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SAN FRANCISCO—For the eighth consecutive year, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts of the Western U.S. and Hawaii will participate in Earth Hour, a global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF,) to raise awareness about climate change. On Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. (local time) Fairmont Hotels & Resorts around the planet will participate by turning off their lights for one hour. “Earth Hour is a unique opportunity for Fairmont colleagues and guests to participate in the world’s largest global climate change initiative,” says Thomas Klein, Regional Vice-President and General Manager, Fairmont San Francisco. “Earth Hour is on its way to becoming the largest display for climate change action ever. With your help, we can get everyone to join us—invite your friends, family, and colleagues to join and take action for a healthy, thriving environment today. The annual event furthers Fairmont’s ongoing support of environmental awareness and demonstrates the hotels’ ongoing energy conservation stewardship.” In California Wine Country, guests of The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa will be swooned by the lobby fireplace and twinkling candles during Earth Hour.
TAMPA, FLA.—Hasek Communications, the Tampa, Fla.-based publisher of Green Lodging News, welcomes GreenEarth Cleaning as an advertising partner. The GreenEarth dry cleaning process uses liquid silicone in place of petrochemicals. Essentially liquified sand, silicone is non-hazardous and non-toxic to the environment. When released to the environment, it safely breaks down into the three natural elements it is made from: sand (SiO2) and trace amounts of water and carbon dioxide.
AMSTERDAM—BookDifferent has begun to publicize the carbon emission figures for 591,000 hotels. According to BookDifferent, it is the first OTA to do this. The carbon footprint of each accommodation is shown by a footprint icon containing the number of kilos CO2 emission per night stayed. Hotels with a green footprint have a low carbon footprint and are therefore a better choice than the hotels with a red one.
MIAMI—Virgin Hotels is now offering guests car service seven days a week to select areas in Chicago in a top-of-the-line red Tesla Model S, a premium electric vehicle. The new all-wheel-drive Model S P85D is not only electric; it’s also the quickest-accelerating four door vehicle ever built. For guests wishing to arrive in style, they simply need to ring the concierge and a Virgin Hotels representative will drive them to their destination.
BERLIN—More than 500 hotels and B&Bs that serve exclusively vegetarian or vegan food are now listed on the VeggieHotels web portal. VeggieHotels makes it easy to find purely vegetarian hotels, guest houses and conference centers. Over 500 accommodations in 60 countries with purely vegetarian kitchens are already listed. From the simple guest house to the five star hotel, the whole range of the hotel business is represented. More and more people are choosing the health related, ecological and ethical advantages of a vegetarian or vegan life style. Millions of vegetarian and vegan tourists constitute a significant target group and VeggieHotels offers them an easy way to find their ideal holiday destination. The criteria for a VeggieHotel are clear and simple. Neither fish nor meat is served. Many of the purely vegetarian hotels and guest houses also offer organic food and accommodate specific diets, such as vegan and raw food diets. More than 60 accommodations are purely vegan. For the first time a hotel corporation has chosen the topic “a climate-friendly, ethical and ecological diet” as the focus of their brand.
ATLANTA—The Green Meeting Industry Council has announced the dates for its annual Sustainable Meetings Conference. This year’s event, with the theme, “Power to Change,” will be held June 17 to 19 in Atlanta at The Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. Registration is currently open, with special early-bird registration pricing until March 23.
CHICAGO—United Airlines announced the launch of United Eco-Skies Vacations, a new travel program that provides United customers with vacation options that incorporate sustainability and environmental responsibility into their getaways. The airline is working with The Mark Travel Corp., exclusive tour operator for United Vacations, and long-time partner and global nonprofit organization Sustainable Travel International to launch the vacation program.
NAPLES, FLA.—Lemon Tree Inn of Naples, Florida celebrated its new landscaping by releasing thousands of ladybugs on January 17. The boutique hotel has also sprouted a new “Pollination Package”, which offers a three-night stay with two tickets to the Naples Botanical Garden and a packet of flower seeds. Lemon Tree Inn, which has a butterfly garden in its courtyard garden, releases ladybugs as needed to rid the plants of pests. The hotel will release another group of ladybugs this June in celebration of National Pollinator Week. “The butterfly garden that Hunter Reno helped us create in 2010 was exquisite,” said Sid Kalmans, owner of Lemon Tree Inn. “All the plants she selected thrived and Lemon Tree Inn’s garden became a desired destination for butterflies as well as our guests. With the new landscaping, we added bamboos, more native plants and further increased the number of plants butterflies love.” Master Gardener Hunter Reno, a mother of two, former travel journalist and supermodel, has built organic vegetable gardens for five-star restaurants and developed edible school gardens for public schools in Miami.
DANA POINT, CALIF.—The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has joined with marine life artist Wyland for “Whales, Wonders, and Wyland.” The collaboration includes an overnight experience, a display of more than 25 Wyland original paintings, limited editions, and sculptures throughout the resort, as well as an exclusive reception for guests to meet Wyland and enjoy a special multi-media retrospective of Wyland’s Whaling Wall public mural project. Wyland is also the Grand Marshal for the 2015 Festival of Whales, taking place in Dana Point the first two weekends in March. The Wonders of Wyland Reception will be held Friday, March 6, 2015. The evening will include film highlights from Wyland’s 30-year campaign to create 100 life size marine life murals in more than 12 countries around the world. Spanning the sides of skyscrapers, sports arenas, and structures, these landmark public murals have captured the imagination of millions and helped inspire a new generation to become better stewards of the environment. The evening presentation will share the story of Wyland’s epic campaign.
MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide announced Meet with Purpose, a concept designed to make it easier for meeting professionals to reduce waste and incorporate health and wellness into meetings and events. Meet with Purpose provides meeting professionals with sustainable choices to incorporate into events that not only enhance the experiences of attendees, but also align with many customers’ corporate responsibility goals. Inspired by Hilton’s corporate responsibility strategy, Travel with Purpose, Hilton gathered feedback from customers and sales Team Members to identify the most pressing sustainability issues for meetings and events. To meet these needs, Hilton created Meet with Purpose, supported by two focus areas. The first, Mindful Eating, encourages meeting professionals to reexamine event dining to minimize food waste and encourage healthy choices. Hilton offers solutions such as portion control, sourcing locally, pre-plating salads and establishing central water stations with reusable containers. • Mindful Meeting inspires meeting professionals to host more sustainable events by considering practices that are less resource-intensive. The solutions range from using paperless registration and placing notepads in a central location to turning off climate control when a meeting room isn’t in use.
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