Environmental sustainability of hotels on Zanzibar


Start date: 1 March, 2018 End date: 28 February, 2025 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 17-04-KU Countries: Tanzania Thematic areas: Economic development and value chains, Waste management, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark Ministry of Health Zanzibar (MOHZ), Tanzania State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), Tanzania Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Peter Furu Total grant: 9,996,580 DKK

Project summary

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.


Midterm Report

The EnSuZa project set out to investigate Integrated Sustainable Waste Management (ISWM) practices of hotel-generated solid waste with a view to identify and assess innovative solutions for solid waste management in selected hotels. Additionally, efficacy of integrating non-chemical environmental control (NcEC) of mosquitoes into management practices and organizational processes were to be assessed for reducing mosquito larval habitats, mosquito abundance and use of chemical insecticides at selected hotels and proximate communities. However, well into the second project year the tourism industry and hotel operations in Zanzibar became seriously affected by the covid-19 pandemic temporarily paralyzing the sector. The four EnSuZa partner hotels were forced to close down fully or partly during 2020 and 2021. This has affected the work by the three EnSuZa PhD-students who have been challenged by delays and changing scope and content of original PhD proposals. Field work has been affected and some parts of the original study protocols and activities have not been carried out or have been delayed. Participatory workshops for hotel management and staff have been replaced with work on studies on hotel-community interactions and collaborative frameworks. The EnSuZa project has throughout emphasized good stakeholder collaboration and visibility e.g. through participation in the annual Zanzibar Tourism Show (2019, 2021) and in the recent Sustainable Tourism Stakeholders Forum (2021).

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