A recently released white paper on Tourism and Water states an alarming possibility for the entire tourism sector of the Asia-Pacific region. A crippling condition of lack of water supply is possibly going to hamper the prospects of tourism in this entire region as mentioned in the white paper released in Singapore.
The white paper was prepared in patronage of the Australia based EarthCheck Research Institute and conducted by a global consortium of acclaimed research professionals. Ecolab, a worldwide leader in technologies pertaining to water, hygiene and energy was also behind this research.
Dr. Susanne Becken who is a professor of Sustainable Tourism at the Griffith University together with Dr. Raj Rajan who is working as the Vice President of Global Sustainability at Ecolab made the presentation and released the facts in the white paper at a special World Water Day and International Year of Water Cooperation Distinguished Lecture in Singapore co-coordinated by the Banyan Tree Global Foundation.
The white paper outlines the implications of acute water unavailability and the steps that should be executed in order to ensure that more water can be harvested. It also discusses the challenges that the tourism industry faces in the immediate future in terms of cost for making water available and of course the quality of that water. Invariably the cost of water is going to increase in the foreseeable future and the white paper also foresees that in the not too distant future there are going to be some degree of legislative regulations in place in order to reduce the footprint. For businesses that are future-minded having a system of audit in place now and investing in water consumption management procedures is certainly going to be a critical business advantage if and when these regulations come into place.
Lack of water is not only a resource problem having larger climate related issues but it can pose serious administrative challenges as well. A UNDCWS (2012) report suggests that in China there were 120,000 water related disputes since 1990. Asia-Pacific’s tourism industry must realize that along with its increasing stake in the global tourism business it also has a significant role to play in the conservation & management of water. It is pertinent to mention here that according to a PATA estimate more than half a billion travellers are going to visit numerous destinations across the Asia-Pacific.
According to Dr. Raj Rajan, Vice-President of research, development an engineering at Ecolab, progressive businesses with a definite eye for the future are already employing steps to ensure that they have a minimum impact on the community where they are based in. the white paper encourages businesses to maintain an impetus to identify where water conservation techniques can be employed.
The paper gives valuable tips on how an increased efficiency in water management can be achieved and also showcases benchmarking data from a number of hotels and accommodation all across Asia-Pacific using the EarthCheck data. It also gives a valuable insight into the geographical, operational and behavioural differences across the region which necessitates further investigation of their causes and possible corrections.