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|TRAVELOCITY HELPS CUSTOMERS TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY WITH GREEN DIRECTORY|
Highlights Offerings from Travel Suppliers Making Meaningful Efforts toward Sustainability
SOUTHLAKE, Texas – Jan. 22, 2008 – Travelocity has launched an eco-friendly directory to help travelers determine green from “green-washed.” In a recent Travelocity survey, 59 percent of respondents stated a “green” rating would have at least some influence in their hotel selection in 2009. The green travel directory highlights properties and destinations already offering meaningful sustainability initiatives and is a trusted resource for consumers looking for eco-friendly options in 2009.
Additionally, to help create longer-term criteria for sustainable tourism, Travelocity is also an active member of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC Partnership). Travelocity fully supports the development of the first-ever, widely-accepted sustainable tourism criteria, which offer a common framework to guide the emerging practice of sustainable tourism and to help businesses, consumers, governments and universities ensure that tourism helps, rather than harms, local communities and the environment. The GSTC Partnership will teach hotels and tour operators how to implement the criteria as well as qualify organizations as sustainable travel companies.
“Consumers deserve a cohesive certification process to help determine which travel suppliers adhere to true sustainable practices,” said Jeffrey Glueck, chief marketing officer at Travelocity. “As we work toward this ultimate goal, we’ve also designed our own eco-friendly directory to serve as a quick reference guide to customers who want to avoid ‘green-washing’ now. Customers can be confident that if they find a hotel or destination on our green pages, we believe that company is legitimately working towards long-term sustainability.”
As the GSTC Partnership criteria are fully implemented in the coming years, Travelocity plans to employ the ratings program on the site. Travelocity’s green directory, which can be accessed at www.travelocity.com/greentravel , currently features more than 200 travel suppliers ranging from widely-known hotel chains such as Vail Resorts to off-the-beaten path options such as Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Many are 100 percent carbon neutral, serve locally-grown, organic foods in their restaurants, and some have partnerships with local conservation groups and encourage guests to make individual donations, which will be matched by the hotel.
Travelocity has developed a four-tier system based around the GSTC Partnership rating system, which helps determine if a business is truly making an effort at being ecologically and culturally responsible. The properties and destinations featured in the green directory are likely to be training their staff and management about conservation, supporting the local community, working for cultural as well as environmental preservation and actively reducing their carbon footprints. Each business may not be doing all of these things, but if they are taking action in most of these areas, they rated highly enough to earn a spot in Travelocity’s directory.
The site also features Rainforest Alliance and ENERGY STAR qualified properties. Rainforest Alliance is a leader in the GSTC Partnership effort, in concert with Travelocity, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Rainforest Alliance-recommended hotels are those certified by the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas, which implements the established GSTC baseline criteria.
ENERGY STAR-rated properties are those that use 40 percent less energy than average hotels and emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide. In partnership with more than 3,000 private and public sector organizations, the government-backed program provides tools, guidance, and best practices to help improve the energy efficiency of buildings across America.
"Choosing energy efficient places to stay is another way everyone can help in the fight against global warming," Kathleen Hogan, director of EPA's Climate Protection Partnerships Division, said. "Hotels designated with EPA's ENERGY STAR contribute fewer greenhouse gas emissions than other hotels and make it easy for travelers to make a difference when they travel."
About Travelocity Global
About the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism Criteria
Additional members of the STC Partnership Steering Committee are the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), Choice Hotels, Conde Nast Traveler, Conservation International (CI), The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), ECOTRANS, Expedia, Inc., Federation of Tour Operators (FTO), HM Design, Hyatt Hotels, Instituto do Hospitalidade, International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Kenyan Ecotourism Society, Sabre/Travelocity, Solimar International , Sustainable Travel International, The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), Tourism Concern, and VISIT.