Improving environmental sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism: the key strategies


  • Mónica Oliveira CITUR, ESHT, Polytechnic of Porto
  • Susana Silva CEOS.PP, CITUR, ESHT, Polytechnic of Porto, Vila do Conde, Portugal
  • Cândida Silva CITUR, ESHT, Polytechnic of Porto



Energy, Environment, Hospitality, Sustainability, Tourism, Waste, Water


The Hotel and Tourism Industry has experienced profound changes in recent years and has been one of the sectors most affected by COVID-19.  With the return of tourist activity, many companies went back to their normal routines, but the sector has changed dramatically. Tourists have new expectations, needs, and priorities, and sustainability is the one that is most emphasised, particularly when it comes to excessive water consumption, misuse of energy, and poorly utilised waste. The industry has a unique opportunity to recognise the importance of sustainability and define strategies to guarantee customer satisfaction, in symbiosis with environmental concerns and the preservation of the planet for future generations.

This study aims to characterise the good strategies and practices for environmental sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism, namely in terms of energy, water, and waste. The purpose is to present the procedures and processes that lead to greater sustainability performance and to accomplish this a focus group was organised, with 2 hospitality stakeholders, 2 environmental groups stakeholders, and 2 VET (Vocational Education and Training) stakeholders, to discuss and identify the main factors directly related to the excessive use of water and energy and the poor treatment of waste and ranked by the participants. The meeting was done face-to-face, lasted 3 hours, and was based on their expertise and good practices. The Hospitality and Tourism Industry is conscious of its ecological footprint, namely in terms of energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste management. Considering energy, some examples were given such as electricity-saving practices, using LED bulbs, occupancy sensors, and automatic light controls. With respect to water, it is mandatory to install low-slip faucets and shower heads, reduce laundry and cleaning, and recycle water that can be reused for irrigation or toilet flushing, reducing the use of fresh water.

The research presented contributions to the growing Knowledge on this topic, and the findings propose a straightforward guide for managers in the Hospitality and Tourism industry. Further research is endorsed to reinforce the value of environmental sustainability and to involve a greater range of stakeholders with different profiles in the sector.  

Author Biographies

Mónica Oliveira, CITUR, ESHT, Polytechnic of Porto

Mónica Oliveira holds the title of Specialist in Hotel and Restaurants and is professor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism of the Polytechnic of Porto. Linked to Tourism and Hospitality areas since 1991, the professional experience, research and projects have allowed her to acquire expertise in the Tourism sector, giving her the ability to critically analyse market needs and future trends.


Susana Silva, CEOS.PP, CITUR, ESHT, Polytechnic of Porto, Vila do Conde, Portugal

Susana Silva is a researcher on Tourism, Hospitality, and Human Resources Management. She has several papers published and also attended international conferences. She teaches in the degree and master course of Hospitality and Tourism at the School of Hospitality Tourism, Polytechnic of Porto, Portugal. She integrates several international research projects as a coordinator and a researcher.

Cândida Silva, CITUR, ESHT, Polytechnic of Porto

Cândida Silva is a Professor of Technologies and Information Systems at School of Hospitality and Tourism of Polytechnic Institute of Porto, where is President of Technical-Scientific Council. She has PhD in Information Systems and Technologies and is a principal researcher of CiTUR and collaborator researcher at Algoritmi research centre. She is member of the organization committee of national and international academic seminars and conferences, reviewer of international conferences and journals, and has several scientific papers and communications.