South Moravia’s Journey Towards Sustainable Conference Tourism

24. November 2023

How is our region and the MICE industry faring in terms of sustainability? We repeatedly posed this question until, in 2022, we commissioned an audit of conference tourism in the South Moravian Region with a focus on sustainability. The consulting agency specializing in corporate sustainability and ESG, Flagship, additionally developed a sustainability strategy for MICE as part of the audit.

Recommendations for accommodation facilities and other conference organizers, stemming from the strategy, have already been communicated to you through blogs, social media, and personal meetings. Now is the time to summarize the rest of the audit.

How is South Moravia doing in terms of sustainability?

The Regional Authority itself has received a relatively positive assessment. As early as 2013, it became the first regional authority and public administration organization in the Czech Republic whose social responsibility management system was certified. The Regional Authority of the South Moravian Region has also undertaken a series of individual projects and initiatives in recent years to promote the idea of sustainability. While these activities do not directly fall under conference tourism, they demonstrate the region’s commitment to addressing these issues.

The activities of the city of Brno have also been highlighted, including its involvement in projects such as Brno Fair City, Slow Food Brno, #PrepareBrno, and Go Green! The city actively supports sustainable business practices, efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, bikesharing, and adaptation to climate change.

The most commonly reiterated risk is the unevenly utilized potential of tourism in the South Moravian Region, leading to the overburdening of certain locations (in some areas, overtourism is becoming a concern). This is closely tied to the high seasonality of tourism and the centralization of MICE tourism in the city of Brno. We are well aware of this, and as a result, we are making efforts to involve partners from the region and distribute organized events more widely within the region. One of the key goals of the Tourist Board is an active endeavor to achieve a more balanced distribution of tourists in both time and space, aiming to alleviate the strain on tourist areas.

A Call to Action for Hotels and Entrepreneurs

Together with the Flagship agency, we’ve compiled an overview of hotels and their sustainable activities. This list, recently revised in November 2023, highlights the need for increased efforts by hotels and entrepreneurs toward greener practices. Explore what leaders in sustainability among South Moravia’s hotels are implementing in their operations for a more eco-friendly approach:

  • Hotel International Brno: Does not use plastic containers and bottles, has charging stations for electric vehicles, uses environmentally friendly cleaning agents, and refillable dispensers for cosmetics.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Brno: Uses recycled materials in the construction and renovation of the hotel, utilizes local food and beverages, offers vegan and vegetarian dishes, composts waste, prohibits the use of plastic straws, has refillable dispensers for cosmetics, batteries, showerheads, and toilets for water conservation. Features elevators with a recuperation module, dishwasher with a recuperation module, utilizes waste heat from cooling for water preheating, LED lighting throughout the building, efficient smart ventilation, air handling units with a recuperation module, uses heat pumps for heating, card switches for electricity in rooms, paper bags for laundry, battery recycling, breakfast zero-waste corner. BREEAM certification.
  • Barceló Brno Palace: Reduced the consumption of disposable plastics to almost zero, uses refillable dispensers for cosmetics, has special receptacles for gastro-waste (e.g., oils), employs local suppliers for half of the purchased ingredients, monitors the hotel’s carbon footprint.
  • Hotel Beatrice, Prušánky: The first passive hotel in the Czech Republic, utilizes approximately 40% of sunlight for its heating, energy-efficient batteries in bathrooms, nearly 100% sorted waste, own laundry and almond farm, private garden.
  • Hotel Galant, Mikulov: Solar panels on the hotel’s roof, the hotel and winery utilize excess heat, wastewater, and greenhouse gases for their operation. In 2016, it ranked among the top three projects in the world in the prestigious E.ON Energy Globe Award competition, which is an international contest for projects striving for energy savings and environmental protection. Uses refillable dispensers for cosmetics, has geothermal wells.
  • Hotel Chateau de Frontiere: Charging stations for electric cars and bicycles, offers bike rentals, the restaurant uses local suppliers, grows, preserves, ferments, and bakes its ingredients. Own water in recyclable bottles, refillable dispensers for cosmetics. Two green roofs.
  • Hotel Passage Brno: Refillable dispensers for cosmetics, uses environmentally friendly cleaning agents (vinegar, citric acid, steam). Water in dispensers, sorted waste, own baked goods, the restaurant employs processes for in-house food production (fermentation, pickling).
  • Hotel Rustikal, Hustopeče: Refillable dispensers for cosmetics, water-efficient toilets and showers. Own meat and beer production. Wind turbine on the roof.
  • Kaskáda Golf Resort, Kuřim: 2 charging stations for electric cars, environmentally friendly cleaning agents, green roofs on bungalows, local ingredients, refillable dispensers for cosmetics.
  • Hotel Lotrinský, Velké Pavlovice: Water-efficient toilets and showers, refillable dispensers for cosmetics, most food comes from local sources and is organic.
  • Premium hotel, Znojmo: Refillable dispensers for cosmetics in the wellness and fitness center, water-efficient showers, some ingredients from local suppliers, energy-efficient bulbs.
  • Quality hotel Brno Exhibition Centre: Functional measures for water savings (use of gray water, water-efficient batteries and showers) + retention of rainwater, which is used for toilet flushing. Refillable dispensers for cosmetics, charging stations for electric cars, green roof on the conference building, containers for sorted waste, glass bottles for water in rooms, self-service glass barrel for water in the lobby. Sustainable materials for disposable products (toothbrushes, laundry bags, trash bags).
  • OREA hotels: Energy-efficient bulbs in all areas, energy-efficient module in hotel rooms, waste sorting, recycling, refillable dispensers for cosmetics, towel replacement upon request. No plastic bags in the trash can in the room, no plastic straws or bottles. Mini-bar filled on individual request, filled glass bottles for water in the hotel restaurant. Hybrid cars in the hotel’s fleet, collaboration with charitable organizations, no waste from food and hotel laundry, use of local suppliers. Orea Resort Panorama, Moravian Karst: Own organic garden.
  • Wellness hotel Volarik, Mikulov: Bicycles available for rent, established procedures to prevent food waste, support for the local community – local artists can exhibit their works in the hotel spaces. Support for local suppliers, refillable dispensers for cosmetics, waste sorting, glass bottles for water.
  • Besední dům, Valtice: Do not provide drinks in plastic bottles, a barrel with drinking water is available, water-efficient toilets and showers, waste sorting, local ingredients, bike rental, reduction of plastic waste in the restaurant.

The trend emerging from recent interviews clearly indicates that hotels are continually adding new partial activities towards sustainability. Nevertheless, there is frequently a lack of a cohesive concept and clear communication of these sustainable measures to the public. We feel that sustainability is mostly perceived as a set of technical measures for greater ecological efficiency, overlooking the potential in the area of local connections and community support. This is where we currently see the greatest potential and room for improvement.

In any case, hotels are on the right path, and even after 18 months of mapping their sustainability, significant progress is evident. Improvements often start with individual responsibility and better communication both internally and externally.

We believe that in the above-mentioned list of measures implemented by our hotels, everyone will find plenty of inspiration. To complete the picture, we would like to remind you of the article in which we dedicated ourselves to steps for a greener operation.