Posts Tagged ‘green’

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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Responsible Travel Report– The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Responsible Travel Report
The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter

Dear Fellow Traveler,

Let’s face it, most travel providers genuinely want to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, but the vast majority are confused about how to start. They are bombarded with conflicting messages about what ‘green’ means and an overload of confusing information about how to ‘be green’.

The good news is that sustainability is a journey, not a destination, and it has never been easier to start that journey than it is right now. That’s because STI has just launched our new Partner Program, an affordable, easy-to-use suite of tools and services to help travel providers of all shapes and sizes embark upon the road to running more sustainable and more profitable businesses right away.

Better still, the new Partner Program provides the tools companies need to market themselves to the rapidly growing legion of travelers who truly care about sustainability.

To learn more about the Partner Program and other exciting developments at STI just scroll down and keep reading. Enjoy!

Safe and happy travels,

Matt Kareus
Director of Sales and Marketing

Responsible Travel Report

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Responsible Travel Report
The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter

A Message From STI

Dear Fellow Traveler,

You shop for food, clothes, cars, energy, and maybe even your job with a conscience, but how about your travel? If you’re planning summer travel, how does sustainability factor in to your booking decisions?

More travelers than ever are making choices based on how green their travel provider is. From flights to hotels to overland excursions, consumers care about the impacts of their vacations. With so many options out there to reduce these impacts—choosing certified hotels and resorts, supporting local providers, artisans and communities, etc.—the question today might be more along the lines of “How on Earth do you ever choose?”

It wasn’t so long ago that green travel options were few and far between. STI is proud to be on the forefront of the responsible travel movement. To say that it is rewarding to see the distance covered, the gaps bridged and the ground gained would be an understatement; there are so many achievements that have exceeded everyone’s expectations. To say that we’ve arrived to a point where we can feel totally sure our work here is done—well, that won’t do either, because we still have a ways to go.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing some landmark achievements, and the honor of reporting them to you as STI’s Director of Communications and Editor. From forming partnerships with major airlines, cruise lines, hotel and rental car chains, working to reduce carbon emissions and provide options for consumers to offset the unavoidable impacts of their travel, to the first Eco-certified luxury hotels through our Luxury Eco-Certification Standard (LECS), I consider myself lucky to have seen what a difference a relatively small group of dedicated people can do to affect change. Add the galvanizing power of Social Media to the equation, and we’ve got a force to be reckoned with.

That said, it’s bittersweet to report that this will be my last issue as Editor of the Responsible Travel Report. I am passing the torch to Matt Kareus, whose talents I admire, and who will keep you informed and inspire you to continue to make sustainable travel history. I’ll be joining you, on the other side, as a tour operator, and once again, as a fellow traveler as my new venture unfolds.

A warm welcome to Matt, and with it, he and I jointly bring you this June issue of the Responsible Travel Report. Read on to learn how to join our FREE Tourism Certification Webinar, do your part to save the Serengeti, and see how luxury hotels are joining the ranks of green travel crusaders.

Happy reading, and a heartfelt farewell,

Val Vanderpool, Editor


Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Great article here on sustainability in nature, agriculture, culture, etc…

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