In the next 2 years, greener hotels will dot Egypt’s Mediterranean coast

Tourists will soon have the option of staying at more environmentally friendly hotels on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.

Over the next two years, 30 hotels in Alexandria and another 25 hotels in Marsa Matrouh will become grounds for implementing environmentally conscientious mechanisms with the intent to make these hotels eligible to receive an eco-label from the European Union.

The project, launched last month, is part of the European Neighborhood Policy initiative, and its implementation in Egypt will be overseen by the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe in cooperation with the Environment Ministry, the Tourism Ministry and the governorates of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh.

The need to introduce environmentally conscious practices to hotels arises from the fact that the hotel industry stands as a major consumer of resources and products. The selected hotels will be converted into environmentally friendly establishments by changing the way they are managed and the nature of services provided.

“This project aims to introduce changes such as a rationing system for water consumption, while also introducing clean energy sources to include solar and wind energy, alongside with the recycling of waste,” said Hossam Allam, the center’s regional program manager.

Personnel working in the hotels will oversee the introduced changes to make sure they are implemented.  

Once these changes come into effect, the hotels should become eligible to receive an eco-label, indicating they have been upgraded and now conform to an international set of environmental specifications.

An eco-label would certify that a hotel has made important environmental improvements to its structure to minimize the impact it has on the environment. The criteria followed internationally to obtain this label usually includes putting in place a hotel management system that is ecologically sustainable, is proven to contribute to the conservation of its surrounding environment, includes the provision of environmental training programs and has an economic return to the local community.

Allam explains that “receiving an eco-label will positively affect tourism seeing that it will attract a growing number of clientele who are environmentally conscientious while increasing their competitiveness in the market.”

The project has received positive reactions, though some concerns remain.

Speaking to Egypt Independent, tourism planner Amir Gohar highlights the need for implementing more wide-ranging projects to effect a palpable change.

“We have inherited these countless un-sustainable hotels due to years of mismanagement and a lack of vision. Though such a project represents a good starting point, for the future we need to implement projects that fall within a comprehensive policy framework for sustainable development as opposed to just being sector specific.”

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