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Eastern Mediterranean University (2012)

Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) of Tourism Accommodations : The Case of City of Mashhad, Iran

Heidari, Ali Aminiam

Titre : Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) of Tourism Accommodations : The Case of City of Mashhad, Iran

Auteur : Heidari, Ali Aminiam

Université de soutenance : Eastern Mediterranean University

Grade : Master of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management 2012

The aggregate per capita of environmental practices within the tourism sector in a destination is not limited to public sectors’ environmental agenda ; but rather every element/part in the whole industry must involve in environmental practices adaptable and compatible with the activities of that unit or segment. Accommodation is one of the main parts of tourism industry with its noticeable impacts on environment that justifies this research to examine and explore the environmental behavior of this particular part of the tourism system. The present study aims to explore the nature of environmental performance (EP) of accommodation sector in the city of Mashhad, Iran. Mashhad is the prime religious destination for pilgrimage and non-pilgrimage vacationers. Being an attraction for pilgrimage tourism, the political economy of this urban area is interwoven with tourism in one hand, and sustainability and the industry`s future, on the other. To reach sustainability and business achievement in accommodation sector, hotels are liable to invest in means and measures of making environmental costs internal in short-term and decreasing the environmental impacts in the long-term. With a population of over 2.5 million people, Mashhad accommodates approximately 14 million tourists each year (ICHTO, 2010). The political economy of this metropolitan area is interwoven with tourism, thus, its environment and sustainability depends upon the environmental performance of tourism sector. The International Hotels Environmental Initiative (IHEI) (Forsyth, 1995) has established EP as part of the strategic decisions of the accommodation sector around the world. This is also a growing concern among the governments, industries, and communities. Furthermore, hotel managers are expected not only to have an understanding of their environmental performance, but also to be aware that their sustainable existence depends upon the quality of the environment in the long run (Leslie, 2007). For the purpose of data collection and analysis, a quantitative method has been applied through administering 200 survey questionnaires to the managers of different hotels with different ranks. The questionnaire included 51environmental performance indicators. Findings revealed that overall environmental knowledge and awareness among the managers are low, which is also juxtaposed with lack of communication in environmental awareness. The study showed that waste management and recycling obtained a moderate point as enforced by the municipality. Water conservation is also practiced through the application of new water facets in the rooms. However, filtration process is not done and also, water wastage is taking place. The lowest point is given to energy consumption, which is still highly dependent on fossil fuels, especially petroleum. Not much attention is given to application and utilization of renewable sources of energy. In relation to landscape design and greening of the surroundings, hotels are negligent. Another deficiency that the study revealed is the lack of parking spaces, which can result in traffic and congestion. Finally, accommodation sector and managers need to strengthen their resolves towards environmental awareness and commitment if the aim of sustainability is on their agenda.


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