Recently, the Cátedra Nebrija-Santander in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) held a conference to focus on “Corporate Social Responsibility in the Hotel Sector”.
Presented as a gathering to highlight responsible and sustainable business practices in the hotel sector, the event included an invitation to Marbella’s Fuerte Hotels to share their experience as a “responsible” hotel chain following the submission of their CSR report.
More than simply a collection of hotels situated across one of Europe’s most popular and bustling seaside locations, Fuerte is known for a corporate strategy that values the preservation and protection of the local surroundings as much as customer service.
During the event, attendees were treated to a thorough analysis of the hotel group’s initiatives in regards to corporate social responsibility and responsible tourism in the hotel sector. These sessions outlined what it takes for a successful hotel group to create a sustainable and responsible corporate strategy without sacrificing quality and customer service.
As important as these components of Fuerte’s approach are, they are not always clear and present for travellers to the region. From the perspective of a visitor to Southern Spain, just what is responsible tourism? More than just environmentally safe features and conservation, responsible tourism means a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to the way Fuerte does business – as well as the reason why Fuerte should always be the first choice for Southern Spanish holidays.
The hotel group’s approach to responsible tourism has been recognized by a number of different tourism and business groups, including most recently tour operator TUI’s Corporate Responsibility Award and the Malaga Andalucía Management Award for 2012.
Responsible Tourism vs. Ecotourism
Let’s start with the basics – what is the difference between Ecotourism and Responsible Tourism? Fuerte Hotels approach is called Responsible Tourism , which unlike ecotourism, not only considers the environmental impact of their presence and operations but also extends its sensitivity to the economic and socio-cultural aspects involved in the tourism process.
We speak then of tourism as defined as the balance between getting the most that can be made of economic, social and cultural resources, as well as the natural surroundings and meeting the needs of the guests, all while minimizing the negative impact the hotel may have on the local community and environment.
Involvement with the Community
Fuerte Hotels has seven establishments situated in Marbella, Estepona, Torrox, Conil, Grazalema and El Rompido, providing comfort and easy access to all of the local highlights. These ‘responsible hotels’ work to balance economic benefits of the company with actions that provide a positive impact on the community and surroundings by actively participating in local social and environmental efforts. Fuerte understands that without a sustainable versions of both, their presence is of little use or benefit to anyone.
The hotel group’s approach looks to balance customer care and quality at a competitive price with sustainability that does not sacrifice the comfort of the guest. In fact, it is so important to the Fuerte philosophy that it has been a part of the company’s slogan for years – “Caring for people and the environment.”
The Corporate Social Responsibility report (CSR) is a document where companies publicly express their commitment to co-exist in harmony with the environment and the cultural and socio-economic surroundings. Intent on transparency and sustainability, Fuerte Hotels has published its third consecutive annual report, outlining the company’s strategy and dedicated approach with a through description of this year’s actions, policies and achievements.
All hotel chains assume sustainability as a guiding principle and incorporate new management systems to ensure minimal impact on the environment and ensure the promotion of culture and the local economy.
In conclusion, for Fuerte Hotels this model is based on the premise that to create an economically sound business, it is crucial to respect all key factors involved in tourism: the natural and cultural environment, customers, employees, suppliers, disadvantaged groups, etc.
How to Recognize a Responsible Hotel? The CSR Report, a Public Commitment