Looking for Ways to Green Your Travel Business?

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As we continue to see climbing rates of travelers in the US and beyond, there is a new factor in how some travelers are making trip decisions. In a term coined the “conscious comeback” Virtuoso found in a survey that 82% of respondents are interested in traveling more responsibly when they get back out there1.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stands as a beacon along the Outer Banks. The sun is lined up perfectly with the lighthouse.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stands as a beacon along the Outer Banks.

For North Carolina businesses and attractions looking to make sure they are on trend to welcome travelers, several helpful resources for business are available. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has one of the most robust resources available for travel businesses with its NC GreenTravel Initiative2. It offers the opportunity for recognition for varying of partners already offering green options as well as resources for incorporating more sustainable practices. Best of all the options offered are all free of cost for interested parties. NC GreenTravel is also active on social media celebrating registered GreenTravel businesses as well as promoting educational resources of green techniques for various travel businesses. If you are a park, festival, welcome center, nature-based business, winery, museum, aquarium, zoo, agritourism site, public garden, brewery, distillery lodging, or dining business interested in being certified through the NC GreenTravel Initiative, visit their website2 to learn more. Or if you have specific questions, they are very helpful and quick with responses.

A detail shot of a leafy green plant in the court of North Carolina. photo by Marc Hall

A detail shot of a leafy green plant in the court of North Carolina. photo by Marc Hall

Another way to learn about the NC Green Travel program is to participate in East Carolina University’s Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering a virtual seminar entitled “Sustainable Travel and Hospitality: Greening the NC Tourism Industry” that is currently being planned. Keynote speakers include Tom Rhodes, NC GreenTravel Initiative, Dr. Emily Yeager, ECU, Dean Quadir, Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant, and Bryn Nicholson, The Umstead Hotel & Spa. Yeager will discuss her research and work with sustainable businesses and Quadir and Nicholson will discuss how they each build sustainability into their business plans. We will update with more information when dates and details are confirmed and you can email here3 with any questions.

NC State University compost volunteer Lynn Odom puts pizza boxes in the proper composting bins during halftime of the Wolfpack football game against Clemson University in Raleigh, NC.

NC State University compost volunteer Lynn Odom (right) puts pizza boxes in the proper composting bins during halftime of the Wolfpack football game against Clemson University in Raleigh, NC. NC State photo by Roger Winstead

For all businesses, The Travel Foundation3 has several resources outlining the necessary components of a sustainable destination and sustainable travel including a Guide to Sustainable Practices for Tourism Businesses4. Hotels and lodging businesses can follow Green Lodging News5 which provides information on new products, technologies and tools that can assist in incorporating more sustainable options. Additional resources for hotels looking to add sustainability certifications can be found at the US Environmental Protection Agency website6. The Future of Tourism is also hosting a Reset Tourism Webinar series7 focused on destination stewardship, managing tourism impacts, and accessing more sustainable supply chains.

Citations:

1Luxury Travel Advisors

2NC Green Travel Initiative

3Registering for the ECU Greening the North Carolina Tourism Industry Workshop: cpe@ecu.edu

4The Travel Foundation

5Sustainable Practices Guide

6Green Lodging News

7US EPA Green Hotels – Resources, Ecolabels, and Standards

8Reset Tourism Webinar Series