Meliá Hotels International has submitted a plan to the Spanish government to use European Recovery Funds on a project “focused on the transformation and recovery of the travel industry.”
The proposal is designed to “help combat climate change and move forward in the decarbonization of the hotel industry.”
The Spanish government plans to create 800,000 jobs over the next three years through an investment of €72 billion ($87 billion) of European funds. The government intends to allocate the funds through a public process to identify suitable projects based around four broad areas: Ecological transition, digitalization, gender equality and social cohesion.
Meliá said that an investment of around €129 million ($156 billion) would enable the group to “accelerate the transformation of hotel management (and its entire value chain) towards a more sustainable and responsible business model.”
The hotel group says the funds will be used to reduce its scope 1 and scope 2 environmental footprint to zero, while also reducing scope 3 emissions, “with digitalization and innovation being the key drivers of the change.”
As part of the project, Meliá proposes using one of its hotels already in the Menorca Biosphere Reserve to create a prototype for a carbon-neutral hotel. Menorca has been recognized as a UNESCO natural biosphere reserve, with characteristics in common with nearly all Mediterranean island ecosystems.
Some 220 species of birds, and 1000 species of plants – 60 of which are endemic –have been identified here, and every year, almost 1.4 million tourists come to Menorca. Meliá currently operates four hotels on the island.
“We do not aspire to be among the largest companies in the world, but we do aspire to being a good company for the world,” said Gabriel Escarrer, executive vice president and CEO of Meliá. “And that means we have to manage the resources within our reach in a sustainable way, guaranteeing a balance between our growth, environmental protection and social welfare”.