The Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has awarded 70 hotels in Dubai with the “Dubai Sustainable Tourism Stamp,” a new sustainability initiative that seeks to recognise hotels with the highest level of adherence to DET’s 19 “Sustainability Requirements.”
With Dubai taking the lead as the first city in the region to mandate sustainability criteria for its hotel classification system, the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Stamp (DST) initiative further reinforces its drive to become a leading sustainable destination.
The initiative, launched last year in tandem with the UAE Year of Sustainability, which also saw Dubai hosting the milestone COP28 in Expo City Dubai, seeks to support hotels in the city to achieve their sustainability goals as they meet the highest standards of DET’s Sustainability Requirements.
Sustainable management approaches
The comprehensive set of requirements that hotels need to implement include sustainable management approaches, performance metrics, energy, food and water management plans, guest education, employee training initiatives, creating sustainability committees within hotel establishments, and Corporate Social Responsibility programmes for local communities.
The recipients of this certification were honoured at an award ceremony hosted by DET at Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, and attended by top hospitality executives as well as DET senior leadership.
The awards were presented by His Excellency Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, and Mr. Yousuf Lootah, Head of DET Environmental Sustainability & Social Responsibility Committee.
The DST Stamp validates the commitment of the 70 hotels to implementing sustainability practices and activities, further meeting the expectations of travel industry partners, and an increasingly environmentally conscious traveller base.
The stamp is awarded based on a three-tiered system of gold, silver, and bronze, related to the winner’s level of compliance achieved. This also reflects a thorough accreditation process overseen by a committee of senior industry professionals, including Ms. Sameera al Rais, Director of Policy & Strategy Sustainable Development at The Executive Council of Dubai; Dr. Hessa Ali, Head of Studies and Dr. Naseem Mohammad Rafee at Dubai Municipality; Mr. Waheeb al Kamali, Director of Municipal Affairs at Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE); a representative from Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA); Mr. Ibrahim al Zu’bi, Group Chief Sustainability Officer and Chair of Global Council on SDG13 at ADNOCi; and Mr. Nicolas Mayer, a representative from Tourism SME, to ensure integrity with the initiative and enforce adherence across strict criteria designed based on global best practices.
The initiative aims to accelerate the tourism sector’s efforts to support the UAE’s NetZero 2050 strategy, and aligns with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure, and the best city to visit, live and work in.
Dubai, a leading sustainable destination
Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing commented: “Inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to position the city as a leading sustainable destination, and contributing to the UAE’s wider Net Zero goals, Dubai is taking a leading role in driving awareness, fostering education and ultimately creating and supporting opportunities to further advance responsible tourism practices. The awarding of the first Dubai Sustainable Tourism Stamps is an important moment in our collective journey, and we congratulate and thank the participating and winning hotels for their efforts.
“We are committed to supporting the industry with frameworks and initiatives that can contribute to achieving our shared goals, and the launch of DST Stamp has underlined our commitment to collaborating with our stakeholders – in this case hotels – to set the highest standards and reward those who achieve them. Through the continued development of the DST Stamp, as well as other current and future initiatives, we look forward to further consolidating Dubai’s status as a sustainable tourism destination.”
19 Sustainability Requirements,
Mr. Yousuf Lootah, Head of DET Environmental Sustainability & Social Responsibility Committee, commented: “The naming of 70 award winners in this first edition of DST Stamp certification underlines the Dubai hotel industry’s high level of compliance with our 19 Sustainability Requirements, and provides us with a strong platform to build on over coming years. A clear indicator of the sector’s ongoing maturity, this impressive result highlights the awareness and commitment of operators to drive sustainable tourism practices, in line with our city’s visionary leadership.
“We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of all hotels who have participated in this programme. They have clearly demonstrated their desire to embrace a journey towards sustainability, and we encourage those who did not apply this year to reassess their operations and join their industry colleagues in this important initiative, and strive to achieve the DST Stamp certification in 2024.”
Lootah referenced the accreditation as further evidence of Dubai’s determination to continue to champion sustainable practices while setting a benchmark for global excellence in environmental stewardship: “This is an important step towards achieving our strategic goal of making Dubai the first choice destination for global travellers seeking the ultimate sustainable experience. By supporting businesses and encouraging them to adopt eco-friendly practices and reduce their carbon footprint, we are helping to safeguard the environment, promoting sustainable growth, and demonstrating the tourism industry’s foresight and determination to foster an eco-friendly sector that is both economically prosperous and environmentally responsible.”
With a one-year validity, the ‘Dubai Sustainable Tourism Stamp’ is the latest initiative in DET’s sustainability strategy which has already seen the launch of the Carbon Calculator – a platform conceived to help stakeholders and partners identify cost saving opportunities and manage the transition to sustainable practices – and the Dubai Can initiative, which was launched in February 2022 with the ‘Refill for Life’ campaign promoting the use of reusable bottles and encouraging people to refill via 50 water fountains established throughout the city.
A second Dubai Can project, the Dubai Reef, was launched in December 2023; one of the world’s largest marine reef developments, Dubai Reef is part of the city’s efforts to increase fish stocks, support sustainable fishing and contribute to boosting food security. Dubai Reef project will also play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions and increasing marine biodiversity.