For our EUKI brochure we spoke with Anthi Charalambous from Cyprus Federation of Employers & Industrialists (OEB) about the EUKI project Hotels4Climate. The project promotes GHG reduction among hoteliers in Cyprus, Greece and Germany by providing them with the necessary knowledge, tools, support and capacity building. The interview is part of the EUKI brochure published in 2021.
Hotels4Climate aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the hotel industry in Cyprus and Greece. How do you go about this?
There is a lack of data in this field, so as a first step we developed a questionnaire and visited 40 hotels – 20 in Cyprus and 20 in Greece. We spent two days with chief engineers looking at everything emission-related: energy consumption, type of fuel used, transport, rooms, the spa, waste management. We then organised a two-day study tour to Germany for people working in the industry, visiting hotels that serve as best practices. We are also currently working on a virtual hotel where anyone can access individual areas of the hotel to understand how emissions can be further reduced and what specific measures can be implemented in each area.
“We hope to contribute to hotels everywhere successively becoming zero-emission hotels.”
Anthi CharalambousCyprus Federation of Employers & Industrialists (OEB)
What are you aiming for – beyond the duration and regional scope of the project?
As we say, we act locally and think globally: the material that we produce, such as the virtual hotel, or training material on circular economy and greenhouse gas reduction in hotels, is not specifically targeted at Greek or Cypriot hotels. It is available online and can be accessed by anybody. Our hope is that we will contribute to turning hotels everywhere into zero-emission hotels – one by one. After all, there are many countries like Greece and Cyprus where the hotel industry is a major contributor to GDP but also to national greenhouse gas emissions. If every hotel succeeds in reducing its emissions, it will constitute a big step towards reaching the EU’s climate targets.
How have you dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020?
We managed to continue with our project despite all the restrictions caused by the pandemic – and we even took the pandemic as a starting point for something new and productive. Currently, we are working on a report called “Green restart of the hotel industry post-COVID-19”. With this, we want to contribute to the European debate on how to support the economy during the pandemic – without neglecting the important work towards reaching our climate goals.