Ground-breaking study allows hotels to ensure impacts at destinations

The Travel Foundation, with Pwc has published a report that demonstrates how hotels can work to ensure a net positive impact in tourism destinations as well as helping them to include social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts in decision-making for destinations in which they are seeking to develop.


The Travel Foundation, with PwC, has published the results of probably the most comprehensive destination impact assessment of tourism operations, examining the impact of 60,000 TUI Group customers who visited 8 hotels in Cyprus in 2013.

The study uses PwC's "Total Impact Measurement and Management" (TIMM) methodology to measure and place values on a wide range of economic, tax, environmental and social impacts. This includes the wider impacts from a hotel’s supply chain as well as customer and employee spend, which when combined almost always exceed the direct impact of the hotels themselves.

Hotels can use these or a different set of metrics when making decisions on where to locate hotels in order to ensure the maximum positive impact for a region and its communities.

The report – Measuring Tourism’s Impact, a pilot study in Cyprus – revealed the following key findings:

  • The positive economic and tax benefits are by far the greatest impact - amounting to €84 per guest per night - far exceeding the negative environmental (-€4) and social (-€0.2) costs. However, this is a one-year (2013) snapshot and does not take account of the construction of the hotels. In addition, many environmental and social impacts will accumulate over a longer timeframe.
  • Greenhouse gases (GHG) are the most significant environmental cost - although this represents less than 0.01% of total GHG emissions in Cyprus. GHG impact more than doubles if flights to/from Cyprus are included.
  • The most significant social benefit identified across all of the social impact areas is that associated with 'on the job' experience, with an upper estimate of €6.2 per guest night. This highlights the tourism sector’s significant role in developing skills in the Cypriot workforce, which is important in the context of the Cypriot economy where unemployment has increased in recent years, particularly among young people.
  • Work placements, where a placement is a condition of an individual’s degree, yielded the highest social impact per person (€8,800 per work placement student). However, its relatively small overall impact is primarily driven by the small number of Cypriot work placement students currently benefiting at each hotel.

The findings are particularly interesting for members of the International Tourism Partnership and others who are working hard to reduce their own carbon emissions and are using the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) to measure the carbon footprint per guest stay, room or meeting, and are acting to minimise these. It underlines how important it is for hotels which are working to be more sustainable and want to have positive impacts for guests and their destinations to be continuing to set themselves tough targets on energy and carbon, waste, water and their supply chains.

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