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RALEIGH, N.C.—A state environmental program recently recognized North Carolina’s 100th tourism business for its use of sustainable practices that save energy and protect the environment. The NC GreenTravel Initiative now boasts 100 sustainable tourism-oriented businesses with the recent addition of the Greenville Uptown Umbrella Market, a farmer’s market that features locally-grown food and uses a refurbished trolley to shuttle people for free to the market from outlying areas in eastern North Carolina. “On top of being a gorgeous place to live and visit, North Carolina is ideal for those who want to travel green,” said John Skvarla, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “The NC GreenTravel Initiative has made people more aware of sustainable, travel-oriented businesses that make sound investments in sustainability. These businesses are a vital part of our efforts to protect the environment and encourage economic growth.” NC GreenTravel started in October 2011 to promote sustainable travel. Tourism-focused businesses, including hotels and state parks, apply and are selected for the program.
NASHVILLE, TENN.—The Hilton Garden Inn Nashville/Franklin Cool Springs, a full-service hotel located 14 miles outside of Nashville, has recently upgraded 10 of its guestrooms to make them more comfortable for people with asthma and allergies. The rooms were installed by PURE Solutions, which provides allergy travel accommodations at nearly 300 hotels nationwide.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Health-conscious travelers now make up more than 40 percent of the U.S. travel marketplace and that number is trending upward. Already a $439 billion market, the wellness travel industry is expected to grow another 50 percent through 2017, according to the Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC). Meanwhile, hotels and resorts are spending billions of dollars on new facilities and upgrading existing properties to meet the demand of travelers looking for the best possible healthy destination experience. To help legitimize the business of healthy travel destinations, a new, first of its kind nonprofit has been formed called the Institute for Healthy Destination Accreditation (IHDA). The Washington, D.C.-based IHDA utilizes a proprietary science-based certification process, the only one in the industry, designed to help resorts and hotels measure and improve their health-related initiatives, amenities, facilities and personnel. Likewise, the IHDA-operated website will serve as a consumer portal where health-focused travelers can find useful and timely IHDA-certified information about healthy travel options throughout the United States and eventually throughout the world.
ORLANDO—Orlando has become the first destination to produce a comprehensive sustainability report focused on the visitor experience. The goal of the report is to tell the sustainability journey of Orlando, allowing it to chronicle progress toward the goal of becoming one of the world’s leading sustainable destinations. The Orlando Destination Sustainability Report is a pillar program of Green Destination Orlando (GDO), and a co-production between GDO, Greenview and the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, along with community volunteers. The report shares Orlando’s vision where visitors have a total sustainable experience, beginning the moment they plan their visit, to arrival in Orlando, to their stay at local lodging, to their daily activities, and all the way back home. Through this lens of a complete loop, the report describes the destination-wide programs and performance across various components of the visitor experience, covering key issues such as green buildings, transportation, food systems, solid waste, water, energy, natural resources, and many others.
LAS VEGAS—ARIA Resort & Casino, LEED Gold and Green Key certified, as well as a TripAdvisor GreenLeader at the Platinum level, will be the site of this fall’s second annual Lodging Green & Sustainability Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. The LODGING Magazine event, with the support of EcoGreen Energy Solutions, will take place October 28 to 30. “This year we anticipate doubling the size of our event in both attendance and exhibit area,” says LODGING magazine Publisher Bill Corsini, who will once again host this annual event. “While still relatively small in only our second year, the conference will again attract the best and the brightest among sustainability experts and professionals in the hotel space. We at LODGING Media are extremely excited by how well the conference was received by all participants last year, and everyone agrees the anticipation for this year is off the charts.” The three-day conference and expo will kick off on Tuesday, October 28 with a tour of ARIA, part of the CityCenter complex.
NEW YORK—Fifty-five percent of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact, according to a new study by Nielsen. The propensity to buy socially responsible brands is strongest in Asia-Pacific (64 percent), Latin America (63 percent) and Middle East/Africa (63 percent). The numbers for North America and Europe are 42 and 40 percent, respectively. “Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand’s social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions,” said Amy Fenton, Global Leader of Public Development and Sustainability, Nielsen. “This behavior is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in our communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands.” The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility polled 30,000 consumers in 60 countries* to understand: how passionate consumers are about sustainable practices when it comes to purchase considerations; which consumer segments are most supportive of ecological or other socially responsible efforts; and which social issues/causes are attracting the most concern.
PHOENIX—The Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Airport North, a contemporary hotel with convenient access to the Phoenix metropolitan area, will add 10 allergy-friendly guestrooms by PURE Solutions to its list of offerings. PURE Rooms are treated according to a patented seven-step process that kills and protects against 98 to 100 percent of viruses, bacteria and other harmful irritants.
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS—Though many travellers want to minimize the environmental impact of their trips, it can be tough to find an eco-conscious hotel, and it can be even tougher to separate the truly sustainable hotels from those that just claim to be. BookDifferent, an Amsterdam-based nonprofit, is the first hotel booking site to bring together lodgings certified by the world’s most reliable sustainability programs. After adding more than 4,500 new spots over the last year, BookDifferent now has 6,980 certified hotels, resorts and campgrounds, making it the largest eco-focused booking site on the web.
BOSTON—Warm weather is finally upon us, which means more people than ever will once again be using bike-share programs across the country, including those who travel frequently. This spring/summer, Massachusetts-based brand Bern Unlimited is partnering with the Boston Lenox Hotel—the same hotel that Bern named one of their popular helmets after—to offer guests complimentary biking helmets.
NATIONAL REPORT—Earlier this year Green Lodging News updated its readers on the many state level green lodging certification and recognition programs. That article followed a series of articles in 2013 on national certification programs. This article focuses on local or regional green certification programs in which lodging establishments can participate. By our count there are six—in Annapolis, Md.; Los Angeles; McAllen, Texas; New York’s Catskill region; Ohio’s Hocking Hills region; and San Francisco. In Annapolis, properties can participate in the Annapolis Environmental Stewardship Certification Program. The Annapolis Environmental Stewardship Certification Program is a part of the Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs’ Sustainable Annapolis initiative. Launched in 2009, the Annapolis Environmental Stewardship Certification Program awards best practice certificates to homes, restaurants, lodging establishments, auto repair shops, schools, retail stores, places of worship, and office buildings. In order to be eligible for the two-year certification, the applicant must earn enough qualifying points from a comprehensive checklist of environmental best practices and pass a verification inspection.
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