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DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA—The Tanzanian based Bakhresa Group has appointed Verde Hotels from South Africa to develop and manage the total overhaul and upgrading of the old Mtoni Marine Hotel in Zanzibar, 2 kilometers from Stone Town. The brand new five star property will be known as Hotel Verde, Zanzibar’s greenest hotel. “We are serious about being the leaders of the green economy sector and therefore we approached the developers of Africa’s greenest hotel, Verde Hotels, to ensure that Hotel Verde Zanzibar will be the greenest hotel in East Africa,” stated Said Salim Awadh Bakhresa, Chairman of the Bakhresa Group. Hotel Verde Zanzibar is set to take sustainable development to new heights in East Africa and become a flagship for tourism in Zanzibar and Tanzania. Bahkresa has commissioned the Verde Hotels Group to manage the development and operate the hotel as a certified sustainable establishment that offers a carbon neutral hotel experience. Verde Hotels will work with Estim Construction which has a strong reputation for project excellence in the East African region.
BETHESDA, MD.—Marriott International’s commitment to changing young people’s lives has resulted in more than 4,000 youth employed into the company’s European operations since 2015. An additional 8,000 training opportunities in the form of work experience placements and apprenticeships have been created since 2015, giving young people an invaluable step into employment.
DANBURY, CONN.—Keeping properties performing at peak efficiency is a top priority of Meyer Jabara Hotels (MJH). From the laundry facility and guestrooms to parking lots and rooftops, the East Coast hotel management company is committed to making each of its 22 hotels representing 4,000 guestrooms across 10 states energy efficient and operating green. “In today’s world, we need to manage down to the penny, and utilities are a major cost to the operation of the hotel,” said Justin Jabara, MJH VP of Development and Acquisition. “The better we can manage the consumption of energy, gas and water, the more money we can bring to the bottom line.” In July 2015, the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Danbury, Conn., owned by real estate investment company Diamond Properties and managed by MJH, installed 400 solar panels on the rooftops of two of its five buildings to generate 132,000 watts of solar electricity. Today, the 113-room hotel is significantly reducing its carbon footprint by receiving 18 percent of its annual energy from the sun.
NEW YORK—New York Convention Center Operating Corporation (NYCCOC) President and CEO Alan Steel announced the creation of a live video web stream from the Javits Center’s green roof, the second largest of its kind in the United States. The live stream, which displays a rooftop view of Manhattan’s rapidly developing West Side, will be available 24 hours a day and provide users with a unique perspective of the 6.75-acre green roof. Since its installation in 2014, the green roof has become a sanctuary for area wildlife, serving as a home for 17 bird species, five bat species and 300,000 honeybees. The green roof was constructed as a part of the Javits Center’s recent renovation, which included major upgrades to its façade, flooring, and mechanical and technology systems. The Javits Center has partnered with the New York City Audubon and other research institutions to study the impact of the green roof and other sustainability efforts. The live green roof cam can be found here: http://bit.ly/29IX99A.
NATIONAL REPORT—A new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) outlook shows that many coral reefs across around the world will likely be exposed to higher-than-normal sea temperatures for an unprecedented third year in a row, leading to increased bleaching—and with no signs of stopping. While the bleaching event is global, it will hit the United States hard, especially in Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida Keys, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The deeper reefs in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, 100 miles off the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, are also in the crosshairs. NOAA Coral Reef Watch finds there is a 90 percent chance of widespread coral bleaching in the Pacific island nations of Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia during the probable La Nina. La Nina conditions can cause high ocean temperatures in the western Pacific. NOAA is currently predicting a 75 percent chance of La Nina development this year.
AMSTERDAM—Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), a confirmed responsible business leader in the travel industry, released its fourth annual Responsible Business Report. The report shows how CWT is leading as an ethical and socially responsible company. It also highlights unique and personal stories from employees around the world, showing how they are bringing responsible business to life inside the company.
NATIONAL REPORT—A majority of travelers in the United States spend more money per trip, travel more frequently and stay longer when destinations offer sustainable practices, according to a report released by Sustainable Travel International and Mandala Research. The 2016 Role of Sustainability in Travel & Tourism report revealed compelling results, most notably that 60 percent of U.S. travelers (105.3 million) have taken a “sustainable” trip in the last three years and that these travelers are extremely valuable to the tourism industry. These travelers spend more (on average $600 per trip), stay longer (seven days compared to four days) and bring higher benefits to local communities including job creation, giving-back and volunteering. Visit California, a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with the state’s travel industry to develop marketing campaigns that drive tourism to the state, was a lead sponsor of the study. “The findings show that tourists, especially California tourists, value and intentionally seek sustainable tourism options,” said Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. “A sustainable mindset is woven into the California brand, and travelers who come here will find California’s travel industry is leading the way in sustainable practices.”
DALLAS—Just as Omni Hotels & Resorts says “goodnight” to millions of guests every year, the luxury hotel brand will now Say Goodnight to Hunger! For every stay booked directly on the brand’s website, OmniHotels.com, it will make a donation to Feeding America to provide a family of four dinner for an entire week. Donations will benefit Feeding America and local members in the 42 communities where Omni Hotels & Resorts’ 60 properties are located.
PHILADELPHIA—It was just a year ago that Hersha Hospitality Trust released its first Sustainability Report. Last month, Jay Shah, CEO of the lodging REIT, announced the release of the company’s second Sustainability Report. According to Bennett Thomas, Senior Vice President of Finance and Sustainability for Hersha, it is one of only a few lodging REITs to issue a sustainability report. “Hersha is one of the few lodging REITs that report on sustainability,” Thomas says. Hersha’s second report reflects the activities of its 55 owned hotels. Last year was another strong year for sustainability accomplishments for Hersha. For the third time in four years, EarthView was awarded NAREIT’s Lodging & Resorts Leader in the Light award for superior and sustainable portfolio-wide energy use practices and sustainability initiatives. Hersha’s performance last year is a continuation of its EarthView program that was launched in 2010. EarthView takes a triple bottom line approach to sustainable hospitality—implementing sustainable and innovative practices that benefit the environment, local and global communities, and positively impact a hotel’s financial performance.
LAS VEGAS—NRG Energy, Inc. and MGM Resorts International announced the completed expansion of the nation’s largest rooftop solar array. On the roof of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the expanded solar array has more than 26,000 photovoltaic panels and produces a combined 8.3 MW dc (6.5 MW ac) of electricity, a new national record for rooftop arrays. At full production, the system supplies 25 percent of the power demand of the entire Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino campus. It is projected that the expanded solar installation will displace approximately 8,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, the equivalent of taking more than 1,700 automobiles off the road. The electricity produced is also equivalent to the average annual usage of 1,340 U.S. homes. Since completion of the first phase in 2014, the project has helped provide pricing stability for MGM Resorts, while reducing the amount of energy drawn from the southern Nevada grid during times of peak electricity demand.