Bahrain’s Tourism Future Must Go Green
By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood
With the paddocks overflowing with gaiety and fans at the Bahrain F1 and the Spring of Culture offering a veritable smorgasbord of cultural happenings to broaden our horizons, there is a definite buzz in the air in Bahrain, touristically speaking.
The pride and joy of regional motorsports, the Bahrain Formula One is sold out, there are weddings galore at every hotel as Bahrain celebrates its moment as a Wedding Destination.
our airport is extremely busy and while we grumble about road traffic snarl-ups, we are secretly happy to be back in the thick of things.
Now is a great time, dear Readers, to ponder over how we want to build on the success o f our tourism portfolio.
It is easy to be swept away by the euphoria of the moment.
But to build this up for the future, we must look at how we can sustain the growth, harness the development of the tourism sector and create jobs and also protect our fragile environment from the stress that such a boom in business entails.
The buzzword globally is ‘sustainability’.
What is sustainable tourism development? Sustainable tourism is defined by the UN Environment Program and UN World Tourism Organization as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”
We have to build a template that will tick these boxes and carry the community with it.
For example, the proliferation of hotels has definitely generated new job opportunities and Bahrainis are training today to be hotel staff, restaurant chefs and much more in the hospitality industry.
This represents economic and social impact.
We still need to work on our environmental parameters – is there a national standard for hotels to follow, in order to be declared ‘green’?
Simple things like recycling waste water, using drip irrigation for greenery and smart lighting, temperature control and proper insulation design can make a world of difference.
Drawing in the crowds is a great job well-done. Drawing up a sustainable future is where we need to excel now.
Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism