Ishraq Hospitality set to step up sustainability initiatives

Richard Haddad

UAE-based Ishraq Hospitality has achieved significant accolades at the World Travel Awards 2023, bagging the UAE’s Leading Airport Hotel for Holiday Inn Dubai Al Maktoum Airport, UAE’s Leading Budget Hotel for Holiday Inn Express Dubai Jumeirah and UAE’s Leading Budget Hotel Brand for Holiday Inn Express – IHG Hotels & Resorts.

The hospitality company’s forward-thinking strategies, combined with a consistent focus on guest satisfaction, have been instrumental in setting it apart from its competitors.

TTN talked to Ishraq Hospitality’s CEO Richard Haddad about its sustainability practices, which showcase the brand’s vision and responsibility towards the future.


With the ever-expanding list of new hotels in the UAE, have you noticed any emerging sustainability trends among them?

Hotels in the UAE are making really good progress in their efforts to be more environmentally friendly. It’s great to see that many of them are making eco-friendly choices right from the design stage. Also, there’s a growing trend towards pursuing Green Building certifications like LEED, as well as local commendations such as Estidama. This recognition makes hotels look good and attracts guests who care about the environment. It’s a win for everyone. On top of all that, they’re working on using energy-saving technology and reducing their overall carbon footprint.


Every hotel, regardless of its category or brand, can find its own unique way to embrace sustainability. Even small steps can make a difference
– Richard Haddad



Furthermore, it’s inspiring to see these establishments focusing on issues such as reducing food waste, emphasising water conservation, ensuring sustainable procurement and fostering genuine community engagement too. 


Could you share some initiatives the Ishraq Group is taking across its properties to embrace a greener approach?

This year, we’re stepping up for a greener 2023. We’ve set our sights on decreasing our single-use plastic by 50 per cent and cutting down our paper use by 60 per cent. Energy conservation and tackling food waste are also on our radar. Furthermore, we’re on a mission to plant 5,000 trees across our properties and with our dedicated team, we’ve already hit the 2,000 mark.


How does a notable event like COP28 resonate with the broader hotel industry and more specifically with the Ishraq Group?

COP28 is gearing up to welcome an enthusiastic crowd, with many having a keen interest in sustainability. I’m certain that Dubai will rise to the occasion, potentially even going beyond what’s expected. At Ishraq Hospitality, we’ve taken thoughtful steps in preparation for the event, all to highlight our dedication towards our ESG goals. We believe in the collective effort of our team and understanding its significance in diminishing our carbon footprint. We’re looking forward to sharing our progress and achievements with everyone.


Are there ways guests at the Ishraq Group’s properties might join in supporting environmental well-being during their visits?

Throughout the year, we host various events to enhance our guests’ experience. We invite our guests to join in the special sustainability initiatives we’ve crafted. For instance, a short while ago at Staybridge Suites Al Maktoum Hotel airport, we shared a delightful day with our guests, planting an array of fruits and vegetables in our garden. These will soon find their way into our delicious menu offerings.


How can you prevent hotels from using sustainability as a merely “marketing” tool? As a customer, how can you trust they really are what they say they are?

Today’s guests are knowledgeable and curious about sustainability. When they notice a company highlighting its sustainable practices, they often seek more information. While many brands communicate their sustainability efforts, it’s becoming an essential aspect that influences consumer choices, as highlighted by various studies. Modern travellers appreciate brands that prioritise and transparently integrate sustainability into their operations.


Is sustainable hospitality a luxury trend?

I wouldn’t categorise it as merely a luxury trend. Instead, I see it as a significant movement that’s likely to become essential. Indeed, while it’s trending now, it’s a global shift impacting all industries simultaneously.


What would you recommend to any hotel brands pursuing sustainability?

Every hotel, regardless of its category or brand, can find its own unique way to embrace sustainability. Even small steps can make a difference and there’s always room to expand from there. These patterns show the UAE hospitality industry’s heartfelt recognition and dedication to sustainable practices, all in the spirit of uplifting the global travel industry.

* Find Ishraq Hospitality on stand S6-210