Green Lodging News has added Puerto Rico, a Commonwealth of the United States, to its list of state, city and region types of green lodging certification programs. In addition to Puerto Rico, that list now includes 27 states, five cities and two regions. The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. actually launched its Green Lodging Program a year ago but it is just now beginning to make headway in getting properties on board. After quite a stretch of not adding a new program, it is good to see our certifications list grow again.
Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) now has three properties certified and about 15 more in the pipeline. Lodging establishments can get certified at one of three levels: Basic, Meritorious, and Exemplary.
The goal of the voluntary certification program is to improve energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote the use of lower emission vehicles, promote recycling, encourage the use of green products, encourage community participation, and promote the use of native plants.
Participation is Voluntary
According to PRTC, the Green Lodging Program is the first government sponsored program developed in and for the Caribbean. The certification guidelines are a first since they were created taking into account local, environmental, and infrastructure conditions. The program is unique in its class in that it has the support of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The Green Lodging Program has no cost for PRTC endorsed properties interested in participating,” said Luis G. Rivera Marín, executive director of PRTC. “More than a dozen properties have been evaluated and the majority of them are currently receiving guidance and technical recommendations from our Sustainable Tourism Division in order to get certified in the Basic category.”
Properties are required to complete an application and provide copies of power, water, gas and maintenance bills for the past 12 months in order to compare consumption levels before and after entering the Green Lodging Program. A certificate from the Solid Waste Management Authority acknowledging the property’s recycling program is also a requirement. Lodging establishments are inspected by the PRTC Sustainable Tourism Division in order to evaluate the property and determine the level of compliance.
Certification Valid for Two Years
If the property complies with all criteria established by the program it will receive written notification and later receive its Compliance Certificate. The Certificate is valid for two years with an annual visit by evaluators to check guideline compliance.
Participants benefit from a marketing standpoint with special mention in tourism portal seepuertorico.com, the site visited by tourists planning a trip to Puerto Rico, as well as the PRTC’s magazine, ¡Qué Pasa!
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