A global survey revealed that a significant 82% of travellers prioritise environmentally responsible hotel brands when making holiday accommodation choices. Echoing this sentiment, 41% stated that their decision to opt for sustainable accommodation was driven by a desire to minimise their environmental footprint.
These considerations take on a special urgency for South Africa’s tourism industry, which has seen an extraordinary growth of 78.2% in the first half of 2023 alone, attracting over 4 million visitors. This rapid expansion not only highlights the sector’s economic potential but also underscores its ethical obligation to adopt sustainable practices for the well-being of the planet.
The benefits go beyond making travellers happy. Sustainable practices and the push for climate neutrality may be the only certainty – our only hope – as we face a future that’s gradually being eroded by pollution, deforestation, and climate change.
The Demand for Climate-Neutral Initiatives in Tourism
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a transformative shift in tourist behaviour and expectations. Travellers, weary from extended periods of travel restrictions, seek more than just a change of scenery but also a meaningful and sustainable experience. According to a survey by the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA), today’s tourists are increasingly inclined to opt for longer stays that combine work and leisure while prioritising experiences centred on sustainability.
South Africa stands to gain from this rising trend. The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) has already identified sustainable tourism as a crucial area, holding establishments to high standards related to environmental and community engagement. Numerous establishments, like Coffee Shack Backpackers Surf School and Baleni Cultural Camp, have been lauded for their eco-friendly practices and significant community contributions.
Meanwhile, some South African tourism businesses have also received accolades in the 2022 WTM Africa Responsible Tourism awards for their efforts in decarbonising travel and reducing carbon emissions.
The Benefits of Sustainability and Climate Neutrality in Tourism
Adopting sustainable and climate-neutral practices in tourism can lead to financial resilience through long-term cost savings on energy and resources. It also provides a competitive edge in attracting a growing market of eco-conscious travellers.
The Global Mission to Develop Climate-Neutral Real Estate
18 companies, supported by the Dutch Government, aim to bring the vision of climate-neutral real estate to life in the Gulf region, covering countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. Solarus is one of the companies involved in this undertaking, joining the mission to help this area achieve its ambitious objectives to reach net-zero emissions in the near future.
“Solarus is working together with governments and its programs to support and speed up the energy transition, especially in regions where the Dutch government is invited to support with money and knowledge. Currently, Solarus is part of three different programs.” – Hugo Vermeulen, Hot Water Specialist at Solarus.
How Solarus Transforms Buildings into Climate-Positive Assets
Solarus is trusted across 35 countries for the practicality and longevity of its renewable energy solutions. Through our comprehensive Engineering, Procurement, and Critical components (EPC) approach, coupled with robust Asset Management practices, we aim to optimise the performance and durability of each installation.
Solarus undertakes an engineering phase involving the design layout of the hybrid solar system and dedicated auxiliaries. This careful planning ensures that our system integrates seamlessly with your existing infrastructure.
Sourcing is carried out meticulously, ensuring the acquisition of high-quality collectors, inverters, and other critical equipment. This selection process ensures complete compatibility among the system’s electrical and thermal components, setting the stage for optimal performance and efficiency.
Monitoring, Metering, and Reporting
Solarus employs advanced monitoring and metering technologies to provide accurate, timely data on your energy production and consumption. These insights inform decisions that optimise system performance and reduce energy costs far into the future.
Operations and Maintenance (O&M)
Through comprehensive O&M practices, which include performance analysis, preventive maintenance, and corrective actions, Solarus aims to minimise your operating costs while ensuring the system’s reliable functionality. This, in turn, increases profitability.
“Through our unique Ah72 Hybrid Solar Solution, we are able to convert 89% of solar irradiation into thermal and electrical energy, which is directly usable under the roof. We offer the most efficient solution for businesses that have a constant demand for hot water. This is confirmed by the high valued certification of Solar Keymark.” – Michael Boyce, Solarus South Africa.
Join the Conversation at the Green-Building Convention
This year’s Green Building Convention, spearheaded by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), focuses on the theme of ‘SPACE’ and promises to be a melting pot of innovative discussions and tried and trusted best practices for companies seeking sustainable solutions.
Lisa Reynolds, CEO of GBCSA, stresses that “our planet is still in the emergency room” and advocates for a radical transformation in the built environment to mitigate climate risks. In alignment with this vision, Solarus will be presenting at the convention. Our team looks forward to offering insights into what the future of sustainable building could look like.
The Solarus team also plans to showcase the power of their hybrid solar solution and its dual benefit of hot water and electricity for the hospitality industry.
“We are constantly focused on widening our reach, and we are seeing healthy opportunities now in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. This industry is using a lot of heat for their production of different products, and we are excited to see how Solarus is able to energise those types of businesses as well financially and sustainably.” – Izelle van der Speck, Solarus South Africa.Will we see you at the convention on the 15th- 17th of November? View the full programme for details, and register today for the chance to continue the sustainability discussion with industry pioneers.