Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

The Many Sides of Enviro-Conscious Travel Attracting eco-savvy guests can increase a hotel’s business.

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The Many Sides of Enviro-Conscious Travel

Attracting eco-savvy guests can increase a hotel’s business.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amy Carniol

Ecotourism. Nature Tourism. Green Travel. Sustainable Tourism. Responsible Travel. Today, these buzz-terms are on many guests’ lips, and often they are used interchangeably – and incorrectly. When hoteliers lump these movements together, they can miss out on opportunities to attract a more diverse and abundant customer base.

Many hoteliers have adopted some green practices, such as starting recycling programs or supplying fresh air to guests with open windows rather than using air conditioning. But moving to more involved steps and tying them together into a marketing program is a logical next step.

To help define these individual movements, Buyer Interactive spoke with Irene Lane, founder and president of Greenloons, which provides enviro-conscious consumers and vacation planners with information on earth-friendly travel. Here, Lane discusses eco-friendly travel, ways to attract eco-savvy guests, and how understanding the nuances of these customer segments can help hoteliers increase their business.

Why is eco-friendly travel important in the hotel industry?

Specific to hoteliers, eco-friendly travel demand is growing at a rapid pace and can no longer be ignored. Worldwide, the green travel segment is estimated to be growing 5 percent annually, representing 6 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and reflecting 11.4 percent of all consumer vacation spending. Moreover, more than two-thirds of U.S. and Australian travellers, and 90 percent of British tourists, consider active participation in the protection of the environment and support of local economies to be part of a hotel, lodge or tour operator’s responsibility. According to TripAdvisor’s 2011 Travel Trends survey, 47 percent of vacation planners take eco-friendly factors, such as their own carbon footprint or green hotel policies, into consideration when deciding on a vacation destination or activity, and 20 percent are expected to be more environmentally conscious in their travel choices overall. Travelzoo found also that more than 90 percent of travelers prefer to stay at an eco-certified hotel if price and amenities are comparable to a non-certified hotel. Even AAA has added an “eco” icon to its tour books.

Can you discuss the differences between Ecotourism, Sustainable Tourism, Responsible Tourism, Nature Tourism and Green Tourism?

Ecotourism is about supporting the conservation of natural areas and wildlife, minimizing air and water pollution as well as tourist waste, offering safe and enriching or educational visitor experiences, respecting the cultural tradition of the host destination, maintaining and enhancing the landscape so as to avoid physical or environmental degradation, maximizing opportunities for local prosperity for the host destination, and efficiently using scarce or non-renewable resources. Most of all, it’s about having fun and unique vacation experiences.

Sustainable Tourism does not deplete resources and allows for a smaller number of tourists to experience nature so as not to disturb the animal’s normal mating, feeding, or migratory patterns. It differs from ecotourism in that there may be no focus on the preservation of the natural habitat or economic benefit to the host destination.

Responsible Tourism attempts to minimize the environmental degradation of the host destination. An example is a wilderness camping trip using Leave No Trace ethics. Unlike ecotourism, responsible tourism might not take into account the economic benefit to the host destination.

Nature Tourism focuses on enjoying wildlife in its natural habitat. Examples include jungle lodgings in the Amazon or cruise ships that view penguins in Antarctica. The difference between ecotourism and nature tourism is that nature tourism trips may not have an educational component to them, may not be environmentally sustainable or responsible, and may not economically benefit the host destination.

Green Tourism applies to any activity or facility that operates in an environmentally friendly way. Examples include a rainforest lodge with composting toilets and solar powered lighting. These lodges may be centrally controlled by a large corporation and therefore not necessarily benefit the host destination nor focus on conservation education or the preservation of wildlife.

Why is it important for hoteliers to understand the distinctions between these terms?

So as not to add to the confusion consumers already have about the eco-travel industry. Hoteliers should understand the distinctions so that they can determine how they may want to market themselves and how to expand their service or concierge offerings to this growing market.

What are some more involved measures that hotels can take to appeal to this segment?

Although implementation of these measures require more planning, the following eco-friendly methods are quickly becoming stringent criteria for eco-hotel certification programs:

● stemming of common allergens
● using alternative or renewable energy sources (i.e. solar power for all hot water needs)
● conserving energy with light timers in all hallways
● managing composting programs
● using non-disposable and durable service items
● offering organic, locally harvested food in dining outlets
● educating guests about the hotel’s green practices (and green membership programs)
● using xeric gardening methods
● supporting a local conservation or educational effort in a meaningful way

What is the one key takeaway that you can give hoteliers who want to increase their appeal to eco-savvy travelers?

There is a business value in investing in defined resource conservation practices with respect to energy and water use, waste disposal, and environmental protection. The good news as well is that there are some reputable green hotel certification programs, including the Green Key Eco-Rating, Green Globe and LEED Building programs, which allow for an occasional inspection of a hotel’s sustainable operations in over 20 different areas.

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Nebraska Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop Resources Available Online

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Karen Kollars at 800-228-4307, 308-249-3220, or

Tom Tabor at 800-228-4307, 402-471-7755, or



Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop Resources Available Online

LINCOLN, NEB. (April 5, 2011) —The recent 2011 Governor’s Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop offered participants fresh marketing ideas, new industry knowledge, insight on financial opportunities, networking opportunities and suggestions on how to get the most out of your land.


Several workshop participants were willing to share handouts and Power Point presentations, which the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel & Tourism Division has made available online.


Links to the resources can be found at


Information is available online from the following sessions:


  • Changing Lens’, Changing Focus
  • Pass the Binoculars
  • I’ve Seen the Birds, So Now What Can I Do?
  • Connecting with the Media
  • How to Do Your Own Feasibility Study
  • What Flew and What Flopped
  • The Economics of Conservation


The industry section of the VisitNebraska site ( also offers tourism professionals valuable information about the state, tourism events, important contacts, and much more.

Red Cloud, Ord and Ogallala to Host Tourism Workshops

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Want to learn more about one of the fastest growing segments of the world’s largest business? If so, take the opportunity to attend one of the Watchable Wildlife/Nature Tourism Workshops coming to an area near you. Jim Mallman of Watchable Wildlife Inc. will be hosting several workshops to share insights into how entrepreneurs, outfitters, businesses, individuals, and municipalities can build sustainable nature-based tourism programs. Workshops will be held in:

* Red Cloud on May 18
* Ord on May 19
* Ogallala on May 20

“I am really excited about the three workshops we have scheduled for Nebraska. This offers Watchable Wildlife Inc. the opportunity to demonstrate the real power potential of Wildlife/Nature Tourism,” Jim says. “There are certainly benefits to be gained in any community by implementing a Wildlife/Nature Tourism Program. However our key interest is to work with communities where tourism is not the first thing they think of when wrestling with the challenges of promoting economic development. We hope to provide regional planners, business owners and residents with some ideas on how this can be done while preserving and enhancing the area’s natural treasures, historical sites and quality of life.” Jim hopes “to see you at one of these three workshops and have the opportunity to learn more about the real ‘Heartland’ of our country.”
The Workshops will begin at 8:30am and will run until 4:00pm with lunch and refreshments included. Fee is $25. Be sure to register before May 10th. After this date, the registration fee increases to $40.
For registration forms, please visit the Nebraska Development Network—Central Region website at, or if you have any questions, please contact Sharon or Jodi at (308) 995-3190.
The workshops are sponsored by the Nebraska Development Network – Central Region. This network is comprised of numerous local, regional and state economic and community development organizations. Several federal agencies such as USDA Rural Development and NRCS – Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Councils also provide assistance to Network projects.

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