A slew of Green Tourism initiatives and awareness programmes about environmentally sustainable tourism launched by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has been helping the hotels and hotel apartments in the Arabian Gulf region’s tourism hub in reducing the consumption of electricity and water and presenting themselves as environment-friendly properties to guests from across the world.

Inaugurating the environmental tourism training workshop titled Green Tourism in GCC Countries- Between Hope and Reality at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, Mr. Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, DTCM Executive Director of Business Development and Media Relations Division, said tourism has been playing an increasingly important socio-economic role in the economies of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the recent years with Dubai maintaining a market leading position.

“Several other GCC states have also started giving more focus to tourism. There have been reasonable concerns about environmental issues due to the development of tourism industry in our region,” he remarked.

The senior official said environmentally sustainable tourism was being pursued in Dubai in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism which leads to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be filled while maintaining cultural integrity, essentials ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems.”

He said the DTCM has been active in enhancing the industry’s contribution to Green Tourism.

The number of Green Teams in hotel establishments also went up from 160 in 2009 to 576 in 2011.

The three-day seminar was being attended by officials from UNEP, UNESCO, hoteliers, environmentalists and media representatives from the GCC states.