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MONTGOMERY, ALA.—Wind Creek Hospitality (WCH), one of the largest hospitality companies in Alabama, announced a new initiative focused on promoting regional food that includes growers, purveyors, consumers, chefs and restaurateurs, amateur cooks, food banks, and nonprofits promoting healthy lifestyles. “Wind Creek’s Southern Table: Setting a Place for Good Food” is a multi-faceted initiative spearheaded by WCH President Jay Dorris. Designed to expand access to good food for citizens across the region, this effort will promote the culinary industry and its traditions, and support locally grown and produced food. In making the announcement in Montgomery, WCH’s Vice President of Marketing Michael Perhaes was joined by Edwin Marty, Executive Director of EATSouth, which has an urban farm in downtown Montgomery, and Caroline Rosen, Executive Director of Front Porch Revival, an organization comprised of regional culinary professionals. “The good food that is grown all across our region should be available to everyone, and we are making a targeted effort to have what’s grown here and what’s made locally offered on our Wind Creek menus,” Perhaes said.
ITHACA, N.Y.—A new study from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the School of Hotel Administration has documented an unexpected benefit when hotels earn a certification for environmental sustainability: they tend to run more efficiently. In the study, Cornell’s researchers tested the operating efficiency of U.S. hotels using financial performance data from PKF Hospitality. Hotels that had earned the “Eco-Leaf” designation from Travelocity.com were more efficient in several areas of resource use than hotels that did not have eco-certification.
ST. MICHAEL, BARBADOS—Some of the world’s most popular and appealing travel destinations are in jeopardy, vulnerable to issues like climate change and unsustainable development. Several leading organizations have joined forces to address these challenges head-on by helping tourism destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America to safeguard their natural and cultural assets, while enhancing communities and securing a vibrant regional economy. The new Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA), which was launched today (March 27) at an event in Barbados, marks the largest-scale effort to date through which public and private entities have united to focus on destination sustainability in the Americas. The Alliance includes the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, global NGO Sustainable Travel International, leading cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and the United States Government through the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States. The SDAA will offer seven destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America significant support with their sustainability efforts.
NEW YORK—ABM, a provider of facility solutions, announced that ABM’s energy business started construction on a 2 MW solar array to be implemented on Cornell University’s campus in Ithaca, N.Y., representing the Ivy League university’s first large solar endeavor. ABM will provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Operations & Maintenance (O&M) services. ABM joint venture partner Building Energy will finance and own the solar power plant in partnership with Distributed Sun, LLC, which developed the project for Cornell.
NATIONAL REPORT—Hotel companies around the world are preparing for the eighth annual Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time. Sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour has grown to involve hundreds of millions of people across 7,000 cities and 154 countries in a collective statement of concern about climate change. While many lodging establishments will be extinguishing lights for an hour and asking guests to do the same, others are using the occasion to build business—offering Earth Hour-inspired drinks, for example. MGM Resorts International will once again dim lights at its resorts. Exterior lighting, rooftop signage, marquees and front features at the company’s major Strip resorts and Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss. will be turned off during the celebration. “This event is an opportunity for us to join with others all over the world, to unite in a common mission and illustrate our commitment to the planet,” said Cindy Ortega, MGM Resorts Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer.
PORTLAND, ORE.—The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, has been named a Platinum-level “Leader in Sustainable Tourism” by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and National Geographic Traveler. The award recognizes demonstrable leadership and innovation in preserving and communicating an authentic sense of place through a wisely managed tourism campaign.
MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide announced that it has extended its global soap recycling initiative to all 10 of its Japan hotels. The program supports the company’s commitment to divert waste from landfills through reuse, recycling and donations via its global RePurpose program, and enables Hilton Worldwide to make a significant contribution toward combating hygiene-related diseases in underprivileged communities in Asia. Hilton Worldwide has partnered with Hong Kong-based Soap Cycling, Asia’s first soap recycling nonprofit organization, and JTB Trading, Inc., which sponsors the collection and shipping of the recovered soap to Hong Kong. “We are pleased to extend soap recycling to our hotels in Japan, and to be Soap Cycling’s very first hospitality partner outside of Hong Kong,” said Timothy Soper, Vice President, Operations, Japan, Korea and Micronesia, Hilton Worldwide. “Our collaboration with JTB Trading, Inc. also demonstrates how impact can be amplified with like-minded partners. This initiative reinforces our efforts to reduce waste output and strengthen communities—two core pillars of our global corporate responsibility strategy.”
NEW YORK—On World Water Day, March 22, WHOLE WORLD Water, a social enterprise that unites the hospitality and tourism industry to collectively address one of the world’s most pressing issues, access to clean and safe water, launched a global call to action: Give the #WholeWorldWater.
HONOLULU, HAWAII—Eight Outrigger Hotels and Resorts properties have proved once again that it is easy being green by encouraging hotel guests to join the war on waste. The company’s 2013 eco-friendly efforts amounted to more than 27 tons of recyclable plastic bottles and aluminum cans from guestrooms, up from 20 tons in 2012. Twenty-seven tons is enough to preserve more than 200 cubic yards of landfill space, and if stacked end to end, could go up and down Diamond Head more than 80 times. Outrigger Hotels and Resorts launched its in-room recycling program in 2006 at its two Waikiki beachfront hotels, encouraging visitors to leave plastic bottles and aluminum cans in a designated bin or area within the guestroom for recycling purposes. The program quickly gained momentum, and in 2009, Reynolds Recycling honored Outrigger Enterprises Group with its inaugural “Green Leader Award” for being the top recycling and sustainability leader in Hawaii’s tourism industry. Over the last eight years, the program has collected a total of roughly 107 tons of recyclables.
DALLAS—Omni Hotels & Resorts and Louisville Metro Government announced they have entered into an agreement to develop a 600-room convention center hotel in downtown Louisville, Ky. Situated one block from Kentucky International Convention Center, the new Omni Louisville Hotel will be the first four-diamond, luxury hotel in the area, and will feature 600 guestrooms and suites, 70,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa, fitness center, two full-service restaurants, rooftop pool-side café, street level retail venue, and a lobby lounge. The hotel is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification.
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