FHR prioritizes local sourcing and the provision of seasonal dishes via the Eco-Cuisine programme. In accordance, a campaign called Going Local, established in 2009, stimulated a number of hyperlocal initiatives on Fairmont properties all over the world. Approximately 28 Fairmont properties have installed beehives, including 20 honeybee apiaries and eight pollinator bee ‘hotels’ (Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, 2016b). This is significant since honeybees have been on the decline due to viruses, pesticides, genetically modified crops and poor beekeeping practices, and the shortage of honey has resulted in its popularity as a gourmet ingredient (Gordon, 2008). Furthermore, 30 Fairmont properties now have organic rooftop gardens growing herbs and vegetables. The Royal York, for example, has a 4000 square foot (371 square metre) herb garden costing approximately CAD$3000/year to maintain. The herbs from the garden are used on/in approximately 6000 meals per day during the summer months (Fairmont Royal York, 2015). Another hyperlocal example is Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, which created an onsite chicken coop housing five hens, producing about one egg per day. The adoption of goats, housed in neighbouring farms (FHR, 2011a) has allowed Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montreal (two goats) and Fairmont Newport Beach, California (seven goats) to produce goat’s milk and organic and sustainable goat cheese. Supporting local farmers in surrounding rural areas demonstrates Fairmont’s interest in providing locally sourced food whilst also supporting local economies; thereby enhancing the well-being of local communities and making a positive impact beyond the immediate urban landscape of Fairmont properties. The examples outlined provide evidence of Fairmont’s sustainability leadership and corporate support in praxis, reducing the ecological footprint and food miles associated with importing food.
In addition to the Eco-Cuisine programme is Fairmont’s EcoProgramming, which encourages Fairmont properties to organize nature- based activities and carbon offsets to deliver carbon-neutral events (Fairmont Royal York, 2015). The two programmes are complementary in the case of Fairmont Battery Wharf in Boston, which arranges private, authentic lobster boat excursions. Such excursions provide an example of integrated tourism as Fairmont Battery Wharf partners with local fishermen to take guests out on the water and learn how to ‘bait, drop, and haul in lobster traps’. Guests then return from the experience with their catch and have it prepared by the chef in the restaurant (FHR, 2011a). This is a useful example of IRT as the programme takes hotel guests out of the urban context and allows them to gain first-hand experience (Comen, 2006) and appreciation of the local food movement. Furthermore, the lobster boat excursions are authentic, reflecting real life patterns, and provide an additional income stream for fishermen (Oliver and Jenkins, 2005).
The various instances of Eco-Cuisine highlighted, such as the installation of beehives, rooftop gardens and chicken coops on Fairmont properties, provide examples of Fairmont’s commitment to achieving sustainability goals. However, deeper level sustainability efforts may be evidenced in the examples of FHR adopting goats at both Fairmont Queen Elizabeth and Fairmont Newport Beach. This example demonstrates Fairmont’s support of local farmers in surrounding rural contexts. Furthermore, the lobster boat excursions offered at Fairmont Battery Wharf provide a clear example of IRT where Fairmont guests can gain first-hand experience from local fishermen and catch their dinner in a non-urban setting. The inclusion of local fishermen may ultimately enhance the tourism experience. Such efforts demonstrate the role of Fairmont’s operations level support rather than deflecting responsibility and decision-making onto its staff and/or consumers. Such practices are juxtaposed with surface level efforts approaching sustainability, such as asking guests to reuse their towels and bed sheets, which also results in cost savings for hotels. Participating in the local food movement not only supports local economies but also reduces pollution from long distance transportation, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of Fairmont properties and contributing to sustainable tourism. The last section will explore some activities on Fairmont properties that create direct benefits for neighbouring communities.