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LAS VEGAS—Employees of MGM Resorts International donated more than 154,000 pounds of food to Three Square Food Bank in a continuous effort by MGM employees to extend the staff of life to food insecure residents this holiday season. The food was collected during the company’s sixth annual food drive. MGM Resorts employees gave rice, flour, beans, cereal, canned meats and other food items that Three Square will use to feed the 137,000 local individuals served monthly through its approximately 1,300 community partners. Experts estimate that about 15.8 percent of the population, or more than 305,000 Southern Nevada residents, are food insecure. According to research provided by Three Square, food insecurity happens when a household is forced to short its food budget, the most flexible area of spending that a struggling household may have, in favor of paying rent or mortgage payments, healthcare costs, transportation expenses and utility bills. “This holiday season, many lives will be touched by the outpouring of generosity from MGM Resorts and their selfless, hardworking employees,” said Brian Burton, President and CEO of Three Square.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The 15 finalists of the National Geographic World Legacy Awards were unveiled. The World Legacy Awards, a partnership between the National Geographic Society and ITB Berlin, showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organizations and destinations—ranging from large resorts to small eco-lodges and from wildlife conservancies to geoparks—driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the travel industry based on National Geographic’s work of inspiring people to care about the planet. More than 150 World Legacy Awards entries were received, representing 51 countries and six continents. Finalists in five award categories were selected by an international team of judges. The judging process also included on-site inspections of all finalists. Costas Christ, chairman of National Geographic World Legacy Awards, said, “Sustainable tourism is the foundation for the future of the travel industry, and those destinations and companies that understand this today will be the global leaders of tomorrow. Tourism is based on selling culture and nature—the very things sustainable tourism practices work to protect.
DOVER, DEL.—The dates for Sustain 2016, the Mid-Atlantic’s Annual Hospitality Conference, have been announced. The event will take place March 14 to 15, 2016 at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. The conference will be presented by Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and planned and developed by HospitalityGreen LLC. Attendees will have three tracts of activities to choose from: Culture, Marketing and Sustainability. Each visitor can attend any of the workshops and other activities within any of the tracts. Topics will include introduction of new products, green training programs and advice on how to engage millennials. Day one will feature six concurrent afternoon training sessions. Day two will begin with three full-conference morning sessions, a farm-to-table lunch, and keynote address followed by nine concurrent afternoon sessions. The conference will wrap up with a full-conference Q&A session with all of the session speakers. The event will include yoga and a morning stretch each morning and multiple opportunities each day to visit with vendors. Pricing is available on the conference website.
NEW YORK—Seven New York City hotels were honored for their environmentally friendly lodging practices and socially responsible initiatives as recipients of the second annual Sustainable Hospitality Awards, presented on Monday, November 9 by the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. at HX: The Hotel Experience 2015. The Hotel Association’s Sustainability Committee offered awards in two classifications to hotels with fewer than 250 rooms, and to hotels with 250-plus rooms. In the small hotels category, the Roger Smith hotel was presented the Social Responsibility Award for numerous charitable endeavors supported by its employees. The Hyatt Union Square was recognized with the Environmental Protection Award for implementing a comprehensive energy retrofit to minimize energy consumption and output. The Pierre—A Taj Hotel received the Sustainable Hospitality Award for its overall achievement in environmental and social sustainability. Among the large hotels, Courtyard by Marriott Central Park was given the Social Responsibility Award for integrating an active social responsibility policy for its employees and promoting green initiatives.
LONDON—Many of the world’s biggest travel and tourism companies have improved their carbon efficiency by 20 percent in the last 10 years and are on course to cut CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2035, according to a major new report. “Travel & Tourism 2015; Connecting Global Climate Action”, published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), outlines the preparedness of the sector for climate change alleviation measures and demonstrates the progress that has been made by the world’s leading airlines, airports, hotels, cruise lines, car rental companies and technology companies in the last decade. The report concludes that the world’s biggest travel and tourism companies, as represented by the members of WTTC, are: 20 percent more carbon efficient today than they were in 2005; on course to cut CO2 emissions by 50 percent from 2005 to 2035; and on course to reach the target of 25 percent reduction by 2020. In 2009, WTTC published “Leading the Challenge on Climate Change”, which identified key themes and action areas.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Restaurant Association (NRA) annually explores the top menu trends for the coming year. For this year’s What’s Hot culinary forecast, the NRA surveyed nearly 1,600 professional chefs—members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF)—to find which foods, beverages and culinary themes will be hot on restaurant menus in 2016. Top 20 food trends for 2016 include: 1. Locally sourced meats and seafood; 2. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts; 3. Locally grown produce; 4. Hyper-local sourcing; 5. Natural ingredients/minimally processed food; 6. Environmental sustainability; 7. Healthful kids’ meals; 8. New cuts of meat; 9. Sustainable seafood; 10. House-made/artisan ice cream; 11. Ethnic condiments/spices; 12. Authentic ethnic cuisine; 13. Farm/estate branded items; 14. Artisan butchery; 15. Ancient grains; 16. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items; 17. Fresh/house-made sausage; 18. House-made/artisan pickles; 19. Food waste reduction/management; and 20. Street food/food trucks. “True trends evolve over time, especially when it comes to lifestyle-based choices that extend into other areas of our everyday life,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the NRA.
NAPLES, FLORIDA—The air outside may be a balmy 95 degrees but the temperature inside The Grow House (a.k.a. CropBox) at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples is an ideal 65 to 72 degrees—perfect for growing lettuce and other micro-greens. Since July, Executive Chef George Fistrovich has been growing the equivalent of an acre of vegetables in a repurposed shipping container that sits in the parking lot of the hotel. Measuring 40 feet by 8 feet in size, the container is equipped with everything one needs to grow crops—lights, planting racks, HVAC system, all of the necessary hydroponic components, and a system of sensors to monitor just about every environmental condition. On the day Green Lodging News interviewed Fistrovich, he expected to be harvesting 1,400 heads of lettuce in the following five or six days. He and his colleagues were on their third lettuce growing cycle.
CANTON, MASS.—America has always been considered one of the most generous nations, but now there’s even more evidence in a new study called “Good Travels: The Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler,” released by Tourism Cares. The new data shows that more than half of the Americans surveyed have given of their money, time or goods while on a recent vacation. Not only was some kind of giving surprisingly prevalent, the care and support for the communities where the travelers visited was especially important for millennials, families and affluent households. Tourism Cares, the charitable arm of the tourism industry, recently released this study of American travelers who “give back” prior to, during and following their travel experiences. It was conducted by Phocuswright and supported by the tourism industry, including sponsors American Express, Amadeus, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Delta Air Lines, Hostelling International USA and the United States Tour Operators Assn. It is the first holistic look at the giving and volunteering motivations, habits and practices of travelers before, during and after their trips.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. released its 2014 Global Reporting Index (GRI G4), outlining the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, community involvement, opportunities for associate development, and best practices in corporate governance. The Index follows previous publication of a full Global Citizenship report in 2014 and a periodic update earlier this year.
ITHACA, N.Y.—Throughout the world, human traffickers use hotels and other hospitality locations to kidnap and exploit their victims, many of whom are children. A new report from the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration calls on the industry to fight back against trafficking of children. In the report, “Adopting the Code: Human Trafficking and the Hospitality Industry,” Michele Sarkisian outlines the dimensions of the problem and gives specific strategies for ending this practice.
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