Green Living: A look at how green tourism destinations are enjoying greater recognition
Guest blog by Sam Marquit
As a formally independent commercial contractor, I have witnessed the many aspects of environmentally friendly building: from design and planning through to the coveted LEED certification process. As patrons demand more eco-friendly services, more and more, individuals are being recognized for their eco-conscious facility design. Having worked on many green building projects, I developed a comprehensive understanding of the factors involved in the process. I believe that these individuals deserve far more recognition than the simple conference of an LEED certification.
Las Vegas, Nevada is one American tourist destination, which is leading the green movement. Many local facilities—like the Las Vegas Palazzo Resort—have prioritized the meeting of LEED certification standards. In fact, this luxury hotel was recently commended as the “Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America” for its revolutionary self-sustaining elements and waste reuse programs. And with nearly 40 million visitors filling nearly 125,000 hotel rooms in the Las Vegas area alone, this critical issue should be a universal priority.
New York City is also a U.S. city at the forefront of this movement, with many hotels making a significant effort to generate less waste while increasing sustainability, thus reducing their carbon footprints. Luxury hotel ink48‘s innovative EarthCare program combines luxury with sustainability through green living amenities like organic snacks and beverage options, in-room recycling in addition to comprehensive hotel recycling program for cups, clothes hangers and batteries, eco-friendly cleaning products for rooms and linens, a towel and linen reuse program, and lighting and bathroom fixtures which reduce energy and water consumption. Additionally, ink48’s prestigious PRINT Restaurant and The Press Lounge feature sustainable local menu options, and follow the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch regarding seafood choices. For its efforts, ink48 Hotel was recently honored with the “Corporate Citizen of the Year” award as part of the HotelWorld Global Hospitality & Design Awards.
Still, there is work to be done: according to the U.S. Travel Association, while a large majority of U.S. residents have become increasingly environmentally conscious, they often lack the willingness to pay to support these initiatives.
Other countries are leading the way in promoting greater recognition of individuals and companies who are making changes to positively impact the environment. Wild Asia, a social enterprise organization in Asia, promotes change, inspires people, and engages local businesses to responsibly steward the environment. By honoring worthy individuals on their televised award show, The Wild Asia Responsible Tourism awards, Wild Asia fosters national initiatives like community involvement, cultural preservation, wildlife protection, resource conservation, and the care and keeping of natural areas and indigenous habitats. Wild Asia recognizes a broad range of organizations from restaurants serving local and sustainable meals to hotels that make ecologically sound choices.
As a commercial construction industry insider, I am heartened to see so many people working together to promote sustainable operations for their organizations. Even more so, I am honored to be able to participate in such inspiring work, and to personally play a role in creating a better future for our planet. I look forward to this continued collaborative effort as individuals and businesses increasingly commit to making decisions based on sustainability criteria.