Hotelplan ups game on sustainability in ski business

27th May 2021, by Abi Butcher

Hotelplan UK, which owns Esprit Ski, Inghams and Flexiski, will look at a circular economy

Hotelplan UK, which owns Esprit Ski, Inghams and Flexiski, will look at a circular economy

The new head of sustainability for Hotelplan UK, owner of Inghams, Esprit Ski and Flexiski, has spoken to Where to Ski & Snowboard about her plans to create change within the company.

Prue Stone, who was previously Head of Sustainability for Explore, another brand belonging to Hotelplan UK, has been appointed to develop and implement a sustainability strategy across the entire company.

Where to Ski and Snowboard spoke to her today, following her appointment earlier this week. Prue had said in the announcement of her position that Hotelplan UK knows it “needs to do more” but added: “progress is notably lower throughout the ski sector, so we’re making important plans for our ski tour operators to lead change.”

She told us: “At Hotelplan UK an important part of moving toward a more sustainable ski sector will be working with our partners, destinations and the local alpine communities to support and lead change.

“Delivering sustainability within the ski industry requires a number of key shifts in approach. To start with, as holidaymakers, tour operators and as an industry, we must remember when talking about ski resorts, we’re talking about people’s homes, their villages, and we shouldn’t expect to dictate change or forget the impact we have when we leave at the end of the season or after our holiday.
“A more sustainable future involves, but is not limited to the review of resources, infrastructure, travel, the potential and resilience of the year round offering, and of course, engagement with customers, hoteliers, tourist boards and the locals who live there.”

Prue said there are already many sustainably initiatives that propose unique opportunities for the ski industry — which when combined have the ability to create “significant change” within alpine communities and help protect the mountains, one of the world’s more vulnerable environments.

“One such model, with much potential for use in the ski sector is the idea of a circular economy. In opposition to a linear economy where ski holiday related materials such as old skis, boards and boots are thrown away, a circular economy looks at how we can reuse or recycle unneeded by-products.

“There are also greener energy options for ski resort equipment, facilities and accommodation, and while these are just a few of the opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint, there is still little involvement from the majority of ski tour operators to support initiatives like these or help them grow.”

She finished by saying: “Going forward Hotelplan UK will be looking at how we can make important business decisions that will not only support change within the company, but also inspire change across the industry.”

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