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Tribune News Network
Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) hosted Qatar Sustainability Week’s (QSW) first Focus Day on Sunday under the title ‘Green Hospitality for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022’, to guide and encourage sustainable operation practices in FIFA World Cup 2022-related accommodation and hospitality sectors.
The focus day highlighted the ongoing efforts among local stakeholders to promote a greener hospitality sector in Qatar and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as a legacy driver for the sector. It also provided comprehensive guidelines for obtaining Green Key certification and meeting the Qatar National Tourism Council’s requirements.
Held in collaboration with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, the conference encouraged sustainable operation practices in hospitality establishments and event management agencies in preparation for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
In his welcome note, QGBC Chairman Engineer Issa Al Mohannadi said, “Qatar has committed to hosting a carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. This momentous undertaking presents an excellent opportunity to accelerate and effectively drive the implementation of sustainable practices in Qatar and produce a tangible and lasting impact on several business sectors, particularly the hospitality sector. It pleases me that we can present this conference despite social distancing protocols to help members of the hospitality industry contribute to delivering the carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”
CEO of FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar LLC Nasser Al Khater said, “Sustainability was central to Qatar’s successful bid in 2010 and has remained at the heart of our planning and preparations over the last 10 years. As the country’s attention shifts from infrastructure delivery to operations and fan experience, delivering sustainable hospitality solutions to the 1.5 million travelling fans will be one of our major focuses over the next two years.
“This year’s event focus with QCBG is more important than ever as we aim to collectively deliver on our promise of hosting a sustainable FIFA World Cup. Thanks to our partners at QGBC for delivering another successful event.”
The opening executive panel included Engineer Bodour Al Meer, Environmental and Sustainability senior manager at SC; Berthold Trenkel, chief operating officer at Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC); Mark Simnett, projects director - Architecture, Katara hospitality, and Meshal Al Shamari, director of QGBC. The panel discussed the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in the context of being the first carbon-neutral tournament, the challenges and opportunities in greening the hospitality sector in Qatar, stakeholders’ responsibility and sustainable operations within the tourism sector, and Qatar as a greener tourist destination pre, during and post-FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The speakers also addressed questions from the audience at the end of the discussion.
Eng Meer said, “The carbon emissions resulting from fans, officials and teams staying in their accommodation is one of the biggest contributors to the FIFA World Cup carbon footprint. Through this partnership with QGBC, we aim to reduce these emissions. Additionally, hotels will continue to welcome guests long after the tournament’s final whistle, so we see this as an opportunity to contribute to a green legacy of the tournament.”
In May 2017, QGBC was accredited by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to oversee the national management of the ‘Green Key’ programme in Qatar. Green Key is an international standard of excellence in environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry.
The Green Key eco-label for tourism facilities has been in existence for more than 20 years and has certified more than 2,900 hotels and hospitality establishments in 57 countries.
The certification criteria encompass staff and environmental management, energy efficiency, water conservation, green activities, indoor environment, green areas and corporate social responsibility.
The process of obtaining Green Key certification enables companies in the sector to realise their sustainability goals and meet Qatar Tourism Authority’s new classification system requirements.
Trenkel said, “What I envision is that green practices and the achievement of the green key will become a must for any new property that will be built in Qatar. What we will do is work with the players that are ahead of everyone else to educate what they did, how they did it and what the impact was because it’s always easier to hear the success stories. It would be good if we can also rally other sectors and start pushing behavioural change. All of us collectively probably have to step up and have to change our own behaviour.”
Commenting on receiving international recognition amid challenges, Dr Khalid Al Neama, manager of Engineering Projects and Construction at Katara Hospitality, said: “Our current priority is to focus on the impact of our hotels and resorts. We have increased our focus on understanding the environmental impact of our activities by adopting environmentally preferable business practices and innovative technologies.”
The conference included a workshop, which focused on exploring case studies and best practices for hotels in Qatar.
The panellists discussed main points on setting sustainability strategies, policies, action plans and the importance of engaging guests and staff on the sustainable agenda. They also highlighted challenges facing greener hotels in Qatar and how to learn from International best practices.
Shamari said, “So many developments have started with the concept of green buildings, but the Green Key has benefits that goes beyond the building and saving energy. It talks about capacity building, health and wellbeing by providing a healthy environment.”
QSW is an annual QGBC National Campaign promoting Qatar’s sustainability vision and community engagement to facilitate the delivery of Qatar National Vision 2030, in line with the global sustainability agenda. QSW 2020’s top objectives include increasing collaboration with key players in the country, in order to escalate understanding of carbon neutrality and its impact on creating a green hospitality industry, as well as highlighting the importance of hosting world-class events like the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
QGBC will host one more Focus Day during QSW 2020 on ‘World Green Building Council Health and Wellbeing Framework, MENA Launch’ on November 5.
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