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LAS VEGAS—Diamond Resorts International, a leader in the hospitality and vacation ownership industries, announced its mid-year assessment of Club Ride Commuter Services, one of its sustainability programs. The free program sponsored by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada helps commuters find alternative ways to get to work, thus reducing traffic congestion, and improving air quality and mobility. Diamond Resorts International team members participate in Club Ride at Diamond’s global headquarters by carpooling, taking transit, walking, or riding bikes and motorcycles when traveling to and from work. These alternative commute modes promote a healthier personal lifestyle while benefiting the environment. Numerous incentives attracted team members to join Club Ride. Participants have reserved parking sections near the entrances of Diamond Resorts International buildings. Club Ride offers several guaranteed rides home per year.
MORROW, GA.—TOTO USA, a leader in premium high-efficiency plumbing products and green manufacturing practices, announced that it has further expanded its sustainable logistics initiatives by adding UPS’s new carbon neutral shipping program to its energy-efficient supply chain. Globally, TOTO is the first major company to do so.
PORTLAND, ORE.—For the first time in the event’s history, delegates of the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), held September 8 to 10 in Portland, Ore., will have the opportunity to participate in volunteer activities during field sessions. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and the destination hosts Travel Oregon and Travel Portland are working with the ESTC Voluntourism Partner Planeterra, a world leader in volunteer travel, to bring volunteering to the forefront this year in recognition of the increasing importance of voluntourism as a niche of sustainable tourism. This is the first time that TIES is offering hands-on volunteer activities at its annual conference, and the delegates will be invited to be part of the roll-up-your sleeves, hands-on voluntourism field sessions offered at the ESTC 2010. The voluntourism field sessions include the opportunities to create a community garden, and to work at an outdoor environmental education center.
BANGKOK—Cambodia’s business conglomerate The Royal Group has unveiled its vision to create Asia’s first environmentally planned resort island pioneering high-end international tourism on the country’s idyllic coastline. With interests ranging from telecommunications and IT to banking, international schools, media and entertainment, hotels and resorts, property and infrastructure development, The Royal Group has been at the heart of Cambodia’s economic development for almost two decades. Now the corporation led by visionary tycoon Neak Oknha Kith Meng is setting its sights on transforming the country’s tourism industry, which until now has almost exclusively depended on the attraction of world famous Angkor Wat. The vision is to develop the pristine island of Koh Rong, 30 minutes by boat from the coastal city of Sihanoukville, into an ecologically sustainable resort.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF.—Representatives from Shaw Industries Group, Inc. joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and William McDonough at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. recently for an event marking the launch of the Green Products Innovation Institute (GPII). The first nonprofit institute of its kind in the United States, the GPII is dedicated to transforming the way companies design and manufacture products by advancing the Cradle to Cradle framework.
DENTON, TEXAS—Travel and tourism is the second-largest services export industry in the United States, with the industry being one of the nation’s largest employers. Sustainable tourism—tourism development that strives to meet the needs of the present tourism market without compromising the resources of future generations—is a tourism specialty that balances environmental, economic and socio-cultural benefits and concerns. A new master’s degree in the University of North Texas School of Merchandising and Hospitality Management (UNT) will educate students for management and leadership positions in this specialty as UNT’s first joint international graduate degree. The degree is the first of its kind in the United States, offering students an interdisciplinary perspective on sustainability and tourism with one year of study at UNT and one year of study in Costa Rica.
BEIJING—The four winners of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were announced during the 10th Global Travel & Tourism Summit at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Of the 12 finalists, Emirates Hotels & Resorts, Whale Watch Kaikoura, Accor, and Botswana Tourism Board were crowned the winners for their successful work in advancing sustainable tourism best practices in different parts of the world. “We are seeing a new horizon in the global travel and tourism industry where more and more companies and destinations, both large and small, are leading the way forward in demonstrating that tourism can be an opportunity for protecting our planet and delivering tangible social and economic benefits at the local, national, and international level,” said Costas Christ, chairman of the judges for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.
WHITEFIELD, N.H.—Visitors to the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa can’t miss the 121-foot wind turbine that stands like a tall white tree behind the 144-room hotel. The 100-kilowatt system has been up and running since late last September. According to Gene Ehlert, marketing manager for the resort and spa, it is too soon to know exactly what percentage of the property’s electricity needs it will eventually meet, but he said the $500,000 turbine has been meeting about 15 percent of the property’s electricity needs so far. From September 25, 2009, through April 26, 2010, thanks to the turbine, Mountain View Grand avoided producing an estimated 36,375 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
MADRID, SPAIN—As the world comes together to celebrate 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, the United Nations World Tourism Organization announces that the World Tourism Day (WTD) celebrations, hosted officially this year by China, will take place under the theme of “Tourism and Biodiversity.” The theme provides a unique opportunity to raise public awareness of the importance of biodiversity to tourism and the role of sustainable tourism in the conservation of life on Earth. Biodiversity is a key tourism asset and fundamental to its sustained growth. Intact and healthy ecosystems form the cornerstone of thousands of tourist enterprises and products worldwide, attracting hundreds of millions of tourists each year. As a leading economic activity, sustainable tourism has an important role and responsibility in managing and conserving biological natural resources.
GREENSBORO, N.C.—Columbia Forest Products was named a 2010 Corporate Sustainable Standard-Setter by the Rainforest Alliance at the organization’s gala dinner and awards ceremony on May 12 in New York City. The honor recognizes companies that have worked with the Rainforest Alliance and exhibited outstanding leadership in efforts to promote sustainability.
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