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PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO—The CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa has started a new program aimed at helping female turtles lay eggs and hatchlings to make it to sea. Guests are welcomed to take part in the conservation effort. CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort has created a summer tradition and is again inviting guests to take part in a educational vacation experience—the “Secretos del Mar” Sea Turtle Rescue Program, unique among Puerto Vallarta hotels. Guests are encouraged to spend time with a local biologist, learn more about the endangered species and participate in combing the beach so female turtles have a groomed surface on which to lay their eggs. Following the procedures established by the National Institute of Fisheries and the Fishing & Marine Biology Station of the University of Guadalajara, the resort’s work coincides with the sea turtle season, which begins in June and continues through December, as sea turtles breach the water to come ashore and lay their eggs. However, the daily activities of a beach resort are hardly a safe place for a turtle nest.
ORLANDO, FLA.—Clean the World Foundation, the largest global distributor of recycled hotel soaps and bottled amenities, has elected two executives and a medical professional to its Board of Directors. Mark Rucker, vice president of Lodging for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and Bob Scaglione, chief marketing officer at Sharp Electronics Corp., in Mahwah, N.J., were chosen to join the Clean the World Foundation Board of Directors at a June 13 meeting. Dr. Paul J. Skomsky, an Orlando cosmetic dentist, was chosen at a meeting July 7.
DENTON, TEXAS—Graduate students seeking to advance their careers in different offshoots of sustainable tourism are gaining unique experience through a joint program of the University of North Texas (UNT) and Costa Rica’s Higher Education and Research Center (CATIE), in Turrialba, Costa Rica. The program allows graduate students to earn a joint degree from UNT and CATIE. Students spend the first year at UNT in Denton, Texas, and the second at CATIE. The program launched last fall with six students. Those students, now in Costa Rica, are expected to receive their degrees in May 2012. The next group of students, about 10 to 12 in number, will soon begin the program at UNT. Students graduating from the program will earn a Master of Science degree in International Sustainable Tourism (MIST). According to Daniel Spears, Ph.D., assistant professor of Hospitality Management at UNT, and who teaches most of the MIST courses, the first year of the joint program has gone “extremely well.” “It’s the only program like it in the world,” Spears said.
NAPA, CALIF.—Francis Ford Coppola’s resorts in Belize, Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn, have formalized two strategic alliances that further the company’s commitment and dedication to fostering best practices in ecotourism and sustainable travel. Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn have joined the Sustainable Tourism Program led by the Rainforest Alliance, the international nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to helping businesses develop and implement practices spanning sustainable forestry, agriculture, tourism, climate and education.
DENVER—Xanterra Parks & Resorts is making significant progress toward reaching environmental goals outlined in its 2015 Environmental Vision, a set of aggressive environmental performance goals. The operator of lodging and concessions in national parks and resorts around the country spelled out its progress using environmental performance metrics, called “Ecometrix.” The company’s achievements and measurable progress toward its environmental goals are detailed in the company’s fourth Environmental Sustainability Report. In the report, Xanterra’s president and CEO, Andrew Todd, wrote about the devastation brought about by recent environmental disasters, such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Todd cited Xanterra’s attempts “to find ways to reduce our fossil fuel consumption and associated carbon footprint, doing our part to indirectly prevent future environmental catastrophes.” Xanterra’s mission is simple, he added. Not only has it already begun programs that leave a “softer footprint,” but it also has a 2015 Environmental Vision with goals that “articulate how this vision relates to energy, carbon emissions, waste, sustainable design, sustainable foods, transportation and water.”
ITHACA, N.Y.—A study of more than 500 business and leisure travelers, which appears in the August 2011 issue of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (CQ), is one of only a few studies that capture leisure travelers’ preferences regarding sustainability in hotels. However, the study found few preference differences between business and leisure travelers. Top on the list of features for this group of travelers was green certification. The article, “Hotel Guests’ Preferences for Green Guest Room Attributes,” by Michelle Millar and Seyhmus Baloglu, is available at no charge at, by arrangement with Sage Publishing, which publishes the CQ on behalf of the Center for Hospitality Research at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. Millar, of the University of San Francisco, and Baloglu, of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, used a market research technique known as conjoint analysis to determine the travelers’ preferences for the following seven sustainable practices: recycling policy, shampoo amenities, lighting control, energy efficient light bulbs, towel policy, linen policy, and green certification by an outside agency.
ATLANTA –ASHRAE has published its first ever eBook for use on the Apple iPad. The third and latest edition of “ASHRAE GreenGuide: The Design, Construction and Operation of Sustainable Buildings” is now available in an eBook format to allow iPad users convenient access to the book’s guidance, which covers each stage of the building process, from planning to operation and maintenance of a facility, with emphasis on teamwork and close coordination among interested parties.
BOQUETE, PANAMA—Sometimes the cold weather can be just too much. When Gina Cronin, a Cleveland, Ohio area native had enough of the long northern Ohio winters, she headed south—far south—to the Boquete area of western Panama. After helping to run a successful business and then selling it, she and her business partner at the time decided they not only wanted to move but also start a resort. It took time to find the right property, but now, approximately seven years after the move from the United States, Cronin owns and operates the nine-villa Rancho de Caldera on 50 acres in Caldera. There are many things that are unique about Rancho de Caldera but perhaps what sets the resort apart from others like it is the fact that it is off the grid, powered by electricity generated by 76 solar panels and two hydroelectric generators. Cronin says going off the grid was not in the original plan but plans changed quickly when the local utility told her they would charge her $89,000 to run electric wires to the property.
PARSIPPANY, N.J.—Since first establishing its sustainability program in 2006, Wyndham Worldwide, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, is measuring positive trends in reducing its environmental impact around the globe. The results are reflected in two new sustainability reports released by the company this month— Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reports, reflecting the strategies, efforts, and results across the company’s diverse businesses. With a wide and growing range of businesses, Wyndham Worldwide includes Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel company based on number of properties; Wyndham Exchange & Rentals, the world’s largest member-based vacation exchange network and marketer of serviced vacation rentals; and Wyndham Vacation Ownership, the world’s largest vacation ownership business. “As the global market continues to grow and integrate, the hospitality industry has an increasing ability and responsibility to shape sustainability innovation on the world stage,” says Stephen P. Holmes, chairman and CEO of Wyndham Worldwide. Wyndham Worldwide has invested in exploring and adopting sustainable practices through its Wyndham Green program.
LAS VEGAS—For the third consecutive year, Caesars Entertainment Corp. is sponsoring Dartmouth College’s Big Green Bus tour across America. The converted Greyhound bus, operated by students, will run on recycled waste vegetable oil (WVO) as it travels the country educating individuals on best sustainability practices. The 11-week, 12,000-mile journey will take the 13 students through 31 states and will make refueling stops at Caesars resorts including Harrah’s New Orleans (July 23), Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino (August 3 in Las Vegas), Harrah’s Rincon Hotel and Casino in North San Diego (August 5), and Cleveland Thistledown (September 3), among other scheduled locations.
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