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Renewable Energy in Tourism Initiative (RETI). Center for Sustainable Tourism East Carolina University Business Research Division Leeds School of Business University of Colorado at Boulder National Renewable Energy Lab.

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renewable energy in tourism initiative reti

Renewable Energy in Tourism Initiative (RETI)

Center for Sustainable Tourism

East Carolina University

Business Research Division

Leeds School of Business

University of Colorado at Boulder

National Renewable Energy Lab

Seed funding provided by the CU Energy Initiative and ECU’s Center for Sustainable Tourism

what reti is trying to effect
What RETI is trying to effect
  • How individual travelers can save in energy use.
  • How tourism providers can save in energy use and thus lower operating costs.
  • How public policy can support such change.

How can we simplify the “learning curve” for each of these?

globally tourism is
Globally, Tourism is . . .


  • a US $7.1 trillion industry
  • one of the largest and fastest growing employment markets internationally
  • employs over 231.2 million people worldwide.


  • will continue rapid growth
  • realize a forecast of US $13.2 trillion industry impact by 2017
  • employ 262.2 million people.

World Travel & Tourism Council

domestically tourism is
Domestically, Tourism is . . .


  • one of America’s largest retail industries
  • estimated $699.9 billion in total expenditures
  • employs 7.5 million people.


  • to be one of the fastest growing industries in the United States
  • expected expenditures by 2010 will be over $700 billion
  • will produce over 8 million jobs.

Travel Industry Association of America

why tourism
Why tourism?
  • Unique industry--requires people to move to their destination rather than moving a product to the marketplace.
  • Growth has been powered by fossil fuels which comes at increasing environmental costs.
  • Such dependence threatens the long-term economic health of tourism businesses and the pristine environments throughout the World.
environmental impact of tourism
Environmental impact of tourism
  • The European Environment Agency reported that tourism is responsible for 5-7% of total emissions in Europe.
  • Climate change threatens most prized tourism destinations such as beaches, coral reefs and mountain resorts.
  • In addition to transportation emissions, most of the energy in the lodging sector is spent on refrigerating and/or heating rooms, water for consumption and pools, along with food.
  • Energy consumption due to world wide tourism could be in the magnitude of 5,000 million kWh per year.
what has been missing
What has been missing?
  • A clear understanding of the "major determinants of energy use” and the "obstacles to moving toward more sustainable energy use“.
  • Understanding the role consumers (travelers), business owners and operators, and public officials all play in cooperatively creating an environment for change within the various tourism sectors.
  • Effectively matching the direct correlation of the impact of each traveler on a place and its people.
  • An industry-wide initiative to educate, provide advice, and support renewable energy practice.

Tourism corporations and businesses seem to be motivated to adopt sustainable strategies in order to:

  • Decrease costs/improve profits;
  • Create greater brand recognition;
  • Enhance reputation;
  • Increase market share;
  • Increase employee loyalty and cost savings;
  • Contribute to the well-being of the community; and
  • Improve relationships/meet regulations with governmental entities.
successful adoption of sustainable techniques in tourism requires
Successful adoption of sustainable techniques in tourism requires . . .
  • a systemic approach
  • initiatives that cut across all management and functional areas of a company
  • a coherent approach to sustainability
  • a vehicle for companies to share each other’s practices
  • a strategy where local community leaders and residents, employees, and guests, are encouraged and allowed to establish ownership.
why renewables
Why renewables?
  • Renewable forms of energy offer an exciting opportunity within tourism as it is abundant, clean, and inexhaustible.
  • Allows tourism businesses to reduce energy costs, increase profits, and meet the growing consumer expectations of tourism's environmental responsibility.
  • Allows consumers of the travel product to learn about and practice, techniques applicable in many other areas of their lives.
reti is addressing
RETI is addressing . . .
  • the adoption process of renewable energy within the travel and tourism industry better linking science to practice.
  • the important components of implementation, entrepreneurship, and transformation.
  • implementation of the many and varied available scientific techniques within an industry that has tremendous environmental impacts.
the tourism provider must
The tourism provider must . . .
  • Increase their awareness of the impact renewable energy can have on the delivery and long-term acceptance of their product.
  • Increase the ability to respond and prepare for these impacts through sound business practice.
  • Identify those business practices that can likely lead to long-term implementation of renewable energy strategies.
questions pertinent to the traveler
Questions pertinent to the traveler
  • What are the perceptions of tourists of the general environmental issues facing them while making their destination choices?
  • Most specifically, what are the perceptions of tourists of the implications of the use of renewable energies on their destination choices?
  • How will these perceptions impact traveler behaviors in the future whether it be in activity choice, destination selection, or the duration, frequency and timing of visitation?
reti actions include
RETI actions include . . .
  • Climate and tourism gathering for business operators and scientists.
  • Review of actions to date in tourism and renewable energy.
  • Preparation of “best practices” across six sectors of the tourism industry.
  • Gathering of industry leaders to determine strategy for change.
  • Call to action and final report.