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ORLANDO, FLA.—A partnership of Orlando’s leading rental agency, top hotels and major attractions officially launched Drive Electric Orlando (DEO). The effort is a first-of-its-kind electric car rental initiative that gives Orlando visitors another exciting experience to add to their itinerary in the Sunshine State—driving an electric car.
LAS VEGAS—The meetings complex that includes Sands Expo and the Congress Center at The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas is the first venue in the world to achieve the advanced “level two” industry certification for environmentally sustainable meetings, events, trade shows and conferences. The certification—called Level Two Certification to the ASTM Standard—is a designation of the meeting industry’s comprehensive standards for environmentally sustainable meetings, created through a partnership of the Convention Industry Council’s APEX initiative and ASTM International. “Currently, there are only four venues in the world that are even certified at Level One,” said John Caparella, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo. “We are beyond thrilled to be a leader in the industry in being the first venue to become certified at Level Two.” The venue standard is one of nine introduced in 2012 by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry to provide event planners and suppliers with consistent specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF.—Launching throughout San Luis Obispo County, Calif., the country’s first Stewardship Travel program heralds California’s next step in eco-travel. Stewardship Travel embodies ecotourism’s qualities of appreciation for place and culture, adventure, enjoyment and learning, but takes it one step further by also providing clear opportunities to participate in regional conservation and preservation. Five years in development, the program provides curious, active, and caring travelers with a well-defined road map for fun and meaningful vacations in 10 destinations along Highway 1 of the Central California Coast including Ragged Point/San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, unincorporated Morro Bay, Los Osos/Baywood Park, Avila Beach & Valley, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Oceano and Nipomo. “Stewardship Travel helps visitors make a difference on vacation,” says San Luis Obispo’s County Business Improvement District’s Stewardship travel director and seasoned adventurer Diane Strachan, a leader in outdoor, adventure travel and environmental education for the past 35 years. “It’s about having many opportunities to care, learn, and connect deeper while on vacation. This is tourism for the 21st century.”
WATERFORD, N.Y.—Cascades Tissue Group introduced its Cascades Pink hand towels for the Away-from-Home market to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In partnership with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), Cascades aims to help make a difference for women and families affected by this disease.
NEW YORK—This year’s 98th annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) will be its greenest ever. For the first time, a section of the trade show floor—Hospitality Green—will be carved out for exhibitors offering eco-friendly products and services. Hospitality Green, presented in partnership with Green Lodging News, is one of five pavilions at this year’s IHMRS. The others include: Operations, Technology, Food & Beverage, and Tabletop. Some of the companies exhibiting in Hospitality Green this year include: Planglow, Ultra Green, Lektron, Xeros, and Verdant Technologies. In addition to Hospitality Green, five green panel discussions, also presented with the support of Green Lodging News, will be presented in the Green Room in the Hospitality Green area. This year’s IHMRS, taking place November 10 to 12 at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, co-located with the 4th annual Boutique Design New York (BDNY) trade fair, will collectively present nearly 1,100 hospitality industry suppliers and attract nearly 23,000 trade attendees.
NEWTON, MASS.—Since the official launch of TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders/GreenPartners program on Earth Day this year, the number of participants in the program has more than doubled—from 1,000 to more than 2,100. Hotels and B&Bs in the United States are currently eligible to participate. The program’s cost is certainly an attraction—it is free—and exposure of one’s green practices on a website that sees 200 million visitors a month is also a huge incentive to participate. Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel at TripAdvisor, told Green Lodging News that as fast as the program has been growing, it has the potential to be significantly larger. Only a small portion of U.S. lodging establishments on TripAdvisor have signed up so far and the program has yet to be extended outside of the United States. While Rushmore would not provide a timeline for international expansion, it is in TripAdvisor’s plans and could be as early as later this year.
PORTLAND, ORE.—GMIC in partnership with Twirl Management is launching the Certificate in Sustainable Event Planning as a 360-degree learning environment to create a new class of sustainable event practitioners. The students will be working towards the mission of creating, guiding and implementing the sustainability goals and performance outcomes of the 2014 Sustainable Meeting Conference.
OTTAWA, ONT.—The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) is now accepting entries for the 2013 Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence. In its tenth year the Hall of Fame Awards program continues the Association’s tradition of acknowledging the strong standards and values of those involved in and with the lodging industry.
NEW YORK—Fifty percent of global consumers surveyed are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, an increase of five points (45 percent) from 2011, according to a new study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Willingness to spend more with socially responsible companies increased in 74 percent of the countries Nielsen measured. The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility surveyed more than 29,000 Internet respondents* in 58 countries. The percentage of consumers willing to pay more increased among both males and females and across all age groups, with respondents under age 30 most likely to say they would spend more for goods and services from companies that give back. Among consumers ages 40 to 44, 50 percent agreed they would pay more, up from 38 percent two years ago.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown will hold its fourth annual Sustainability Fair (formerly Green Fair) on Friday, August 16h from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the hotel’s Colonnade Room. The event will showcases the eco, health and safety efforts of many D.C.-based organizations as well as the hotel’s own sustainability program.
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