Honoring Earth Day: How to Celebrate (and Travel) Responsibly

Earth Day Photo Credit: Kardd / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Photo by Kardd/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Today, April 22, is Earth Day. Travel can put a huge strain on the environment, so it’s important to consider eco-friendly options. Fortunately, “sustainability” has become more than just a buzzword across the industry, and it appears to be a real guiding force for the way brands operate their business. Here are several companies who are upping their game for Earth Day.

Preferred Gives Back for Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day, eco-conscious travelers can now give back while saving up to 30 percent on independent hotel stays booked with Preferred Hotels & Resorts as part of the brand’s GIFTTS program (Great Initiatives for Today’s [Tomorrow’s] Society) global partnership with non-profit organization Wine to Water. 

Preferred Hotels & Resorts will donate $25 to Wine to Water for every booking made April 22 – 29 using the Preferred Advance Purchase Rate for travel through March 31, 2020, supporting the organization’s mission to bring clean water to those desperately in need around the world. The offer is available for bookings at more than 360 participating hotels worldwide. 

Luxury Travel Advisor’s ULTRA Summit

May 21-23, 2019 | Reunion | Kissimmee, FL

This exclusive, invite-only event focused on the luxury travel market brings together world-class travel agency owners and managers with the most opulent, luxury suppliers to cultivate collaboration, share insights, and help carve a path into the future of luxury travel.

Founded by Doc Hendley, Wine To Water is committed to ending the Global Water Crisis in places such as Nepal, Tanzania, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

Stay Plastic Free with The Edition

In 2018, Edition Hotels began its “Stay Plastic Free” initiative, in partnership with Lonely Whale and Project Zero, in which the company set its sight on becoming totally plastic-free. In addition to plastic reductions throughout its properties, EDITION is leading a campaign committee of influential hoteliers—which VP of brand experiences Ben Pundole hopes will include the likes of Design Hotels, Soho House, and Chiltern Firehouse—to look at industry-wide solutions to the plastic problem.

For 2019 the brand has confirmed a new partnership with Hunter Amenities, which will see the initiative evolve. Hunter Amenities are market leaders in the use of stone paper; a tree-free paper, made from powdered limestone to provide a sustainable alternative to paper and plastics. EDITION has worked together with Hunter Amenities to create new stone paper packaging for its bathroom amenities range to further reduce its environmental footprint. EDITION look forward to sharing further updates on the progress of Stay Plastic Free in the coming months.

The DOUGLAS Challenges Guests to Conserve Together

In support of Earth Day, the DOUGLAS, Autograph Collection is challenging guests to take advantage of "Conserve Together," an initiative that incorporates sustainability into overnight stays to support the repopulation of Canadian forests.

"Conserve Together" promotes waste reduction by challenging guests to opt out of daily housekeeping service for two consecutive days. For each non-housekeeping day, guests are rewarded with 500 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points or a tree planted on their behalf; on every third day, the guest's room is serviced and/or a wellness check is performed. The option is open to all visitors regardless of rate plan or booking method; guests must stay a minimum of two nights to take advantage of the offer.

On Earth Day, the DOUGLAS staff will encourage every visitor not only to participate in "Conserve Together" but also to choose tree planting over bonus Marriott Bonvoy points. For every guest who selects the former, the hotel promises to double the number of trees planted. To further personalize the initiative, guests are invited to dedicate their tree to someone special (or to themselves). The dedication will appear on an interactive map depicting a cartoon forest with labels pointing to each guest's tree.

"Conserve Together" trees are planted in the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area near Calgary, Alberta by Carbon Farmer, a partner of the DOUGLAS working to repopulate Canadian forests. As of April 1, the DOUGLAS and Carbon Farmer have planted 1,114 trees, creating 4,554 square meters of new forest.

Trafalgar Debuts New Advisor Tools to Encourage Sustainable Travel

Leading up to the 49th Earth Day, Trafalgar will encourage the travel community as a whole to work towards a sustainable future while educating around JoinTrafalgar’s three pillars of helping people, preserving places and wildlife, and caring for the planet. To raise awareness in the trade community, Trafalgar is organizing an action and awareness campaign alongside longstanding brand partners including Craig Kielburger, co-founder of charity ME to WE, releasing weekly content aimed at inspiring agent partners with easy, actionable tips to pique their interest on how to live and travel more sustainably. 

In addition, as part of this holistic approach to Earth Month, and in keeping with its AgentsFirst philosophy, Trafalgar will also release an Advisor’s Guide to Making a Difference on Earth Day. This easy-to-follow guide is full of simple tips and small changes travel advisors and other customer-facing members of the industry can make that can have a big impact. By educating on the fundamentals of sustainable tourism, it aims to empower advisors to act as ambassadors of responsible travel to their customers. 

However, the brand’s commitment to responsible travel goes far beyond the month of April.  Examples of making a difference include the company banning single-use plastics (SUPs) in offices worldwide and the journey to be SUP-free on all Trafalgar trips by 2022. In addition, in just over a year, thanks to the support of Trafalgar’s agent partners, the company reforested 150 acres of devastated forest land in Northern California and Tanzania through its e-documentation solution, planting one tree for each guest that travels paper free.

The Bushcamp Company Commits to Clean Water

Comprising a small collection of luxury camps in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, The Bushcamp Company has made their operation as “green” as possible, introducing solar technology throughout all the six Bushcamps and also where possible at the Mfuwe Lodge. Each chalet and tent has its own solar water heating system and uses solar panels for power, lighting, charging, fridge-freezers and to pump water. In addition, Mfuwe Lodge runs a worm farm, where kitchen and organic waste is composted down to produce an organic fertilizer, which they use for their tree planting programs in the villages.

Another important initiative The Bushcamp company has put in place is their “Commit to Clean Water” project, which was introduced in 2014. The company has built deep boreholes that provide safe, clean drinking water to villages in the Luangwa Valley. Eighty-five boreholes have been drilled to-date with more planned for 2019.

Thompson Hotels Goes Green in the Kitchen

From the removal of plastic straws to implementing compostable kitchen items and creative upcycling, Thompson Hotels is working to develop greener restaurant and bars across its portfolio to help better the planet.

Last year, the company set out looking for a way to reduce plastic straw waste at all of its properties across North America, working with partners such as Aardvark Straws (U.S.) and Biofase (Mexico) to help supply biodegradable options that do not break down in cocktails, hold up in a morning cold brew, and everything in-between. The removal of plastic straws is just one example of an increase in attention to sustainability in the beverage space; for example, at Thompson Nashville, The Beekman and The Cape, select bars are using dehydrated garnishes as a way to keep sustainability in check so as not to waste fresh produce or compromise on aesthetics. 

At properties such as Thompson Zihuatanejo, The Beekman and Thompson Toronto, the food and beverage teams have worked to eliminate the overuse of these items, instead turning to compostable, biodegradable containers, cups and even piping bags to limit their negative impact on the environment.

Some chefs are even trying their hand at upcycling, like at Thompson Zihuatanejo, where executive chef Miguel Baltazar and his team creatively repurposed materials found during the resort's renovation: Excavated marble flooring became hand-hewn trays for in-room welcome amenities and special desserts, and Chef Baltazar's signature fire-roasting was handmade by the chef himself from a Christmas tree stand.

Bettoja Hotels Collection Eliminates Plastic Bottles

Bettoja Hotels Collection will remove of all plastic bottles beginning on Earth Day 2019. This sustainability initiative marks the first achievement in the brand’s commitment to environment and includes all plastic bottles in the mini-bars and the restaurants across the brand’s three hotels in Rome—Hotel Mediterraneo, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio and Hotel Atlantico. This year, Bettoja Hotels Collection invites its guests to honor this commitment to the environment and will turn off the lights for one minute in the halls of all three hotels at 6 p.m. on April 22. In addition, Ristorante Massimo D’Azeglio will dine by candlelight and soft lights on Earth Day.

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