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Sustainable resource consumption in tourism – how to fight waste

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Summer is approaching and the Covid-19 pandemic is slowing down. This means the summer season will be busier than the past 2 years. Hotels, beaches, cities will be full of tourists. Amidst all this, energy prices are not going to decrease, which puts the businesses (mostly the small and medium companies) in very tough situation. In the long run, however, the overconsumption of resources will have a negative impact on the environment and who else, but the end consumer (a.k.a. we, the people) will pay the final bill.

Tourism is one of the world’s most important industries. Despite the difficulties it has faced in the last two years as a result of the restrictions for COVID 19, it remains one of the industries that consumes vast amounts of resources. Not only that, tourism generates a significant amount of waste of resources such as water and electricity, mainly because of irrational consumption.

Tourism is a significant contributor to employment and GDP in many countries and regions, particularly in the EU, where five countries rank among the world’s top ten tourism destinations. Tourism has the potential to contribute to the development of rural, outlying, or underdeveloped areas. Indeed, tourism infrastructure contributes to local development, while jobs created or maintained can help offset industrial or rural decline. Nonetheless, tourism has significant environmental impacts and can put a strain on local resources. It leads to the overconsumption of resources such as water, energy, and food, as well as to the generation of large amounts of waste (solid waste and sewage), road congestion, noise and air pollution, and, as a result, CO2 emissions.

How does tourism consume resources?

Hotels are among the top five in terms of energy consumption in the construction industry. More than 100 TWh of energy is estimated to have been used in hotels worldwide. For example, one of Europe’s most developed countries, the Netherlands, uses slightly more than the hotel industry throughout the year, 108 TWh per year.

Water consumption in the EU and its connection to the tourist industry is significant. According to a Sustainable Hospitality Alliance report, water accounts approximately 10 % of utility bills in hotels, while guest rooms accounting for 25%. A European tourist consumes approximately 300 liters per day, whereas an average European resident consumes 150 liters per day.

Italy, Bulgaria, and Greece consume the most tap water in the European Union, according to Statista. This water is consumed in a variety of ways, including cooking, showering, and drinking. Italy and Greece are two of Europe’s top ten most appealing tourist destinations. They receive more than 80 million tourists each year.

According to the research, tourists consume between 84L and 2000L of water per day. It also indicates that the water consumption for one bedroom can reach 3400L per day.

What are the losses of resources in tourism?

One of the most common problems in small and medium-sized hotels is energy management. The first reason is guests’ irresponsible consumption, as electricity is usually included in the price. Almost everyone of us usually leaves the air-con on while we are at the beach. As a result, utility overconsumption results in profit losses for the business owners.

The second reason for losses is that hotels are being compelled by government directives to use energy-efficient technology to improve their energy management and address the environmental issue. This is related to big capital investment which have slow ROI.

Finally, the trend of sustainable tourism among tourists is growing year after year. A growing number of people are opting for eco-friendly hotels.

How does this harm the sector and the environment?

Energy consumption and tourism growth generate revenue, create jobs. According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), global energy consumption will increase, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts that tourist arrivals will increase from 1 billion in 2012 to more than 1.8 billion in 2030. Such tourism and energy flows will have a wide range of benefits, including cultural, social, job creation, and socioeconomic development.

These flows will result in increased EFPs and greenhouse gas emissions from both the tourism and energy sectors. According to Lenzen et al. (2018), global carbon emissions increased from 3.9 to 4.5 GtCO2e between 2009 and 2013, and international tourism accounts for approximately 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To preserve the environment, it is necessary to address the environmental degradation caused by carbon emissions, which are negatively associated with economic growth, and to make long-term efforts. The tourism industry accounts for 5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The most noticeable feature of both energy consumption and tourism is that they are linked through various networks; for example, international tourism is not only part of economic growth but is also linked to energy consumption patterns. According to Frantál and Urbánková (2017), energy demand is closely related to tourism activities, as well as associated functions such as accommodations, catering, transportation, and communications.

ADDERRA by ADD – the solution of sustainable resource consumption

It was in this situation, therefore, that our team came up with a unique idea – why not put the tourists themselves in an active role, rather than always be the observing victim? Why not give them back the power to decide? At least, partially…

ADDERRA is an efficient solution for hotels, allowing them to set a room charge that does not include the costs of electricity and water consumed in the guest rooms. Our service allows guests to prepay for water and electricity online using a smartphone app and a prepaid Bluetooth meter.

As a result, ADDERRA encourages hotel guests to rationalize their consumption by making them responsible for paying for the water and electricity they intend to use in a room.

ADDERRA is a sub-metering system for measuring electricity and water consumption, with an integrated billing and payment platform.

Prepayment meters require customers to pay for utilities before they use them. They are also known as pay as you go meters because they are topped up with credit. This credit enables the user to consume the amount of water and electricity that he or she has paid for.

The advantages of prepaid meters for tourism

  • Short-term rented property: Owners of vacation rental property can improve their utility management. The waste of electricity and water by tenants, which is included in the rental fee, reduces profit and makes accurate forecasting impossible. The prepayment service allows landlords to avoid these losses because payment for resources becomes the tenants’ responsibility.
    Furthermore, by removing the costs of water and electricity from the accommodation fee, the rental price becomes more appealing to guests.
  • Hotels: Hotel guests do not always use resources consciously. As a result, hotels emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and wastewater. Governments, on their side, compel hotels to adopt resource-efficient solutions. Adderra’s prepaid submetering solution is ideal for reducing the negative environmental impact of the hotel industry because it enables guests to behave sustainably.
  • Long-term rental: Landlords who rent for an extended period of time may face unpaid utility bills left by tenants. With the help of prepayment meters, tenants will be required to purchase prepaid electricity and water in advance, eliminating the possibility of a landlord incurring losses.
    In addition, ADDERRA provides a postpayment option as well as a credit limit mode with a predetermined credit limit. As a result, the landlord has the authority to determine how the utilities will be paid, transferring full responsibility for utility payment and debts to the tenants.
  • Commercial properties: Commercial tenants are billed for utilities based on the division of total consumption by all tenants or the building-level meter. A submeter installed in each tenant space allows you to bill tenants only for the resources they use. A commercial landlord’s efficient solution is perceived by tenants as fairer and more reliable than the traditional utility payment approach.
    Furthermore, submeters with prepayment features help to avoid tenant late payments and protect against potential utility debts.


The dynamic links among energy consumption, tourism growth, and the ecological footprint: the role of environmental quality in 38 IEA countries – Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Sep. 20: 1–14.

Circular Economy Contributions to the Tourism Sector: A Critical Literature Review