Title: Water management in the European hospitality sector: Best practice, performance benchmarks and improvement potential
Citation: TOURISM MANAGEMENT vol. 46 p. 187-202
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC101007
ISSN: 0261-5177
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2014.07.005
DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2014.07.005
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Water stress is a major environmental challenge for many tourism destinations. This paper presents a synthesis of best practice, key performance indicators and performance benchmarks for water management in hospitality enterprises. Widely applicable best practices and associated performance benchmarks were derived at the process level based on techno-economic assessment of commercial options, validated through consultation with expert stakeholders and site visits to observe commercial implementation. A simple model was applied to calculate potential water and energy savings achievable through implementation of best practice for a 100-room hotel and an 60-pitch campsite. In aggregate, technically-derived process-level best practice benchmarks corresponded closely with enterprise-level benchmarks derived from empirical data. Frontrunner enterprise benchmarks, expressed as total water use per guest night (g·n), were: ≤140 L/g·n in fully serviced hotels; ≤100 L/g·n in hostels; ≤ 94 L/g·n in fully serviced four- and five star campsites; ≤ 58 L/g·n on all other campsites. Water savings achievable through implementation of best practice were estimated to be at least 228 L/g·n and 127 L/g·n for fully serviced hotels and campsites, respectively, excluding large potential savings for non-universal processes such as outdoor irrigation. Best practice in water management could reduce annual water and energy use by 16 573 m3 and 209,541 kWh, respectively, for a 100-room hotel, saving EUR 58,436 in utility bills. Universal implementation of best practice applied across hotels and campsites could reduce water use by at least 422 million m3 per year throughout Europe, making a significant contribution to the sustainability of water-stressed tourism destinations. Possible barriers to best practice implementation include divided responsibilities within large organisations, lack of awareness, and water charges accounting for a relatively small share of overall costs.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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