Charity and Hospitality, Two Peas in a Pod
Last month, Hilton Worldwide announced that through LightStay, its sustainability management platform, all of the company’s 3,750 plus hotel would have an automated process to give donations to charities. Hilton Worldwide also announced its partnership with the Global Soap Project. These two efforts by Hilton Worldwide are only two small examples of the many ways that the tourism industry actively participates in charitable giving. Almost every national brand and industry leader has a corporate social responsibility program in place, be it the Biltmore Company, Marriott, Vail Resorts,or the Walt Disney Company. A new twist on giving is the number of tourism-related organizations that are providing volunteer and giving opportunities to their guests and clients. Organizations like Visit Raleigh work to connect visitors to volunteer opportunities in the community. For more information on volunteer tourism, visit the Travelers’ Philanthropy. For more information on the NC GreenTravel Initiative website or recognition program contact Tom Rhodes at the N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. For more information on sustainable tourism, contact Alex Naar at (252) 737-1346.
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Coastal North Carolina businesses aren’t well-prepared for the impact an oil spill could have on their businesses, according to an East Carolina University study.
An Atlantic ocean sunset is seen off the ship’s bow. (Photo by Ben McGlaughon)
In a survey, 68 percent said they had no plan for what to do if an oil spill occurs off the coast.
Researchers analyzed data collected last year for a study funded by North Carolina Sea Grant to provide a baseline for future comparison if oil becomes present on the coast. They published their findings in June. A key factor in the state’s economy, tourism businesses and organizations seek to maintain stable income under uncertain conditions.
In the survey, 57 percent of businesses said they relied primarily or partially on tourism. Half said the presence of oil in water off the coast would affect tourism at least a little.
Most businesses felt like they could survive all but a worst-case scenario oil spill.
Opinions were mixed as to whether businesses supported or opposed drilling for oil off the N.C. coast. Risk managers, tourism authorities and businesses could use the results to address concerns if tourism businesses are affected by future oil spills or leaks. The results may also help state and local governments and industry leaders set policies and procedures to deal with such an event.
The ECU research team has researchers and graduate students from the Center for Sustainable Tourism, the English department and the sociology department. It also involved undergraduate students who conducted telephone interviews with employers and managers of tourism businesses and organizations.
NC Green Travel Initiative Program Launched The N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach has recently launched its new NC GreenTravel Initiative. The website provides a wealth of resources on such topics as recycling, energy conservation, and on green meetings as well as contact information for additional green travel technical assistance. One of the key components of the new website is the guidelines to be recognized as a sustainable tourism business by the NC GreenTravel Initiative Recognition Program, North Carolina’s first statewide sustainable travel recognition program. Similar to comparable programs in other states, to participate, applicants complete a self-administered grading form, which is then returned to , the NC GreenTravel Initiative specialist. Tourism businesses will then receive a score based on the various sustainable practices they indicate they have implemented. There is no cost for North Carolina tourism businesses to participate in the three-tiered recognition program and it is currently open to all lodging, restaurants and parks across the state. Other tourism sectors will be added as the program grows. For more information on the NC GreenTravel Initiative website or recognition program contact Tom Rhodes at the N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. For more information on sustainable tourism, contact Alex Naar at (2
When most people think of environment management, they think of the world outside of buildings. But facility managers or property engineers might say indoor environmental quality is just as important as protecting the great outdoors. In fact, indoor environmental quality is so important, it accounts for almost 15 percent of the possible points of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Existing Building certification. Indoor environmental quality can be impacted by a number of factors, including a building’s central air and ventilation system, indoor contaminants such as cleaning chemicals, mold and mildew, and cigarette smoke, and the amount of natural light. Addressing indoor environmental quality might have fewer initial cost savings compared to installing a new energy-saving lighting system, but according to one article, there are many benefits to investing in indoor environmental quality, ranging from improved staff morale and productivity to improved guest satisfaction. For more information on indoor environmental quality, visit the U.S. EPA’s indoor air quality for lodging, or contact Tom Rhodes at the N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. For more information on sustainable tourism, contact Alex Naar at (252)737-1346.
Earlier this summer, Travelocity released its list of “Cutting-Edge Green Hotels.” While it is always interesting to learn about new innovative sustainable practices being implemented, unfortunately, many of the sustainable practices mentioned in such articles are difficult to replicate. While not every hotel can have a garden on its roof or generate its own electricity, there are many sustainable practices that every hotel, restaurant or attraction can implement that lead to everyday savings. For example, replacing older exit signs with LED exit signs is an easy way to be more energy efficient that also helps reduce utility costs. Developing policies that take into account Energy Star options when any new equipment is purchased ensures that efforts to save energy are maintained at all levels of an organization. And while setting office equipment to sleep mode when not in use probably will not get a property mentioned in a national travel magazine, it will help save energy every day. For more examples of everyday, implementable sustainable practices, download any of the Center for Sustainable Tourism’s tip sheets. For more information on sustainability in tourism, contact Tom Rhodes at the N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, or Alex Naar at (252) 737-1346.
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