According to the International Ecotourism Society, more than two-thirds of U.S. travelers consider "active protection of the environment, including support of local communities," to be part of a hotel's responsibility, while 70% would pay a premium to stay at a hotel with "a responsible environmental attitude." With such consumer passions as their guide, luxury hotels and resorts are going green with programs and amenities that help protect the globe.
Here are examples of what the hospitality industry is doing to reduce their impact.
Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa has just become the FIRST "Green Certified" resort in Key West by the Florida Green Lodging Program, and has received "1 Palm" status. To achieve this designation, Hyatt Key West represents best management practices of water conservation, energy efficiency, and clean air. They also formed a "Green Team" and operate in compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. The hotel's new Jala Spa, part of their resort-wide redesign, was a major aspect in the hotel's certification; designed with all-natural products, the Spa donates $5 to the Reef Relief Organization with each Signature "Jala Blue" treatment purchased.
Badrutt's Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, is reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 tons per year thanks to an innovative heat pump system. The ecologically sensitive heat pump is a cooperative effort between Badrutt's Palace Hotel and Zurich's "EWZ" power station. Water from Lake St. Moritz serves as the heat source for the hotel's heat pump system as well as that of a neighboring school, but the heat pump has no negative effect on the lake's flora and fauna. With the new energy-efficient heat pump, Badrutt's Palace Hotel saves 400,000 liters of heating oil per season -- a reduction of 80% annually over the previous heating system.
South Africa intends to hold the greenest World Cup ever, and to set a precedent for future events in terms of low-environmental impact and a positive social and economic legacy. This is the aim of Green Goal 2010, a joint business plan of the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town. Green Goal 2010 will involve assuring that the World Cup's impact on the environment is minimized, permanent infrastructure for the event leaves a positive legacy, and offsetting occurs through suitable carbon-savings projects around the country.
In a city that is growing exponentially, The Grand Hyatt Dubai is committed to growing responsibly. The hotel has converted its diesel oil-fired water heating system to an eco-friendly solar paneled system to reduce its own carbon emissions. The solar panels produce up to one kilowatt of energy per hour and the plant as a whole will produce 800 to 1,000 kilowatts of energy per hour. The entire project is projected to pay for itself in three years. In addition to installing the panels, the hotel has made a concerted effort to minimize water usage and has already cut their consumption by 120,000 gallons a day.
Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, a private island off the coast of Antigua is taking strides to becoming a completely eco-friendly private island. With no cars, Jumby Bay's guests navigate the lush landscape on colorful Calloi Bicycles. Jumby Bay is also home to the Hawksbill Turtle Preservation Program, the longest-running privately funded project of this kind, focused on the scientific study of the survival and recovery of Hawksbill Turtles. In addition to the island's renowned preservation program, including solar water heating systems and water purifying for plant irrigation, Jumby Bay has a redesigned power station to minimize fuel consumption, and the recycling of bottles, cans, and golf cart batteries.
Can Mongolia, Bhutan and Tibet benefit from an ecologically based and sustainable approach to tourism? Nomadic Expeditions thinks so. The pioneering purveyor of authentic cultural travel goes out of its way to minimize the impact on the environment it explores, to promote awareness of conservation and sustainable tourism, and to provide ongoing training for guides and drivers so that trip participants can receive the latest environmental information. Through arrangements with local farmers, Nomadic Expeditions' Three Camel Lodge in the Gobi Desert (http://www.threecamellodge.com) was forged through a cooperative agreement with local authorities for sustainable development and conservation. The property utilizes renewable energy resources, including solar and wind power. http://www.nomadicexpeditions.com