Time to wake up

In the 15th show of the second edition of BW HOTELIER’s The GM Show, industry experts discussed on the topic, Responsible Luxury: Catalysing Hospitality Revival Through Sustainable Practices In India

The debate for the episode covered a broad spectrum of issues related to responsible luxury and sustainable practices within the Indian hospitality industry. These also, as we all know, serve as a foundation for insightful discussions that will delve into the challenges, opportunities, and best practices associated with catalysing hospitality revival through responsible luxury. During the 15th episode of BW HOTELIER’s The GM Show Season 2 titled Responsible Luxury: Catalysing Hospitality Revival Through Sustainable Practices In India, a group of distinguished panellists from the hospitality industry voiced their opinions on the subject. These included Rahul Puri, Cluster GM, The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi & The Westin Sohna Resort & Spa; Norton Pereira, Regional GM - IHG, & GM, Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon; Rohit Arora, Area GM, The Park Hotels; Harpreet Vohra, Area GM, East India, Radisson Hotel Group South Asia and GM, Radisson Blu Faridabad and Sharad K Upadhyay, GM, Crowne Plaza Greater Noida.

The 15th show of the second season began with the host-moderator Bhuvanesh Khanna putting up the first question to Rahul Puri. He was asked to define what responsible luxury means in the context of the hospitality industry and its relevance to India and also talk about the concept of sustainable tourism as also how it aligns with responsible luxury, showcasing its potential to contribute to India’s tourism industry. To this, Puri said, “Responsible luxury is fast becoming the buzzword in hospitality industry. Responsible luxury is already getting built-in into our day-to-day affairs. Global Sustainable Tourism Council has predicted 6.7 per cent annual growth in responsible luxury travel and this is going to go upward in future. Sustainable Travel Report states that 81 per cent of global travellers confirm that responsible luxury is important to them.”

The next question was directed to Norton Pereira on exploring the ways in which luxury hotels can reduce their environmental footprint through energy conservation, waste management, and eco-friendly practices and highlighting the benefits of sourcing products and services locally to support communities and reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Sharing his opinion, Pereira said, “IHG has its own sustainability programme, Green Engage. It is meant to support our hotels’ measures and manage their impact on the environment. When we explain about sustainable practices to our guests, there is a lot of acceptance as everyone understands that there is one primary goal – to protect the planet. When you procure locally, you save because there is no transportation involved, no refrigeration required and it saves energy apart from connecting with the locals culturally.”

The host-moderator next turned to Rohit Arora on exploring the strategies to make responsible luxury more inclusive, ensuring that local communities and employees benefit from hospitality growth. And how luxury hotels can contribute to the preservation of local cultures and heritage through responsible practices. Arora said, “At The Park Hotels, we broadly follow four strategies: local employment and emphasis on training; cultural sensitivity and preservation; fair wages and benefits and transparency and accountability. We recognise the significance of empowering the local community through employment and skill development. Our commitment goes beyond hiring individuals as we implement training at our institute in Navi Mumbai and we also have training cells at each hotel.” He added that The Park Hotels also give training to locals to the extent that they get skilled and are hired at a better position in the luxury hospitality space and strong emphasis is placed on training the staff and how they should respectfully interact with the guests and community members. 

Next up was Harpreet Vohra to whom the moderator asked about concept of carbon neutrality and the steps luxury hotels can take to offset their carbon emissions. To this, Vohra said, “Climate change is a global issue and it is affecting communities, lives, businesses, economies all over the world. Global emission of CO2 has increased by 50 per cent since 1990 and more notably, our hospitality sector contributes 1 per cent to it. Hospitality industry like other industries has to start taking responsibility and we need to invest in renewable energy sources to generate clean energy. We need to invest in projects that reduce carbon emissions.”

Sharad K Upadhyay, while expressing his views on the significance of preserving local flora and fauna and how luxury hotels can contribute to biodiversity conservation and the efforts undertaken to reduce plastic waste through single-use plastic ban, recycling and the use of biodegradable alternatives. He said, “Globally, the land that we utilise for the construction of a large luxury hotel depletes a lot of biodiversity. Biodiversity is a very complex non-negotiable ecosystem of all the life forms that exist on the earth. A handful of soil taken from an organic source probably has more number of microbes than the total population of earth. Biodiversity provides the food on your table. If something happens to biodiversity, the first thing you will know is that there is no food or less food.” He added that about 1 per cent of CO2 produced globally is from large and luxury hotels and about 218 kwh electricity per square metres is utilised by large hotels throughout the world. “The hotels are the largest and biggest consumers of water with an average of 150-200 litres of water is used per day in our guestrooms and 30 per cent of food prepared in luxury hotels goes all the way to the dustbins. We need to end this all,” he averred. 

After another round of interesting questions to each of the panellists, the show culminated with the host-moderator Bhuvanesh Khanna thanking the esteemed panellists for sharing their thoughts and views on the subject and informing about the next GM Show at 4 pm on September 1 on Striving For Excellence: Addressing Operational Challenges In India’s Hospitality Industry. 


Around The World