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LAS VEGAS—Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced a new global corporate citizenship commitment, highlighted by signature global partnerships with the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the international nonprofit organization, Clean the World. A premier developer and operator of integrated resort destinations, Las Vegas Sands (LVS), will contribute $7 million to the UNLV hotel college over five years to develop a global professional and executive education program and assist in the construction of a new academic building, as well as $1 million to Clean the World in 2014, the largest corporate gift in the nonprofit’s history. Clean the World collects and recycles discarded hygiene products from hospitality companies and distributes them to those in need in more than 70 countries who are at risk for life-threatening, but highly preventable, hygiene-related diseases, such as pneumonia, cholera and dysentery. Both commitments are part of LVS’ new global corporate citizenship program, Sands Cares, which manifests the company’s core corporate social responsibility focus.
ORLANDO—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced that its eco-wise Element brand is picking up momentum in Florida with plans for an Orlando debut. Built green from the ground up, Element Orlando North is scheduled to open in July 2015 as part of the redevelopment of Orlando Fashion Square on Colonial Drive. It will be the brand’s third hotel in Florida following Element Miami International Airport and Element Miami Doral. Owned by a joint venture between UP Development, StaySharpe and LBK Hotel Ventures, ElementOrlando North will offer 151 stylish, sustainable rooms.
NATIONAL REPORT—Lodging establishments around the United States are ramping up their planning for Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22. It has now been 44 years since the first Earth Day was held in 1970. During the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. In just a few weeks, Earth Day activities at hotels will range from cleanup events to photo contests to dining, cocktail and spa specials. Aqua Hospitality will celebrate Earth Day by supporting ocean preservation through both a volunteer cleanup and donation to Hui o Koolaupoko. “While we support eco-friendly programs at our hotels all year long, we’ve always felt it was important to take the time to celebrate Earth Day and mark the occasion with special efforts and donations,” said Elizabeth Churchill, Aqua Hospitality’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “As a company with island-based hotels, water is an intrinsic part of our culture.”
CHICAGO—An independent panel of foodservice operator experts from across the industry has selected finalists for the third annual 2014 Operator Innovation Awards. The judges have selected finalists in each of five categories: Health and Nutrition, Marketing, Menu Development, Sustainability and Technology. The winners in each category, in addition to the Innovator of the Year, will be announced live in Chicago at the Destination: Celebration gala on Saturday, May 17, during the 2014 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) announced the winners of the AH&LA Achievement Awards, part of the annual Stars of the Industry Awards. These awards, presented annually since 1966, distinguish individual hotels that have developed outstanding programs, events, and campaigns. Winners were chosen in the categories of Good Earthkeeping, Community Service, Special Events, Guest Relations, and Technology Innovation. The winner of the Good Earthkeeping award in the small property category is The Huntington Hotel in San Francisco, for successfully implementing a hotel-wide trash training program that reduced the trash output by almost 70 percent, saving $12,000 a year. The hotel organized a hotel-wide trash training and created a “trash police” task force to look into the waste bins in their areas and identify items that were not being thrown in the right place. The program changed habits and the way people think about trash not only at work, but also at home. For the same award in the medium property category, the winner is the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Denver.
ATLANTA—From changing occupant energy use to exploring radical innovations in buildings, ASHRAE’s third High Performance Buildings (HPB) Conference highlights innovation; proven methods for improving building operation resulting in deep energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality; measured performance; and HPB case studies demonstrating new technologies.
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.
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