Over the past two or three decades concern has arisen over the effects of human activities on the environment. The key problems have been identified as global warming, ozone depletion and acid rain, as well as the depletion and pollution of land and water natural resources.
Hotels are increasingly recognizing the need for using energy and other resources responsibly and controlling consumption, as a social responsibility as well as good business. Many leading international companies are now members of the International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI), which has developed practical guidelines for hotels. The International Hotel & Restaurant Association seeks to assist hoteliers in reconciling environmental issues with competitive pressures. Hotels figure prominently also in the work of the World Travel & Tourism Council which monitors, assesses and communicates effective environmental strategies in travel and tourism.
The environmental conservation movement is gaining in momentum in its concern for natural resources – water, land, air – and this is linked to protecting the environment in previously underdeveloped regions in a socially responsible fashion. There is a growing acknowledgement of the importance of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘ecotourism’ that will affect the way that hotels, particularly in resorts and rural locations, develop their properties and manage their operations in the future.