BARCELONA, Spain: Hoteliers in the Mediterranean have a responsibility to protect the environment, the president of the International Hotels & Restaurants Association said Thursday.
Speaking at the 10th Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders conference in Barcelona, Ghassan Aidi said climate change issues were becoming a deep concern for tourism sectors in the region.
"We have a great responsibility to protect the environment," he told the conference.
Lately, in addition to this economic crisis, we have to fight the effects of the climate change while our industry contributes less than 2.5 percent of the total emission of CO2 worldwide." he added.
Aidi said despite the global economic and financial crisis, hoteliers continued to survive thanks to quick adaption to new travel trends.
"Remember that people always need to travel. People will continue to travel. Tourism will not end and business travelers will not stop pouring into our hotels.
The only difference is, instead of staying in a five-star hotel, they will go to four-star hotels; instead of staying two weeks, they will stay 10 days or week," he added.
Aidi warned that independent hotels in the region will need to deal with low prices prompted by newcomers to the market.
We have problems with newcomers to compete with us, like Airbnb [which enables people to list or rent short-term lodging in residential properties] ... We need to resolve this issue very fast or it is going to be too late.
Aidi said increasing numbers of Chinese tourists also offered opportunities.
"We need to diversify our market. Sixty million people from China are travelling this year. The Chinese government is actively looking towards new destinations and our Mediterranean region is very rich with various cultures and hundreds of exciting attractions that will appeal to this market," he said.
The Mediterranean region is a major world tourist destination, with approximately 50 percent of total world arrivals, one-third of tourist income, and 20 percent of accommodation capacity worldwide, according to the UN World Tourism Organization.
Around 100,000 Mediterranean hotels are located around one sea, across 24 countries. By 2020, it is expected that 420 million non-resident tourists will visit the Mediterranean region.
"We are leading our economies in several aspects by providing employment, paying competitive wages, providing excellent career opportunities to our people in our communities... In growing our hospitality industry, together we can make difference," Aidi added.
Anadolu Agency is the event's Global Communication Partner. This is the second time the agency is participating in the event.
Source: Anadolu Agency