Renaissance Vancouver

The Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside recently announced that it has received a 4 Green Key™ Rating from the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). This rating certifies notable eco-friendly initiatives undertaken by various hotels.

The HAC Green Key Eco-Rating Program is unique in that it is administered entirely on-line. The audit consists of five sections: Corporate Environmental Management, Housekeeping, Food & Beverage Operations, Conference & Meeting Facilities and Engineering. The 4 Green Key Rating denotes a hotel that has shown national industry leadership and commitment to protecting the environment through wide ranging policies and practices. The downtown Vancouver, Canada hotel received a four out of five Green Key™ rating.

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DeNiro and Green Hotels

Plans call for a 62 story glass tower housing 77 condos and 128 hotel rooms (mini-bars stocked with green tea and sake!), with the condo units located on the forty-first floor thru penthouse levels.

The eco-friendly building will include a health club with spa, indoor pool, and an outdoor sun terrace which will be available to both residents and hotel guests. Additionally, the Japanese themed condo-hotel and spa complex will house a Nobu restaurant which will provide room service for guests and residents.

The project will be the second in the chain, and is scheduled to open within the next three years at 45 Broad Street; the first will open this summer in Herzliya along the Mediterranean. Since there is little information currently available on this project we’ll be sure to let you know the moment the dedicated website launches.

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Green Rush

I was speaking with someone last week who said she was “sick of hearing about going green.” I can sympathize — not a day goes by that I don’t hear about a new green show, an existing show that’s launching a green pavilion, hotels adopting green practices, booths that are eco-friendly, suppliers enhancing their recycling efforts or convention centers reducing their carbon footprints. But in all honesty, I think this is more than just a trend. I think green is going to be a new way of life. I also think, in our industry, we’ve only just begun. (In fact, most of you haven’t yet begun.)

As consumer demand for green goods and practices increases, more corporations will institute green policies. And you can bet these green mandates will trickle down to the trade show and event departments. A recent study by Event Marketer (EXPO’s sister publication covering the corporate event industry) indicated that 41 percent of event marketers will be implementing green initiatives within the event function in the next 12 months. (Fifty-nine percent said they’ll do so as a result of corporate responsibility mandates.) What will you say when your exhibitors ask to see your sustainability statement?

Governmental regulation won’t be far behind either. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified the trade show and convention industry as the second most wasteful in the United States. The problem, of course, will be confusion in the marketplace. There are no standards for what’s “green.” What’s green in one state will no doubt be different from the next.

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orbitz and expedia

Expedia Go Green

Expedia’s new Go Green landing page says, “We believe that travel is the best way to bridge boundaries, broaden perspectives, and increase our understanding of the world around us – but we also know that a destination’s popularity can put it at risk.”

“Expedia is committed to creating sustainable travel initiatives that address environmental and social concerns – and that are easy to use. You can make a big difference in the places you visit with just a few small steps. Carbon offsetting and green hotels are just the beginning…”

Genuinely Green or is it All Just Greenwash?

Expedia offer tips for responsible travel and advice on how travellers can reduce their carbon footprint but their choice of green hotels is dubious, to say the least. While their statement says the criteria used for inclusion on to the green hotels list must comply with existing certification programs that best match the Global Baseline for Sustainable Tourism Criteria, most of the hotels on the list fail to offer any details of their eco credentials.

I checked out the very first option on the list, The Langham Hotel in Melbourne, which I happen to know. It is a sumptuously luxurious hotel but doesn’t have a green bone in its body, or should I say a green brick in its building; even The Langham’s own website fails to list a single green credential, so how has it attained sustainable listing? I then checked a number of other hotels on the list and while half of them are eco-friendly in some way the rest aren’t.

When I book a hotel I want to know exactly what they do environmentally-wise and would expect Expedia to pay more attention to the details if they are to be taken seriously in ecotourism circles.

Expedia do however state that “this is just the beginning.” Well, I hope so because at the minute the whole thing reeks of greenwash.

Orbitz Eco-tourism

Orbitz’s ecotourism section features hotels within America only so it’s impossible to review their system as thoroughly as I’m not as familiar with their hotels.

Their eco-friendly hotel criteria is listed prominently on the main ecotourism page so offers potential travellers more of an insight into what the ratings are based on. Not every hotel fitted all the criteria and some fitted only one which again raised suspicion; how can a hotel be classed as eco-friendly just because it uses energy-saving light bulbs? If that’s all a hotel needs to qualify then realistically nearly every hotel in the world would could be called eco-friendly.

Orbitz Eco-Friendly Hotel Criteria

* Use a natural source of energy (wind, water, solar, bio-fuel)
* Use environmentally-friendly and safe products (detergents for linens, soaps, shampoos, etc.)
* Contribute $$ from each hotel reservation to an environmental organization
* Use of energy conserving devices (ie. eco-friendly light fixtures/bulbs triggered by motion detectors, water-saving devices, water filtration systems and air filtration/purifiers)
* Earned the ENERGY STAR® – a national mark of excellence in energy efficiency and carbon performance. To qualify for the Energy Star rating buildings have to demonstrate they use nearly 40 percent less energy than average buildings and emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, offering a significantly smaller carbon footprint.


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According to the International Ecotourism Society, more than two-thirds of U.S. travelers consider "active protection of the environment, including support of local communities," to be part of a hotel's responsibility, while 70% would pay a premium to stay at a hotel with "a responsible environmental attitude." With such consumer passions as their guide, luxury hotels and resorts are going green with programs and amenities that help protect the globe.

Here are examples of what the hospitality industry is doing to reduce their impact.

Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa has just become the FIRST "Green Certified" resort in Key West by the Florida Green Lodging Program, and has received "1 Palm" status. To achieve this designation, Hyatt Key West represents best management practices of water conservation, energy efficiency, and clean air. They also formed a "Green Team" and operate in compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. The hotel's new Jala Spa, part of their resort-wide redesign, was a major aspect in the hotel's certification; designed with all-natural products, the Spa donates $5 to the Reef Relief Organization with each Signature "Jala Blue" treatment purchased.

Badrutt's Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, is reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 tons per year thanks to an innovative heat pump system. The ecologically sensitive heat pump is a cooperative effort between Badrutt's Palace Hotel and Zurich's "EWZ" power station. Water from Lake St. Moritz serves as the heat source for the hotel's heat pump system as well as that of a neighboring school, but the heat pump has no negative effect on the lake's flora and fauna. With the new energy-efficient heat pump, Badrutt's Palace Hotel saves 400,000 liters of heating oil per season -- a reduction of 80% annually over the previous heating system.

South Africa intends to hold the greenest World Cup ever, and to set a precedent for future events in terms of low-environmental impact and a positive social and economic legacy. This is the aim of Green Goal 2010, a joint business plan of the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town. Green Goal 2010 will involve assuring that the World Cup's impact on the environment is minimized, permanent infrastructure for the event leaves a positive legacy, and offsetting occurs through suitable carbon-savings projects around the country.

In a city that is growing exponentially, The Grand Hyatt Dubai is committed to growing responsibly. The hotel has converted its diesel oil-fired water heating system to an eco-friendly solar paneled system to reduce its own carbon emissions. The solar panels produce up to one kilowatt of energy per hour and the plant as a whole will produce 800 to 1,000 kilowatts of energy per hour. The entire project is projected to pay for itself in three years. In addition to installing the panels, the hotel has made a concerted effort to minimize water usage and has already cut their consumption by 120,000 gallons a day.

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, a private island off the coast of Antigua is taking strides to becoming a completely eco-friendly private island. With no cars, Jumby Bay's guests navigate the lush landscape on colorful Calloi Bicycles. Jumby Bay is also home to the Hawksbill Turtle Preservation Program, the longest-running privately funded project of this kind, focused on the scientific study of the survival and recovery of Hawksbill Turtles. In addition to the island's renowned preservation program, including solar water heating systems and water purifying for plant irrigation, Jumby Bay has a redesigned power station to minimize fuel consumption, and the recycling of bottles, cans, and golf cart batteries.

Can Mongolia, Bhutan and Tibet benefit from an ecologically based and sustainable approach to tourism? Nomadic Expeditions thinks so. The pioneering purveyor of authentic cultural travel goes out of its way to minimize the impact on the environment it explores, to promote awareness of conservation and sustainable tourism, and to provide ongoing training for guides and drivers so that trip participants can receive the latest environmental information. Through arrangements with local farmers, Nomadic Expeditions' Three Camel Lodge in the Gobi Desert (http://www.threecamellodge.com) was forged through a cooperative agreement with local authorities for sustainable development and conservation. The property utilizes renewable energy resources, including solar and wind power. http://www.nomadicexpeditions.com