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ST. MICHAEL, BARBADOS—Some of the world’s most popular and appealing travel destinations are in jeopardy, vulnerable to issues like climate change and unsustainable development. Several leading organizations have joined forces to address these challenges head-on by helping tourism destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America to safeguard their natural and cultural assets, while enhancing communities and securing a vibrant regional economy. The new Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA), which was launched today (March 27) at an event in Barbados, marks the largest-scale effort to date through which public and private entities have united to focus on destination sustainability in the Americas. The Alliance includes the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, global NGO Sustainable Travel International, leading cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and the United States Government through the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States. The SDAA will offer seven destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America significant support with their sustainability efforts.
NATIONAL REPORT—Hotel companies around the world are preparing for the eighth annual Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time. Sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour has grown to involve hundreds of millions of people across 7,000 cities and 154 countries in a collective statement of concern about climate change. While many lodging establishments will be extinguishing lights for an hour and asking guests to do the same, others are using the occasion to build business—offering Earth Hour-inspired drinks, for example. MGM Resorts International will once again dim lights at its resorts. Exterior lighting, rooftop signage, marquees and front features at the company’s major Strip resorts and Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss. will be turned off during the celebration. “This event is an opportunity for us to join with others all over the world, to unite in a common mission and illustrate our commitment to the planet,” said Cindy Ortega, MGM Resorts Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer.
PORTLAND, ORE.—The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, has been named a Platinum-level “Leader in Sustainable Tourism” by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and National Geographic Traveler. The award recognizes demonstrable leadership and innovation in preserving and communicating an authentic sense of place through a wisely managed tourism campaign.
NEW YORK—On World Water Day, March 22, WHOLE WORLD Water, a social enterprise that unites the hospitality and tourism industry to collectively address one of the world’s most pressing issues, access to clean and safe water, launched a global call to action: Give the #WholeWorldWater.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Westin Hotels & Resorts announced the global launch of the Westin Well-being Movement, a $15 million brand-wide campaign designed to enhance the well-being of guests and associates around the world. The year-long initiative will introduce a string of innovative partnerships and programs across Westin’s six brand pillars: Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Work Well and Play Well. To celebrate, Westin hotels around the world will open their doors for a well-being open house, where guests, associates and consumers can experience the brand’s signature programs. For the next week nearly 200 hotels and resorts will hold wellness events and programs open to the public including scenic guided 5K runs, Heavenly Spa mini-appointments, SuperfoodsRx Juice Bars, group yoga sessions and more. The Westin Well-being Movement will launch globally with Headspace, a leading force in the field of health and well-being. This first new partnership of 2014 is aimed at helping guests “feel well.” Headspace co-founder and meditation expert, Andy Puddicombe, will lead the charge as the authority for the brand’s “Feel Well” pillar.
NEWTON, MASS.—TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, announced plans to extend its TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program into Canada and Europe for the first time, following rapid growth in the United States. Developed in consultation with the United Nations Environment Programme, the U.S. Green Building Council, Energy Star, and the International Center for Responsible Tourism Canada, the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program aims to help travelers around the world plan greener trips by highlighting hotels and B&Bs engaging in environmentally friendly practices. For the first time, hotels and B&Bs in 19 markets, including Canada, U.K., Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, are able to apply for TripAdvisor GreenLeaders status, to add to those in the United States that were already able to apply. The program that until now was offered only in the United States awards qualifying hotels and B&Bs with TripAdvisor GreenLeaders status based on the green practices the property has in place—with properties tiered between Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum awards. Each award will be shown prominently on the property’s listing on TripAdvisor.
PORTLAND, ORE.—MeetGreen, a leader in sustainable meeting and conference management, announced the release of the latest version of their Resource Kit featuring many tools and information designed for professional meeting planners and suppliers.
CHICAGO—Most travelers say they prefer to buy from or patronize green vendors and service providers when they are out of town, according to a joint survey conducted by The GO Group, LLC, an international ground transportation provider and GO Airport Express, a GO Group member company based in Chicago.
LAS VEGAS—In response to guest demand for healthy travel options, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and Delos, a pioneer of Wellness Real Estate, recently completed an expansion of the Stay Well room collection and introduced the new Stay Well Lounge, providing Stay Well guests a sanctuary for private registration and relaxation as well as an elevated level of service throughout their stay.
EDMONTON, ALBERTA—The Shaw Conference Centre (SCC) officially unveiled its new Sustainability Wall, which showcases a vertical garden by local horticulture company Greenjeans. The garden adds color and visual interest to its location on the pedway level across from Hall D. In addition to the garden, the wall highlights a number of sustainable initiatives at the SCC and throughout the City of Edmonton.
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