On Thursday May 19, 2016 during the celebration of the sessions of the "Re Think Hotel Awards", H.M. the King of Spain Felipe VI greeted Mr. Tomas Azcárate Bang, President of the Responsible Tourism Institute, showing his support and interest in sustainable tourism and the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism +20, which was adopted last year in Vitoria, as well as its momentum in the framework of the proclamation of 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism. At the meeting, Ms. Celia Galera, Director General of Habitat Futura Group was also there, organizer of the "Re Think Hotel Awards".
Organized by Grupo Habitat Futura and TSMedia (www.turismososteniblemedia.com) the "Re Think Hotels Awards" contest will feature the involvement of the Responsible Tourism Institute as an official partner, in addition to having the support of the Secretariat for Tourism of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, the Spanish Climate Change Office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Institute for Diversification and, the Institute for Saving Energy of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, and the International Tourism Fair FITUR.
These sustainable tourism awards aim to demonstrate the benefits of hotel rehabilitation and the incorporation of sustainability into the strategy of tourism businesses through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. After the meeting, began the sessions in which were announced the basis of the 2016 call.
In 1995, when the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism was approved, 525 million tourists crossed a border. Twenty years later, the year 2015 ended with a total of 1,200 million international tourists to which must be added 5.000 million passengers who traveled in their own country.
Data on the importance of a sector that creates 1 in 11 jobs in the world and accounts for almost 10% of the world GDP is especially relevant in our country: It grew 0.6% in 2013, and is responsible for 11% of national GDP and 12% of total employment in the Spanish economy.
The World Charter for Sustainable Tourism +20, guide for the tourism sector for the compliance with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations considers tourism as a driver of innovation and development of green, inclusive and low carbon economies; as well as a potential contributor to the safeguarding of cultural creativity, diversity and human and ecosystems welfare.
And yet, the employers in the sector estimated that between 10 and 15% of the Spanish hotel industry is obsolete, being 80% of the total over twenty years. It is key to promote the rehabilitation of hotels to adapt them to the new realities of a tourism sector that increasingly values sustainability as an integrating strategy: it includes as a fundamental aspect improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and enhancing socio-economic development of the environment.
Sustainable rehabilitation improves the competitiveness of Spanish tourist destinations increasing the value of the Spanish brand. In addition, investment in the sector of energy efficiency can be a great ally to generate economic activity, create jobs and attract investment, contributing both to boost the tourism sector and to revive the construction market.
On the other hand, 90% of travelers choose sustainable hotels and 34% were willing to pay more to stay in them. 30% of business travelers already look for responsible hotels (According to the Institute of Responsible Tourism, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and TripAdvisor). Therefore, sustainable rehabilitation of buildings hoteliers is encouraged by various formulas: regional measures to reduce administrative burdens or state grants from the IDAE with PAREER-CRECE program, as from the Spanish Office for Climate Change, and other measures.
The sustainable tourism awards "Re Think Hotel" are aimed at the recognition and promotion of the "TOP 10" best sustainability projects and hotel rehabilitations in Spain within the framework of the FITUR fair and hand in hand with the organizers, drivers and partners. A contest that aims to highlight the benefits of the hotel rehabilitations and the incorporation of sustainability into the strategy of tourism businesses, through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.