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NEW YORK—Tourism entrepreneurs and travelers who want to explore tourism that benefits local communities, respects cultural diversity and contributes to conservation can now take a tour of a virtual SmartLodge. Developed by the Rainforest Alliance, an international sustainability organization, the SmartLodge is an interactive hotel room packed with practical advice on the simple steps that tourism companies and travelers can take to advance toward sustainability.
SEATTLE—Coastal Hotel Group, a privately held Seattle-based hospitality management company, continues to build upon a commitment to operating its collection of hotels and resorts efficiently, with websites powered with 100 percent renewable energy. Desert Compusulting, Coastal Hotel Group’s Web developer and hosting provider, has teamed up with Datapipe for service and support. Datapipe recently announced all of its U.S.-based data centers are now powered by 100 percent renewable energy, making it one of only 13 IT companies nationwide to be a member of the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Club.
DALTON, GA.—At Yellowstone National Park, another sight that’s as predictable as the park’s famous Old Faithful Geyser are recycling bins stuffed with food wrappers, plastic bottles, and other items generated by the park’s 3.5 million annual visitors. In recent years, Yellowstone Park has been a leader in recycling innovation with programs that have significantly reduced the park’s dependency on area landfills. A new and unique recycling partnership, forged with Universal Textile Technologies, Four Corners Recycling, CPE, Inc. and the United Soybean Board (USB), will reduce and ensure the reuse of the amount of plastic bottles that go into landfills.
NATIONAL REPORT—The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte in North Carolina has one. So does the Hilton San Francisco Financial District, Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco-Union Square, and Boston’s Seaport Hotel. All Element Hotels properties have them. A TownePlace Suites by Marriott being constructed in Frederick, Md., will soon have one, as well as the Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth, Wash. What these properties all have or will have is at least one electric vehicle (EV) charging station. EV charging stations are still extremely rare at lodging properties but they are beginning to pop up across the United States as an increasing number of auto makers release electric vehicles to the public. The U.S. Department of Energy projects that one million EVs will be on the road by 2015. According to Pike Research, by that same year, access to vehicle charging will be available at nearly one million charge points in the United States. It is inevitable that drivers will be looking for convenient places to “top off” or fully charge their vehicles.
HOUSTON—Choice Energy Services, a retail energy consultant and broker, announced it has completed a two-year contract to provide the new Trump SoHo Hotel with 100 percent green power. The contract offsets the hotel’s carbon footprint and delivers substantial cost savings for the newest property in the Trump Hotel Collection.
ITHACA, N.Y.—Cornell’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Gap Adventures, and Planeterra have partnered to assess the underlying costs and benefits of sustainable tourism for the country of Belize. The partnership kicks off with a project involving a team of Cornell graduate students in the Sustainable Global Enterprise Immersion program, who are working with the Belize Tourism Board to measure the social, economic, and environmental costs of tourism development.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—Starwood is switching off on March 26—but just for one hour, and for a great cause. The global hospitality leader will once again join the worldwide movement of people and businesses planning to turn off the lights for Earth Hour 2011 in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common—our planet. This year will mark Starwood’s third annual participation in Earth Hour, making it one of the biggest companies to create a statement with a voluntary hour of darkness. Hundreds of hotels in the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. portfolio will take part in Earth Hour, the global environmental awareness event created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to send a powerful global message about the importance of environmental sustainability and caring for the planet. For the first time, Starwood Preferred Guest—Starwood’s award-winning loyalty program—invites guests to take part in Earth Hour and will award 100 Starpoints to every member who registers at Starwood’s Earth Hour website.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.—With the prices of cotton continuing to rise dramatically around the world, Valley Forge Fabrics announced that it would lock in pricing for its Tencel+Plus through the end of the year. There have been several factors that have influenced the cotton price surge including flooding in Pakistan and China, stockpiling from cotton yarn suppliers in China, and the emerging middle class economies in Asia, India and South America.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), is a one-of-a-kind annual conference focusing on sustainable business strategies and solutions that inspire innovative change in the global tourism industry. This year, the ESTC is co-hosted by the Hilton Head Island (Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau) and being held on Hilton Head Island, S.C., from September 19 to 21, at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte became the first urban hotel in the Southeast to offer a permanently-installed Level II charging station for use by guests driving electric vehicles. The new multi-power station is located in the front drive of the LEED Gold-certified property, is complimentary to hotel guests, and supports the hotel’s commitment to environmentally-friendly practices and operations.
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