Hotels, guesthouses, attractions and event venues in London, England are being invited to have their green credentials tested by independent auditors through a pilot scheme that has been enthusiastically endorsed by London Mayor, Ken Livingstone.
The London Development Agency are responsible for the scheme entitled “Green Tourism for London”, which will see hotels graded according to their environmental practices and policies. Each establishment signing up to be tested will receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze grading depending upon the results of 150 separate tests, referred to as ‘measures of sustainability’. The tests will rate how efficiently the hotel uses water, energy and gets rid of its waste, and also how environmentally friendly their purchasing procedures are.
The scheme has been launched following research by the LDA that found that 31% of individuals consider green issues when planning their holidays. That’s already almost one in three people and that percentage is expected to rise significantly in the next few years as more adopt the green agenda. Corporations that extensively use hotel accommodation are also expected to push green issues towards the top of their list when considering where to book a stay for their employees and managers.
The LDA is hoping to persuade 150 hotels to join up to the scheme over the next two years, and as an incentive is offering to pay the £60 joining fee as well as offering a 50% reduction in annual fees to the first 150 establishments to sign-up to the GTL. Annual fees range from £50 for a bed & breakfast sized establishment and up to £250 for a large business or attraction. But, only hotels that are graded members of the VisitBritain or AA rating schemes are eligible to sign up for the GTL initiative.
In addition, there will be financial benefits for hotels participating in the scheme; each hotel taking part that reaches at least bronze standard should expect to save somewhere in the region of 20% of its current energy costs. Indeed, it is the triple benefit of cost cutting, helping the environment and the receipt of an official grading that will appeal to tourists interested in green issues that London Mayor Ken Livingstone hopes will encourage hotels in London to sign up to the scheme. He said: “Consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and Green Tourism for London will enable visitors to choose the greenest possible options during their stay in the capital.”