When choosing their preferred accommodation solution, tourists are increasingly becoming more sensitive to the ecological and environmental impact of their choices. 

“With the advent of better-informed travellers, who are more likely to go for an immersive experience during their holiday, guesthouses are becoming more and more sought after, as they are more likely to offer a more personalised accommodation experience to their patrons” said Anne Marie Grech, Senior Professional Executive at the Energy and Water Agency.

An engineer by profession, Grech works within the Stakeholders Support Unit, within the Energy and Water Agency (EWA) which is responsible for the GUEST project. 

“We wanted to help guesthouse owners to become more sensitive about the water and energy they consume, which in the long run would benefit the country’s environment as well as their pockets” says Ms Grech as she explains the raison d’etre of the GUEST project.

GUEST which stands for Guesthouse owners and Users Embarking on a Sustainable Transition, takes a two-pronged approach as it assists owners get better equipped to be more sustainable, while it also encourages guests to be more sensitive to the cause.

“At first, we needed to take a base-line understanding of where we stood, so we decided to organise a series of focus groups with guesthouse owners who responded very well to the call. We found these operators to be extremely receptive to the value of sustainability, and willing to take further action to become more so” Anne Marie explained.

“However, the guest also has a great part to play in the energy sustainability formula” Anne Marie warned.  “It is no use for the guesthouse to be equipped with the latest environmentally friendly appliances if an air conditioning unit is switched on with the windows open” she explained. 

“That’s why we decided to create a welcome pack that will be distributed to guests in guesthouses, that would encourage them to become more sensitive to energy and water consumption on an island where every drop of water and watt of energy is produced at a premium”. 

The welcome pack will include a message in favour of water and energy sustainability, together with a tote bag, a beach towel and something fun for the kids.

Back to the guesthouse operators themselves, the past two years have been extremely tough for all, no less for this sector, which has seen entire months drag by, with its rooms left unoccupied. 

“Through the focus groups we better understood how we can help our guesthouse owners, and we are working closely with them to create opportunities for collaboration that will equip them better to reach their desired goals” Ing Grech said.

Furthermore, in the coming weeks EWA will be holding a series of energy audits in select guesthouses, aimed at pointing out energy and water efficiency gaps that when addressed will certainly help the operators improve their consumption, effectively saving on their energy and water bills. 

“This is not just a short-term solution though. From this data we want to extrapolate trends and best practices that will guide other guesthouse owners to do the same” Anne Marie notes.

 “We are at a very exciting stage in the project, which is expected to kick off very soon. We are confident that the GUEST project will provide the much-needed insight in this niche sector for the benefit of the country and its environment” Anne Marie concluded.

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