TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Lodging Program and IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) have joined together in an effort to boost eco-tourism throughout the state. These programs will encourage hotel properties to continue to develop new strategies and implement practices designed to promote green travel.
“By working together, the Department and IHG show a common understanding of environmental responsibility,” said DEP Office of Sustainable Initiatives Director Brad Stombock. “Together, we will be impacting the tourism industry and making a difference in both Florida’s economy and ecosystem.”
The program offers IHG-branded hotels the opportunity to earn a dual designation as an environmentally responsible hotel through the IHG Green Engage™ system and the Department’s Green Lodging Program. Each offers a tiered system of ranking hotels and motels based on their commitment to conserving natural resources through business practices including things like alternative energy sources, reduced water usage and recycling.
The Florida Green Lodging Program includes nearly 700 properties throughout the state. Designated properties receive marketing and technical assistance benefits through the Florida Green Lodging website. Additional business can be generated for state meetings and conferences through HB 7135, which gives preference to designated properties for all state business.
Launched in 2009, the IHG Green Engage™ system is IHG’s comprehensive online sustainability system, with four certification levels. It tells IHG-branded hotels what they can do to be a ‘green’ hotel and gives them the means to conserve resources and save money. The program offers an advantage to owners, for whom energy is the second largest cost in their hotels, and puts IHG® in a position to respond to rising energy prices and any future carbon taxes. More than 2,300 hotels are currently enrolled in IHG’s Green Engage™ system. The program is a community of more than 7,000 individual users at IHG hotels that are now registered on IHG Green Engage™.
“We believe IHG Green Engage gives us a significant competitive edge,” said Maury Zimring, director of environmental sustainability, IHG® Corporate Responsibility. “It makes IHG hotels cost-effective and ultimately allows them to improve the value of service they offer guests, who tell us they would prefer to stay in a green hotel.”
Expanding the impact of eco-tourism in Florida is a priority for the Department, and this partnership with IHG will help boost the economic impact of the green movement. For more information about the Florida Green Lodging Program, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging/about.htm