Shaping the new normal: Crisis-resilient tourism via socially inclusive water, sanitation & hygiene

As fires, storms, floods, and a pandemic ravaged many parts of the world, 13,000 participants from 188 countries gathered online from 23 – 27 August for the 2021 Stockholm Work Water Week to share ideas and find solutions to the world’s water crisis.

Aptly themed “Building Resilience Faster”, the event included over 400 sessions, co-created with leading international organisations, to showcase case studies and programs to unite the world in solving the water crisis.

Bronwyn Powell represented the International WaterCentre (IWC) Griffith University at the event, leading a session titled: Shaping the ‘new normal’: Crisis-resilient tourism via socially inclusive WASH. The session focused on gender, disability and social inclusion with panel discussions and a virtual field visit representing this diversity.

“Tourism is a sophisticated actor in opening new areas to development, but often without sufficient focus on equity and sustainability,” Ms Powell said.

“This session examined and emphasized the tourism industry’s critical social and environmental role in water stewardship by providing evidence for, and actions to implement behavioural change to maintain personal safety for the health of staff and their families in local communities.”

Participants enjoyed a virtual field trip to Mandalika, Lombok, Indonesia and the WASH and tourism challenges there, led by Dr Ni Made Utami Dwipayanti from Udayana University.

Dr Anindrya Nastiti from the Institut Teknologi Bandung presented their inclusive WASH-at-work guidelines for hotels, government and communities. Jean Heliere from Hotel Indigo Seminyak representing the Interconentinental Hotel Group (IHG) and the Bali Hotels Association joined a panel discussion along with Dr Dwipayanti and Basja Jantowski, Director of Alliance for Water Stewardship Indonesia.

Outcomes from the session included:

  • The need for the tourism and hospital sectors to collaborate with the public and private water sector to improve their own operations and advance corporate social responsibility to improve destination-wide Inclusive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
  • The need for Governments to provide collaborative planning frameworks where all local stakeholders can have a say in tourism development to ensure equitable water distribution and access to improved sanitation and hygiene, enhancing crisis-resilience for all.
  • Increased use and uptake of Inclusive WASH-at-Work Guidelines and the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard in the hospitality sector to improve and safeguard inclusive access to WASH water for people, businesses and the environment in key tourism destinations.

The IWC Inclusive WASH at Work Guidelines are available online on the project webpage.

The IWC is proud to be part of the world wide movement to progress Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for All.