On Earth Day, April 22, resorts and hotels are joining the rush to be “green” by doing their part to reduce waste and curb carbon footprints. At several Disney World resorts, tree plantings are planned along with awareness activities such as “Party for the Planet” at Animal Kingdom and “Green Weekend, Bugs are cool!” at Epcot. W Hotels Worldwide is introducing a program that will provide guests with free Puma bicycles and helmets to get them out of their cars. Renovations at Palm Beach’s PGA National Resort & Spa provided a timely reason to celebrate; by incorporating conservation efforts, including donating unused furniture and fixtures to Habitat for Humanity, it received the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Lodging designation.
According to a recent survey by Benchmark Hospitality International, green meetings rank number one for the Top Ten Meeting Trends of 2008. At a conference sponsored by the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) Canada in Toronto, panelist Michelle White, director of Environmental Affairs for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, said many organizations’ requests for proposals (RFPs) for business travel agreements now include questions about what the chain is doing to mitigate its carbon footprint. Meeting planners are looking to “green” their events, she said. “They are all looking at how to minimize the impacts of those meetings, and the expectation is that you will have these strategies in place because it is a key component of any venue selection.”