Tourism is one of world’s largest economic sectors, generating 9.8% of global GDP and 284 million jobs to the global economy in 2015. However, the sector has also been criticized for operating in an unsustainable manner, impacting natural resources and human health. In order to consolidate and encourage commitments to implementing sustainable practices in tourism, United Nations declared 2017 as the year of sustainable tourism.
In Zanzibar, the adverse consequences of unsustainable tourism have become evident especially with the rapid expansion of the hotel sector. However, our understanding on how tourist hotels impact the natural and human environments and how to mitigate the impacts is incomplete. Studies show that in Zanzibar solid waste pollution and mosquito infestation are of great concern to visiting international tourists and the hotel staff. These studies also highlight that hotels generate 80% of all solid waste on the island of which only 20% are collected for proper disposal, and that hotels use large quantities of chemical insecticides in their attempt to control mosquito nuisance and risk of mosquito-borne infections. Focusing on solid waste management, environmental management of mosquitoes and organizational changes, this project will apply a new innovative multi-disciplinary methodology to understand how hotels can operate in a more sustainable manner by identifying the unsustainable processes and practices of solid waste and mosquito control management. The project will implement this new knowledge in an intervention study testing and assessing what is feasible and sustainable in terms of making lasting and effective changes to hotel management policies, processes and practices.
With the increased international and national attention to the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for future economy, environment, livelihoods and health, the implementation of the EnSuZa project is considered very timely. Using interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research and management approaches EnSuZa contributes to a strengthened focus on the responsibilities of the tourism sector in supporting future sustainable efforts in the hotel industry. Selected hotels in Zanzibar are now key partners in the project aiming for adoption by hotel managers of solutions to integrated sustainable waste management and non-chemical environmental control of mosquitos. Additional attention is given to generic and specialized research capacity strengthening for example PhD-courses, workshops and seminars at partner institutions in Zanzibar and to research communication activities flagging the importance of environmental sustainability of hotel operations.