December 2017 – Awareness of GSTC is growing in India, facilitated by the partnerships GSTC is forging with organizations like GreenOtels. With the GreenOtels team, awareness summits have been conducted through 2017 in ten cities including Bengaluru, Jaipur, Chennai, Kochi, Pune, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam this year.

The mission of GreenOtels, a GSTC member, is to encourage the hospitality industry in general and Chief Engineers of the hotels in specific, moving towards a greener consciousness by tracking trends, by providing platforms for ideation and dialogues with thought-leaders, by providing solutions through consultation and training tools and by certifying and recognizing best practices.

This initiative is also supported and actively backed by the HRA (Hotel and Restaurant Association), Green Lodging News (USA), Green Hotelier Media & ITP (UK), Hotel Owners of Tomorrow (Singapore) and Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) which promotes ecotourism in India.

The Summit in every city sees the convergence of hospitality leaders and engineers, economists, policymakers and notable thinkers who consider all plausible scenarios and offer strategies, ideas and solutions to help us turn sustainability practices in benefitting the bottom lines of the hotel operations…

“Awareness for sustainability in the hospitality industry is still in its nascent stage in India,” says CB Ramkumar, GSTC Board Member and GSTC Regional Director of South Asia. “The complexity of the country is huge because of the sheer scale of the task. The partnership with GreenOtels has been quite significant, as we could access the industry across the country in the course of the year.”

Laying out the obstacles on the road ahead, Minakshi Agarwal, Greenotels Founder and CEO, says: “The biggest challenge in becoming a green hotel I see is our mindset. So, in a country, where we put on seat belts not to protect ourselves but to save that FINE then… perhaps Green Hotels can also happen either when it becomes mandatory through legislation OR when it starts making business sense.”

The keynote address for every summit is delivered by CB Ramkumar, who ably manages to very simply and eloquently explain the relevance of climate change and sustainable tourism, and the GSTC Criteria. Environmental specialist Niranjan Khatri, iSambhav Founder and Principal Consultant, formerly of ITC Hotels, also addressed a rapt convention as he brought a new perspective to sustainability and related it simply to one’s daily life.

Overall in 2017 GreenOtels has made a great beginning with most hoteliers and chief engineers pan India are positively inclined to make a difference to their operating style and making sustainability a part of their thought and work process. This is the start of a new journey, full of challenges and discovery and these Summits are just the first step in the direction to make a difference exactly where we are.