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TROY, N.Y.—Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program has partnered with hotel booking website Bookdifferent.com to encourage travelers to stay in hotels that are certified by eco-labels as having environmentally friendly practices. The Netherlands-based not-for-profit booking site is the first in the world to indicate which hotels have obtained certification.
LOS ANGELES—GLP Films (GLP), a hybrid film production and marketing company, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), a leader in establishing and managing standards for sustainable tourism, have formalized a strategic partnership to showcase GSTC destinations at the forefront of sustainable development through a new storytelling initiative. GLP Films will produce compelling new film content celebrating GSTC destinations, with the aim to share these stories with the global travel community to promote sustainable destination development.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Westin Hotels & Resorts unveiled the next stage of its year-long Westin Well-Being Movement with the announcement of two new nutrition-focused partnerships with SuperChefs and The Juicery and the newest member of the brand’s Well-Being Council, dietician Ashley Koff RD.
LONDON—TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website, announced the launch of the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program in Europe to help travelers around the world plan greener trips by highlighting hotels and B&Bs engaging in environmentally-friendly practices. More than 6,000 properties around the world have so far been awarded TripAdvisor GreenLeader status. Developed in consultation with the Carbon Trust, the UK Green Building Council, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Tourism Partnership, qualifying hotels and B&Bs are awarded TripAdvisor GreenLeaders status based on the green practices the property has in place. A TripAdvisor survey has revealed that there is a demand for more green choices with more than a quarter (26 percent) of European travelers* actively making eco-friendly travel choices in the last 12 months, and a third (33 percent) planning to do so in the next 12 months. The surveyed also revealed that nearly one in ten European travelers (9 percent) say they have chosen to stay at a particular hotel because of their green policies.
SAN FRANCISCO—Airbnb, a leading community-driven hospitality company, released a new study quantifying the environmental benefits of home sharing for travelers. Conducted by Cleantech Group (CTG), this study finds that Airbnb promotes a more efficient use of existing resources and is an environmentally sustainable way to travel. Traveling on Airbnb results in significant reduction in energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste, and encourages more sustainable practices among both hosts and guests. “Resource sharing is rapidly growing across a number of sectors including hospitality, consumer goods, and transportation,” said Michael Ellis, EVP Advisory for CTG. “Cleantech Group’s initial analysis demonstrates some of the improvements in environmental resource efficiency that Airbnb’s platform delivers.” “We have always believed that the Airbnb community supports environmental sustainability around the world, and it’s truly amazing to see that the impact is even bigger than we could have imagined,” said Joe Gebbia, Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Airbnb.
ITHACA, N.Y.—A new study from Cornell University has found that hotels gain a revenue benefit when they are certified under the LEED sustainable building program. By comparing LEED certified hotels with a competitive set of non-certified hotels, the study found substantial increases in average daily rates and revenue per available room for the LEED hotels. The study, “The Impact of LEED Certification on Hotel Performance,” by Matthew Walsman, Rohit Verma, and Suresh Muthulingam, is available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the School of Hotel Administration. “The hotel industry has embraced environmental sustainability and several hotels have registered for or earned ‘green’ certification under the LEED program,” said Verma, who is the Singapore Tourism Board Distinguished Professor at the School of Hotel Administration. “But LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is really aimed at controlling costs by limiting resource use. So, the question was whether there also is a revenue benefit from LEED. We found that the answer is, absolutely yes.”
PORTLAND, ORE.—The Oregon Convention Center (OCC) has been certified to the highest level of a new international sustainability standard. OCC achieved Level Four certification for the ASTM Standard pertaining to the evaluation and selection of venues for environmentally sustainable meetings, events, trade shows and conferences. The venue standard is one of nine standards introduced by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry in 2012 to provide event planners and suppliers with specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner. Scott Cruickshank, Executive Director of the OCC, commented, “We are proud and excited to be the first convention center to attain Level Four of the ASTM Venue certification. Certification to the industry’s global standard at its highest level is further evidence of OCC’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.” Earlier this year, the Convention Center earned LEED Platinum re-certification as an existing building and, in 2013, it was re-designated a Salmon Safe facility based upon its design and use of storm water runoff.
SANTA MONICA, CALIF.—ESSIO has announced the expansion of its Spa Partnership Program by adding several leading spa accounts from across the country, including Burke Williams Day Spas in California, The Mandarin Oriental in Miami and Mokara Spa at the Omni Houston Hotel. ESSIO’s unique aromatherapy system infuses the shower water with USDA-certified organic essential oils.
OTTAWA, ON.—Green Key Global (GKG), in partnership with MPI Foundation Canada, announces the release of version 2.0 of the Green Key Meetings Program, a comprehensive environmental assessment tool for facilities, both lodging and non-lodging, that host meetings of any scale. Developed with the assistance of senior meeting planner professionals, the Program has been updated to ensure incorporation of current meeting practice elements as well as to complement the well-known APEX/ASTM Green Meetings Standards.
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.
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