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SAN FRANCISCO—Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, and SolarCity Corp., a leading solar power provider, announced a new partnership that will connect Airbnb hosts and guests with an affordable and sustainable way to power their homes with solar energy, and are releasing estimates of the environmental benefits of home sharing for travelers.
KIGALI, RWANDA—Marriott International officially opened the doors of its first Marriott Hotel in Rwanda. “Rwanda is going through an economic transformation and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson, who attended the Kigali Marriott’s opening ceremony with political dignitaries and executives including Alex Kyriakidis, Marriott’s President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa region. “Coupled with that transformation is a mutual promise for opportunity—both for Marriott as a hospitality company and for the associates and partners who will help us succeed in this market.” Highlighting the importance of hospitality’s role in Rwanda, the World Travel & Tourism Council says Rwanda’s travel and tourism industry generated 7.1 percent of the country’s GDP in 2015 and predicts it to rise at 4.1 percent annually through 2025. Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda is becoming a popular destination for meetings and tourism. The 254-room Marriott in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, is creating approximately 500 jobs and will be among the country’s biggest and most luxurious properties.
MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton announced that all 750 properties across its All Suites brands will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to reduce hygiene-related illnesses for communities in need. Marking the first time in the industry this is required as a brand standard, it is a major expansion of what is already the industry’s largest soap recycling program that will now include 1,370 hotels participating across Hilton’s portfolio. Hilton’s All Suites brands include Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton. They comprise nearly 15 percent of Hilton’s current portfolio and 29 percent of its pipeline, and the new brand standard will nearly double the number of hotels participating in the soap-recycling program. Through its partnerships with Clean the World and other organizations, Hilton’s hotels have already collected more than one million pounds of partially-used soap, which have been recycled into more than four million new bars of soap. This process has also prevented more than 570 tons of waste going to landfills.
NEEDHAM, MASS.—TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, today announced its commitment to launch a set of industry-leading actions, including changes to its policy on selling tickets to animal attractions, and the launch of a new education portal to help inform travelers about the standards of care for wild, captive, and endangered species in tourism and their interactions with tourists, and their impact on wildlife conservation. TripAdvisor and its Viator brand will discontinue selling tickets for specific tourism experiences where travelers come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species, including but not limited to elephant rides, petting tigers, and swim with dolphin attractions. While some attractions will cease booking through TripAdvisor immediately, the company plans to have both the educational portal and booking policy changes fully launched and implemented by early 2017. TripAdvisor is also committing to the development and launch of an education portal linked to every animal attraction listing on TripAdvisor. The portal will provide links and information on animal welfare practices, helping travelers to write more informed reviews about their experience.
HONG KONG—Burba Hotel Network (BHN), Horwath HTL, and Stiles Capital Events, co-hosts and organizers of the annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), have announced the winners for the HICAP 2016 Sustainable Hotel Awards. The 27th annual HICAP will be held October 19 to 21, 2016 at the InterContinental Hong Kong.
PORTLAND, MAINE—For the eighth year in a row, Designtex’s Surface Imaging facility in Portland, Maine, has achieved recertification to the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership’s recognized program for sustainability in the print industry. The SGP program was established to provide third party verification of sustainability efforts and reduced environmental impact in the printing industry.
HONOLULU, HAWAII—Among the landmark decisions emerging earlier this month from the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress is a bold decision to improve standards for ecotourism worldwide. Motion 65, “Improving standards in ecotourism”, proposed by the Yale Tropical Resources Institute in collaboration with The International Ecotourism Society, Nature Seychelles, the African Wildlife Foundation, the WILD Foundation, The Wilderness Society Australia, National Parks Australia Council, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and the Moroccan Association for Ecotourism and Nature Protection, urges IUCN to renew their definition of ecotourism and address the barriers to its effectiveness as a conservation tool.
LENZING, AUSTRIA—Lenzing achieved another milestone in its innovation heritage in the textile industry by developing a TENCEL fiber based on cotton fabric waste. Lenzing is the first manufacturer worldwide to offer such cellulose fibers incorporating recycled materials on a commercial scale.
PARSIPPANY, N.J.—Wyndham Worldwide commemorated five years of sustainability leadership with a milestone tree planting ceremony through its partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, the largest environmental nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. In an outdoor ceremony including Wyndham Worldwide executives and partners from the Arbor Day Foundation, the company celebrated the fulfillment of its goal to plant one million trees and reinforced the commitment to reducing its environmental footprint by 25 percent by the year 2025. “At Wyndham Worldwide, we work every day to minimize the environmental impact of doing business,” said Faith Taylor, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Wyndham Worldwide. “Our success in planting one million trees was driven by the Wyndham Vacation Ownership team of associates and owners led by Sam Buckingham, Vice President, Resort Renovation & Design.” Wyndham Worldwide’s partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation is part of the Wyndham Green sustainability program and embodies the company’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint, preserving natural resources, and developing innovative solutions to manage climate change.
EDENTON, N.C.—Naturepedic, manufacturing organic mattresses in Ohio, has been awarded Gold Exemplary Recognition by the Sustainable Furnishings Council for its deep environmental commitment and exemplary implementation of a range of best practices for sustainability. The company completed the rigorous process of demonstrating compliance with SFC’s Exemplary Manufacturer Requirements, submitting audited evidence of achievements in operations, in production, and in outreach to attain recognition at the Gold level.