LEED mandates and policies in their design and construction specs. ITC Hotels in India requires not just LEED certification, but also top performance.
Hotels are slowly getting more eco-friendly, but travel journalist Dan F Stapleton says there’s still much more to do before the industry moves beyond towels-on-the-floor tokenism
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City bolstered his environmental credentials in December when he announced that he had convinced 16 major hotels, including the Grand Hyatt and the Waldorf Astoria, to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 per cent over the next 10 years. The plan, which forms part of New York’s broader carbon-reduction strategy, is the clearest signal yet that this low-lying coastal city is taking climate change seriously, and that its key players understand the importance of limiting global warming.
“De Blasio’s announcement signals a shift in the way that both the hospitality industry and those who travel view sustainability”
The symbolism of such a move cannot be overstated. Until recently, the only hotels that emphasised green living were so-called ‘eco lodges’ in remote – and usually tropical – climes. The idea of such places was to enable guests to commune with nature without damaging it, but there were few concrete promises from hoteliers about exactly how these resorts would operate sustainably, and the light planes and Jeeps required to reach the resorts often cancelled out any carbon savings.
De Blasio’s announcement signals a shift in the way that both the hospitality industry and those who travel view sustainability. Increasingly, travellers expect accommodation to be responsibly managed – whether it’s in a bustling urban location or on a faraway island. Hoteliers, meanwhile, have begun to recognise that going green doesn’t only please customers – it makes financial sense, simply through reduced utility bills.
Across the globe, hotels are moving towards a new, sustainable model. In the US, the new hospitality group 1 Hotels is pioneering the concept of eco-focused properties in dense urban areas. To date, three hotels have opened (two in New York and one in Miami) with meaningful policies like no paper or plastic in guestrooms, plant-based soap in laundry rooms, and organic linens on beds. Repurposed timber features prominently at each property, and guests can borrow bicycles and electric cars.
More broadly, the hospitality industry is responding to consumer demand for green policies by offering not to wash towels and bed linen every day – even at five-star properties, where such a move was once considered ‘cheap’. In America, most hotel companies now aim to achieve LEED certification from the US Green Building Council for new properties.
The stories coming out of the United States and elsewhere sound promising – but it’s too early to say that a hospitality revolution is underway. Announcing a planned 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions may be great PR, but it’s hardly a game-changer at opulent properties like the Waldorf Astoria. Gestures like re-using bed-sheets may make guests feel good, but they’re insignificant when measured against the energy used to heat and cool old, poorly designed hotels. It seems that many hotel groups are tinkering around the edges – acknowledging the importance of sustainability but limiting their action until compelled to do otherwise.
“Let’s be optimistic about the future of green hotel accommodation, without taking these moves towards sustainability for granted.”
There are exceptions to the rule, like the Belgian brand Martin’s Hotels, which now operates nine carbon-neutral properties. Even the old-fashioned eco-lodge concept is getting a shake up thanks to companies like Pacific Beachcomber, which recently opened an incredibly luxurious (and carbon neutral) tropical resort, The Brando, in French Polynesia. The suite of innovative programs at the resort includes industrial-strength air conditioning powered by cold water pumped from the ocean floor – the type of too-good-to-be-true concept that can only become reality if businesses commit themselves.
Let’s be optimistic about the future of green hotel accommodation, without taking these moves towards sustainability for granted. After all, in any market, meaningful change only occurs when consumers demand it.
Technology hubs start-ups across Africa aim boosting the continent’s economy and to present a new perspective for international tourists. The increase of business tourism due to the tech hubs is expected to have an increasing effect on the local traveling industry. The data was released by WTM Global Trends Report 2015, in association with Euromonitor…
Technology hubs start-ups across Africa aim boosting the continent’s economy and to present a new perspective for international tourists
The increase of business tourism due to the tech hubs is expected to have an increasing effect on the local traveling industry.
The data was released by WTM Global Trends Report 2015, in association with Euromonitor International, at the World Travel Market London, on Monday. Also, according to the World Bank data, total investments in African tech hubs have doubled last year, up to US$27 million.
Business investors from US aim to support Africa’s entrepreneurs and tourism market leaders. Hope City in Ghana and the Konza Technology City in Kenya have plans for hospitality development, infrastructure, transportation and education for increasing their traveling potential.
According to Euromonitor International, business air traveling is expected to have a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5% for South Africa and 6% for Kenya over the next 4 years.
“The introduction of technology hubs in Africa can have a massive knock-on effect for the whole continent. Not only do they provide a huge increase of jobs and boost economy but it benefits the whole travel industry with increased flights and hotel bookings”, World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press declared.
According to the Earth Day Network, 2015 will be the 45th anniversary of Earth Day and could be the most exciting year in environmental history.
This could be the year in which economic growth and sustainability join hands; the year in which world leaders finally pass a binding climate change treaty; the year in which citizens and organisations divest from fossil fuels and put their money into renewable energy solutions.
In celebrating Earth Day, a local green cleaning product manufacturer is encouraging the hospitality industry to adopt sustainable practices to safeguard the environment, its guests and its employees. “The extent of the damage that chemical products have on the environment, on the health of those that use it and on the people that are exposed to it cannot be overstated,” says Clinton Smith of Green Worx Cleaning Solutions.
Although a recent study indicated that consumers avoid utilising green cleaning products due to the perception that they are more costly than traditional products, the reality is that enzyme based products are more concentrated, are more efficient, and are therefore more cost effective. The enzymes digest host material where the germ and odour causing bacteria live and reproduce.
When ensuring that their facilities are sufficiently sanitised, accommodation providers should focus on utilising safe, non-toxic products that are effective and reliable. Where facility management services are utilised, industry leaders should exert pressure on these organisations to implement green practices. “If each industry takes responsibility for the effects that its actions have on the environment, true change can be effected,” concludes Smith.
By Chris van Zyl
The Vineyard Hotel is a privately owned hotel situated in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. The Hotel’s vision is to work in harmony with the environment and the community and in partnership with our stakeholders. Value is placed on sustainable growth, profitability and long term success through partnership with employees, guests and the community. The main aim of the Hotel’s waste policy is to reduce the volume of waste that goes to landfill to a minimum, with the end goal being zero waste to landfill. The period of this submission is March 2013 to February 2014.
The Hotel has managed to reduce its waste to landfill, in April 2003, from 336 wheelie bins and 58 loose bags to an average of 51 bins to landfill in the last financial year (March 2013-February 2014). This equates to in excess of 96% reduction in waste to landfill in nine years, while the Hotel’s average occupancy has constantly been growing; having added an additional 41 rooms over this period. Waste reduction is an integral part of the Vineyard Hotel’s sustainability policy. At the Vineyard Hotel, all staff receive training in the waste policy at induction and in the synergy sustainability training session. The training explains exactly how the waste should be separated at the source and then transported to the waste facility. They are also informed about the bigger picture and the impact of waste on the environment.
Waste Minimisation Facility
In April 2003, the Hotel’s waste removal company removed 336 x 240 litre waste bins and 58 loose bags, and in June 2003, they removed 255 x 240 litre bins and 30 loose bags. The waste contractor was visiting the site seven days per week and removing almost 12 bins per day. In September 2003, the Hotel contracted a waste minimization company; Save All. Prior to this, they were doing a minimum amount of recycling. When Save All started, the Hotel implemented a rigorous recycling programme which has reduced the waste to landfill significantly. By January 2004, waste pickups were reduced from seven per week to four per week and the volumes had dropped significantly to 132 x 240 litre bins. The cost of removing the 336 bins was very close to the new rate with four pickups per week.
In June 2009, Save All was absorbed by Waste Plan. Waste Plan provides a more inclusive service, which includes a live website to view waste and recyclable figures, management of the site and regular visits, on-site weighing of the waste, disposal of hazardous waste and recycling of e-waste. By March 2014, 51 bins were sent to landfill and 92% of the Hotel’s waste was recycled. Waste to landfill was also reduced to collection only three times per week.
Waste minimisation is communicated to the guests by:
- Battery and cork collection boxes in the foyer
- Living Green Facebook page and the green TV channel in the rooms
- Information in the guest folder in the rooms
- Signage outside the waste room
Waste monitoring (2013-2014)
- Target: Waste recycled 2013, average of 94%
- Current: Waste recycled average of 92%
The Vineyard Hotel compared its waste figures from July 2011 to June 2012 to the submission dates between March 2013 andMarch 2014. The waste recycled percentage improved from 89% to 92%. The total weight of the recycled waste is 409321 kg with just 8% of the total waste weight, 36523 kg, going to landfill. Over this 12 month period, the volume of recycling at the Vineyard prevented the emission of 634.06 metric tons of CO2 per‘wet weight’tons of material recycled.
This figure is calculated based on the difference in energy, and, therefore, carbon dioxide emissions between manufacturing material from raw materials and recycling that material. The Hotel achieved these results due to on-going staff training, signage, the presence of a waste minimization company on-site and other initiatives.
Waste minimization recycling initiatives for kitchen, restaurants & banqueting
In order to maximise recycling efficiency, a trio-bin system is operated in the Hotel’s staff canteen, banqueting and restaurant areas separating the wet waste from the dry. One bin is for wet organic waste, one for dry paper-type waste, and one is for plastic, glass bottles and tins. In the kitchen, the waste bins are separated into dry waste, green organic trimmings and protein- contaminated waste.
At the back-of-house, a tri-bin system is in place, separating waste into wet or food waste; plastics, tins, glass and paper, polystyrene and Tetra Pak and a twin-bin system is provided in the Conference Centre to encourage guests to participate in waste separation at the source. In June 2012, the Hotel started to outsource its canteen lunches and suppers. This has reflected positively on the generation of waste in the kitchen.
A green procurement document has been designed to ensure that, wherever possible, articles purchased have a recyclable content and chemicals are checked to confirm that they are safe for the environment. This department also collects used paper and sorts it to send to other departments for in-house printing.
All SAB bottles that can be returned are collected from the various outlets and collected by Peninsula Beverages and refunds are obtained. Glass jam jars, from the restaurants, are returned to the suppliers and refunds are obtained. The Hotel uses glass mineral water bottles that are 23% recycled content, except at the pool where plastic is preferred for safety reasons. All bottles are sent for recycling. A Vivreau water filtrate system was installed to reduce the volume of bottled water required in the lounge and restaurant. This system filters tap water and generates either still or carbonated water, which is then bottled in high quality, reusable glass bottles, thus reducing the carbon footprint and waste generated from bottles that would normally be sent for recycling.
Used cooking oil is returned to the supplier, Fry More Oils, and the Hotel is compensated for the used oil. This oil is then passed on to a company called Cape Used Cooking Oil, which uses the old oil in the manufacture of biodiesel. From March 2013 till February 2014, the Hotel has purchased 11,900 litres and recycled 5950 litres for biodiesel.
Following new agricultural laws, requiring untreated protein to be barred from becoming animal feed, all contaminated protein waste now goes for composting via the Bokashi process. This process is odour free, and the waste is turned into compost over an 8 to 12 week period, the Hotel then purchases this back for reuse in the garden.
Material Safety Data Sheets have been obtained for all the chemicals used in the Hotel and, where possible, chemicals that are harmful to staff and the environment have been replaced with environmentally compliant ones. New chemicals are first checked by a chemical engineer before they are introduced. A microbial solution called Effective Microbes (EM) is dosed into the fat traps and drains. It digests and breaks down the fats in the pipes, thus keeping the pipes clean of blockages, free from odour, and it prevents fats from entering the municipal sewerage line. This is also used to spray on the waste to reduce odours and for cleaning of the bins.
Plastic picnic hamper containers have been replaced with biodegradable cutlery and containers, made from bagasse (a fibrous pulp left over after the juice has been extracted from sugar cane or sorghum stalks), with explanatory signage indicating that the utensils be returned to the Hotel to be sent for composting.
Packaging returned in the kitchen
• Tydstroom chicken supplier takes back their boxes.
• Milk suppliers, as well as all fruit and vegetable suppliers, take back their crates.
• All ice cream containers are reused in the kitchen.
• All egg boxes are sent for recycling.
Wine bottle corks have been removed from the waste stream and are now being collected in collaboration with Amorim Cork. An initiative was launched where, for every 10,000 corks collected, Amorim would supply 10m2 of free cork flooring. To date, 1,136,000 corks have been collected and 30m2 of cork flooring has been laid at the Anthea Peters Home and 125 m2 at Wood Side Centre.
To raise awareness regarding recycling, the Hotel collects bread tags that are sent for recycling to raise funds for the Wheelchair Foundation. The tags are all collected from staff as the Hotel bakes its own bread on-site. This has also lead the Hotel to investigate the recycling of security tags, as they are made from the same material, to confirm if these could be added to the bread tags; adding 2 kg to the volume per month. 50 kg of bread tags have already been collected.
All departments are challenged to collect bread tags to help people in need of wheelchairs. Glass jars are given to each department for collection. Each competition runs for 30 days. The tags are then weighed and the winner is announced during a staff meeting. This is done to improve awareness of recycling amongst the hotel staff and to help people in need to obtain wheelchairs.
Puro fair-trade bags
The Puro Fair-trade coffee foil containers, that were previously going to landfill, are being collected, upcycled, and sent back to the Puro coffee company. They have engaged the local community to make shopping bags out of these to generate an income.
Pilot program: oyster mushrooms
The Vineyard Hotel has launched a new pilot programme from January 2014 where gourmet mushrooms are grown on the Hotel’s coffee grounds. 15kg of perfect Pink Oysters were harvested and delivered back to the Hotel in January 2014. Urban farming specialists, Artisan Mushrooms, approached the Hotel with their ‘no waste’ idea for growing mushrooms. They are now considering project extensions to allow for a greater selection and seasonal varieties. After patrons have enjoyed their coffee at the hotel, the grounds are collected and delivered to an off-site production unit. Depending on the types involved, mushrooms are grown, harvested and delivered back to the Hotel’s restaurant within six weeks. The Hotel’s restaurant, The Square, Conference Centre and canteen generate 150 kg’s worth of coffee grounds in an average month. A high premium is placed on eco-friendly and long-term sustainability practices across all operational areas of the Hotel. The coffee grounds are now a resource that can be further reused before being finally composted.
Waste reduction linked to rooms
Towels are only laundered for long-staying guests when they throw them in the bath or leave them on the floor. Linen is also only changed for long staying guests when they leave the “please change my linen” card on the pillow. This has reduced the water and chemical consumption of the Hotel.
Energy saving bulbs have been installed in rooms, public areas and the Conference Centre where possible. The average dichroic down lighter or incandescent bulb lasts for 3 months, where the energy saving CFL bulb lasts for 5,000 hours thus saving on energy, waste to landfill and labour to change the bulbs. In excess of 5000 LED bulbs have now also been installed to replace the incandescent bulbs. These have an even longer 25,000 hour plus life span, even further saving on waste and energy.
Dual Flush toilet cisterns reduce the volume of water effluent going to waste and washable fabric hand towels are provided in public area restrooms; eliminating the need to use paper towels.
Used soap is donated to the Independent Fund-Raising Professional called the Noah Project, an environmental and socially sound initiative, which started in Khayelitsha in 2010. This is a job-creation project where used soap is cleaned and broken up into new soap using glycerine to bind it. The members divert soap from landfill sites and recycle the ingredients of high quality soap creating a beautiful and eco-friendly bar of soap. The Hotel has also bought back soap from the project to use as gifting for guests. This innovative initiative for older persons in Khayelitsha has allowed the Noah participants to earn an extra R230 per month.
Twin bins were installed in the Hotel’s offices, thus ensuring that the wet waste stays separate from the dry waste. The LaserFische system was installed in the Hotel’s Front Office; reducing paper usage by 21% and reducing waste generation. Used paper is used for internal printing and memos, thus getting maximum use out of this resource before it goes for recycling. E-waste, in the form of old printers, monitors, keyboards, etc, are removed by Waste Plan. The company dismantles the equipment and what they can’t re-use is disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. Used printer cartridges are returned and the Hotel gets a refund on them.
Old linen and towels are donated to staff and charities. Bleach was replaced by oxygenated bleach, which is less harmful to people and the environment. The Hotel has also upgraded the laundry machinery and new washing machines use the water from the last rinse for the next first wash cycles. This saves water and reduces the volume going to waste.
A small percentage of the garden waste that the Hotel generates on-site is turned into compost on site. The heavy-duty green waste is collected by a reputable waste contractor, U-Save Waste, and delivered to the closest municipal transfer site, where it is turned into mulch and compost. The Hotel, in turn, buys back the organic compost from Reliance, who manage the transfer sites, thus closing the loop.
Only organically certified compost and fertilizers are used so there is no leaching of chemicals into the groundwater or the Liesbeek River, which runs through the Vineyard Hotel’s property. Zero to Landfill Organics removes the soft garden waste; 100 refuse bags per week. This is mixed with food waste, on their site, to generate compost.
Recycling facilities on the Hotel’s grounds are available to the local community to receive their recyclables, as there is no drop-off site close by. The facility also accepts batteries and CFL bulbs, which need to be sent for safe disposal as hazardous waste. Currently, 23 community members regularly deposit their recycling at the Hotel.
It is the intention of the Vineyard Hotel to constantly improve on its green procurement and waste policy to a point where everything is biodegradable, or has a recycled content, and where a very small volume of waste goes to landfill.
Source: The Vision Zero Waste Handbook Volume 4
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Millennials the New Power Segment
Exploration, interaction, and emotional experience is the hallmark of Millennials, the fastest growing customer segment in the hospitality industry, expected to represent 50% of all travelers by 2025. With the rise of millennial consumers businesses will need to be more transparent and tech savvy, with a strong focus on empathy and customer connection. Technology is essential for this demographic and they will expect technology to power check-in, payment, eating, and shopping. They will also actively engage in social media like Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor to complain. Millennials will expect a deeper link between tourism services and how they manage their everyday lives. “Foodies” are a distinct subset of this market looking for a gourmet experience at a reasonable prices. Culture buffs, LGBT and multi-generational travelers are looking for unique and novel experiences. Over half of Millennials stayed at independent hotels last year, 20% more than baby boomers. However, don’t count out the aging baby boomers that are living longer, are rethinking how to define retirement, and placing their energy in more creative pursuits.
Political Tensions and Terrorism
Around the world citizens have responded to increased government involvement with distrust and have begun to challenge entrenched political parties. Punishing economic policies and austerity measures along with ethnic, cultural and religious tensions have resulted in the rise in civil unrest. A megatrend found in Europe and likely to spread is the rise in populist movements that seek to regain national identity. The ability to efficiently deliver social services will be an ongoing challenge for governments. Countries and states with ethnic and religious tensions along with poor governance, and weak economies will breed terrorism. Transnational and free-wheeling terrorism enabled by information technology will replace state-supported political terrorism. In spite of collective actions to prevent, protect, and respond to terrorism, the threat will remain high in Europe and the US.
Deepening Income Inequality and the Working Poor
Inequality tops the list of economic trends to watch with the US viewed as the most unequal of the world’s rich nations. The wealthiest 1% of all Americans have 288 times the amount of wealth as the average middle class American family. Many predict that Asia will be the region most affected by deepening income inequality in 2015. Middle-income groups in many advanced economies are shrinking. Consumers struggle to pay down debt because their inflation-adjusted incomes have fallen since the 2007-09 recession.
Taking Control of Health and Personal Well Being
Taking charge of personal health will expand. Monitoring and adjusting your health will become more important as technology moves onto the body and consumers take greater control of their health. Tracking internal biochemistry and personal fitness data will result in more engaged and empowered personal health, and telehealth (remote consultation) will allow for higher quality and more personalized care. You can also expect to see more advanced devices to help people stay healthy and connect with their doctors, like devices worn on the ear due to the proximity to the temporal artery. The privacy and security of health records will become increasingly important in 2015 as medical records and online patient portals expand. The West Africa Ebola outbreak raises new challenges in managing infection and healthy living while traveling will require more innovative wellness options. Air purification, energizing lighting, a yoga space, in-room exercise equipment, and vitamin infused shower water are just the start.
Technology Driven Self-Sufficient Travelers
Innovative technologies on a mobile platform will be expected as more individuals rely on digital concierge services. Mobile check-in and seamless connectivity across platforms and devices is now expected. With geo-location software easily available, selling locally with a focus on content marketing is expected. Connectivity is key as more individuals are relying on information delivered through social software from virtual networks. Technology is better and smarter, and more integrated user experiences are likely. The smartphone is essential equipment for almost all employees, making it a potential tool for HR training and other workplace uses. Integrated outlets, USB ports, and wireless technology integration with hotel TV systems are basic. The iPod docking station is passé, but simple clocks are back in.
Sustainability and Resource Constraints
Eco-friendly practices are becoming the norm, and most hotels must have an attractive “green policy”, as travelers expect hotels to have some type of environmental program in place, while few are still willing to pay more for eco-features. Critical resources such as water and power are under increasing strain leading to price increases, volatility and even shortages. Global warming and energy use are affecting how we consume and live on a societal scale. Water scarcities and allocation pose challenges to governments in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and northern China. Renewable energy resource and innovative projects will shape the future of resource use, while regional tensions over water will be heightened in 2015. Falling oil prices, show how easy resource constrains can change, with a dampening effect on the power of countries such as Russia and Iran, while lowering prices for jet fuel, impacting growth in air travel, even as airlines acquire new fuel-efficient jets from Boeing and Airbus and replace old fleets.
Disruption and the Sharing Economy
Emerging new business models including peer-to-peer networks life Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft, multi-sided platforms such as Google and eBay, or free business models such as Skype and Flickr will change the business landscape. As peer-to-peer networks expand and grow they will become more professional and pose stronger direct competition to traditional travel services. Further, the growing popularity of meta search engines from big players like Google and Microsoft and the rapid growth of firms like Kayak may alter the user experience, define the mobile experience, lead to consolidation and impact partnerships with OTAs and hotels. As OTAs consolidate and expand their relationship with customers the costs of distribution will become increasing critical.
A Global Worldview
Increasing similarity and connectedness between nations, companies, and individuals. The globalized economy will be a net contributor to increased political stability in the world, although its benefits will not be universal. Continued transparency in global financial systems and free capital flows is likely. The global market for skilled and trained employees will grow while countries with aging populations will require immigrants to fill entry jobs. Expect more human migration. The travel industry is among the largest and fastest-growing industries worldwide, forecasted to support 328 million jobs, or 10 percent of the workforce, by 2022 according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Citizens of Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom have the best passports for global travel (may enter 173 countries without a visa). In general, passport holders in North America and Europe have the most freedom of travel, while passport holders in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia have the least. Chinese tourists still encounter difficulty traveling abroad with only 50 countries and territories offering visa-free or visa on arrival access for this group of travelers.
Fewer People and More Data
Will staff be needed to clean rooms and provide concierge services? As more travelers prefer technology to human beings, bypassing the front-desk, using a digital concierge, and saying good bye to bellmen and other traditional positions could be in your future. Rethinking how to communication with guest will mean using more data and fewer staff. Recommendation engines will allow guests to obtain “good service” on an array of travel needs once handled by the hotel. Group planners will also expect easy online planning capabilities and fast rates. While a help yourself model will focus on technology to drive service, staff will need to be better able to create and execute on a “new” model of service.
Emerging Growth Markets
Global growth in GDP (adjusting for inflation) will be moderate at 3.2% in 2015, projections of 3.1% for the US, 1.3% for Europe, 7.1% for China, and .8% for Japan. Europe appears to be in an economic rut, Japan’s recovery is faltering again, and China while high compared to other nations looks to have its slowest growth since 1990. The US may be the most likely to power world growth in 2015. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest outlook called global growth “mediocre”. Emerging markets are challenged with inflation if they seek to grow as fast as they have in the past. Brazil will be challenged by slow growth and high inflation, while South and East Asia as well as much of Arica are projected to experience the strongest growth. Overall the global economy is taking longer to recuperate from the financial problems of the last decade.
Source: 4 Hoteliers
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