By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
The multi-edged issues facing the travel industry as it moves toward becoming more green are not hard to envision. First, there’s that sticky matter of getting there – by jet? by car?
There’s a certain built-in, un-green aspect at the core of tourism.
But that said, there are many ways travelers can be less consumptive and more supportive of eco-friendly practices. They can stay at conservation-minded hotels; places that don’t wash your sheets automatically every day; that serve local food and arrange low-impact tours for guests.
Online travel company Travelocity has taken its first steps toward helping consumers find and patronize greener destinations by launching an eco-friendly directory. The Green Directory aims to help travelers sort the green from the “green washed,” and so far features more than 200 hotels and resorts many of which already claim to be carbon neutral, according to the company.
Destinations in the directory include hotels around the world, in Mumbai, Osaka, Calgary, Ottawa, Edinburgh, Geneva, New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Orlando, Montego Bay, Acalpulco and St. Johns. Brand name hotels on the list include Doubletree, Disney, Fairmont, Hyatt, Kimpton and Sheraton.
Not surprisingly, California lodgings are well represented with more than 25 listed hotels spread from San Diego to San Francisco. Orlando turns out to be a green hot spot, also with more than 25 hospitality locales in The Green Directory, including several Disney properties.
It turns out that hotels in U.S. states that have strict green certification programs were ahead of the game because they’d already taken many steps to qualify for their state programs, said Natasha Carvell, director of Travelocity’s Travel For Good program.
In addition to using existing state programs, Travelocity relied on reports from its field managers to develop the list of eco-hotels.
“We’ve asked them, because they’ve been to these hotels, to try to figure out which hotels are walking the talk. They’ve helped us sort out a long list,” Carvell said.