Newsletter, February 2022

February updates from GreenStep Sustainable Tourism

MEASURING SUSTAINABILITY: THE STATE OF THE CANADIAN TOURISM INDUSTRY

Over the last decade, sustainability has become increasingly important as a value for visitors, and as a key component for a thriving tourism industry. In 2021, GreenStep launched the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge in partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), to encourage uptake towards a more vibrant and sustainable tourism industry in Canada.

The pledge asks tourism businesses and destinations across the country to measure their sustainability performance using the free online Sustainability Score assessment, recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and to make a public commitment to improve their performance each year until 2030.

With hundreds of tourism businesses across Canada now having taken the Sustainability Score assessment, the Sustainable Tourism Dashboard enables anonymous aggregation of the results to help tourism destinations, policy makers, and other industry stakeholders understand how the tourism industry is performing at a local, provincial, national, and eventually, international level.

Continue reading on our blog to see the key areas where support is needed to improve performance.

TIRES, WIRES, AND A WHOLE LOT OF PLASTIC: SPIRIT OF THE WEST ADVENTURES CONCLUDES MARINE DEBRIS CLEAN-UP PROJECT

If the average Gray Whale weighs between 40,000 to 60,000 pounds (we’re talking 4 to 5 elephants), let’s imagine for a moment what that would look like in waste.

Now, double it. Spirit of the West Adventures, Sustainable Tourism Certified member and sea kayaking operator based out of Vancouver Island, collected over 100,000 pounds of debris during their Marine Debris Clean-Up this past December. Undertaken during one of the rainiest and windiest seasons yet, the project spanned twelve weeks and covered an impressive 357 kilometers of shoreline along the Northern Discovery Islands. The entire project was conducted by just 18 youths, as well as 7 who identify as ‘young at heart’, and was encouraged and supported by local communities.

[Continue reading on our blog] 

KOOTENAY ROCKIES BECOMES FIRST SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DESTINATION IN CANADA

We are proud to announce that the Kootenay Rockies region is the first destination to be certified by GreenStep Sustainable Tourism! As the official Destination Management Organization for the region, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association underwent a rigorous assessment process and formal evidence review to achieve Sustainable Tourism Silver Certified Destination.

GreenStep is the first and only Canadian-based provider of tourism industry certifications for both tourism businesses and destinations. Our Sustainable Tourism Destination standards has achieved formal-recognition by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and aligns with both the GSTC’s Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, following global best practices for sustainable tourism destination management.

Said Angela Nagy, CEO of GreenStep, “We congratulate Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association for this important achievement in measuring and verifying the sustainability performance of their destination, and for putting in place their Sustainability Charter and action plan to help guide their continued improvement over time.”

[Continue reading on our blog] 

SANDMAN HOTEL & SUITES KELOWNA PILOTS GO GREEN PROGRAM

Our team at GreenStep is thrilled to announce the pilot of Sandman Hotel & Suites Kelowna’s ‘Go Green’ program! The program was developed in collaboration with GreenStep, British Columbia Hotel Association and Rethink2gether, with the simple but powerful aim to identify energy conservation projects and sustainability opportunities for the hotel and their two Kelowna restaurants, Moxie’s Grill & Bar and Denny’s.

As part of this program, GreenStep will be conducting energy, waste, and water audits, as well as carbon footprint measurements across all operations of the hotel. The BCHA Energy Analyst will also provide a desktop energy assessment, and Rethink2gether will provide food waste measurement for the restaurants.

This program is supported and partially funded by GreenStep’s innovated EcoFund program, which creates a fund for hotels to invest in carbon cutting projects at their properties at no cost. We are proud to support Sandman Hotel Group in implementing real change for their hotels, the environment, and the communities that they serve!

GREENSTEP WELCOMES NEWEST EUROPEAN SUSTAINABLE TOURISM MEMBER, LIVTOURS!

Our team at GreenStep is pleased to welcome our newest European Sustainable Tourism member, LivTours! Situated in Rome, LivTours is a family-owned tour operator company that offers over 300 hand-crafted tours and experiences across Europe. Since its founding, LivTours has become recognized as a leader industry-wide for its unique guiding principles: to respect the rich, cultural and environmental heritage of the destination, and to share that same environment with each and every traveler along the way through the passion and eyes of the professional guides. In addition to certification, our team at GreenStep will be working closely with LivTours to measure the carbon footprint and impact of their tours, to be publicly reported and shared with guests to help them make informed decisions when booking.

Kirstin Karstendotter, Co-owner of LivTours, shares: “Working towards GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism Certification is an important next step in our responsibility as a tour operator. Taking immediate action and gaining more knowledge on how we can lower our impact as a company while giving back to the communities we affect is evermore critical. GreenStep complies with international standards recognized by the GSTC, and provides simple and effective hands-on guidance through the certification process. We look forward to working closely with GreenStep on our certification journey, and we are proud to be leaders as the first tour operator in Italy doing so. We hope more tour operators across the global community will commit to this effort in making tourism more sustainable.”

GREENSTEP FREE WEBINARS FOR TOURISM BUSINESSES

“Sharing Your Sustainability Story: A Conversation with Tourism Industry Leaders.”

Join GreenStep for an open dialogue on how to responsibly market and differentiate your sustainability story. We are thrilled to be joined by a panel of Sustainable Tourism members, who have distinguished themselves as leaders in this area and are willing to share their experiences.

This webinar aims to help you gain confidence to share your sustainability initiatives through transparent communication practices, to help you engage with staff and visitors, and learn how to publicly report on progress towards your sustainability goals.

Panelists announced soon.

Date: Tuesday, March 29th 11:30am – 12:30pm PST / 2:30pm – 3:30pm EST

[Register for free here]

If you would like to watch recordings of any of our past webinars, please visit the past events section of our website.

GREEN ECONOMY’S EV CHARGER INCENTIVE PROGRAM

For Canadians, electric vehicles are set to become the new normal, perhaps sooner than you think. Just recently, Canada rolled out its mandatory target for all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks to be zero-emissions by 2035, set to reduce the country’s total GHG emissions by 25%.

Access to charging stations will soon become critical for residents and travelers alike, which is why Green Economy Canada has announced its $3.9M EV Charger Incentive Program, funded by Natural Resources Canada. Through this program, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations in Canada may be eligible for reimbursements of up to 50% of total project costs for installing EV charging stations (up to $100,000).

Please note: until March 21st, the program is only reviewing applications from organizations that self-identify as being majority-led or owned by individuals belonging to an Underrepresented Group (this includes, but is not limited to, women, 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous Peoples, racialized peoples, youth, or persons with disabilities).

[Apply Now]

GREENSTEP EARNS 2021 CARBON NEUTRAL STATUS FROM OSTROM CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

GreenStep is proud to share our Offsetters Carbon Neutral Company 2021 status!

With Ostrom Climate Solutions Inc., we measured and offset our emissions by contributing to projects such as The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project, The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve Project, and The Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project. These projects are verified and validated by third parties to ensure emissions reductions are real, additional, and permanent.

SEVEN BEST PRACTICES OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DESTINATIONS

Founder and CEO of GreenStep Angela Nagy was recently published in Destinations International, sharing the 7 Best Practices of Sustainable Tourism Destinations. This article identifies research-based sustainable practices for DMOs to maximize stakeholder engagement and advance their sustainability performance.

“Over the past decade, I have been working with and researching how tourism organizations at the international, national, regional, and local levels have been integrating sustainability practices. Through this work, seven best practices have emerged that we now use as the basis of our Sustainable Tourism programs. Before I dive into these best practices let’s take a step back and look at the origins of what we now define as sustainable tourism.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as tourism that “meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. Rather than being a type of product, it is an ethos that underpins all tourism activities. As such, it is integral to all aspects of tourism development and management rather than being an add-on component.”

TOURISM TERRACE ADVANCES SUSTAINABILITY IN NORTHERN BC

Recently, GreenStep engaged with Carlysle & Co. to bring sustainability to the forefront of tourism planning and development for Tourism Terrace in Northern BC.

We’re thrilled to see smaller communities taking initiative to prioritize sustainability, helping the tourism industry make meaningful progress towards our collective global goals laid out by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). As part of this project, Tourism Terrace established their baseline sustainability performance by working through our Sustainable Tourism Destination Assessment, then in a guided effort with GreenStep, created a Sustainable Action Plan that aligns with their existing goals and objectives as a community.

[Learn more here]

UPCOMING INDUSTRY EVENTS
CONFERENCES

2022 National Indigenous Tourism Conference
Hosted by: Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
Where: Tsuut’ina Nation Lands, Calgary, AB
Dates: March 8 – 10, 2022

ITAC is proud to be hosting the 2022 National Indigenous Tourism Conference (NITC) at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino on Tsuut’ina Nations lands in Calgary, Alberta, with the theme “Building Back Better.” The conference will reunite operators, funding partners, and industry supporters in the facilitation of a meaningful and focused discussion on the rebuilding of the Indigenous tourism sector from the impacts of the pandemic.

BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference
Hosted by: Tourism Industry Association of BC and the BC Hotel Association
Where: Richmond, BC
Dates: March 9 – 11, 2022

The Tourism Industry Association of BC and the BC Hotel Association are excited to bring you the second-annual BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference. The 2022 conference will take place in Richmond, BC. Early-bird registration is now open.

IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference
Hosted by: Destination Greater Victoria
Where: Victoria, BC
Dates: May 8 – May 11, 2022

The annual IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference is a collaborative national dialogue on innovation, bringing together policy-builders, educators, and all those who believe the positive and sustainable growth of tourism in Canada is a key economic driver.

Key topics of discussion will include Indigenous reconciliation, biodiversity preservation, carbon mitigation, and sustainable food and agriculture, contributing to the ongoing dialogue on tourism’s recovery. Join the conservation and hear how creative and innovative experts in the business, including GreenStep CEO Angela Nagy, are addressing the new reality of higher expectations, for and of visitors.

WEBINARS

Building Inclusive Tourism: Monthly Series
Hosted by: Tourism Industry Association of Ontario
Where: Online
Dates: Jan 12th – April 13th, 2022 (Ongoing)

TIAO is hosting monthly lunch-and-learn webinars until April to help build diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the tourism industry. The sessions are unique and open to all learners to help build inclusive tourism for all.

Small Business BC Webinars
Hosted by: Destination British Columbia
Where: Online
Dates: Feb 2 – March 14, 2022 (Ongoing)

Destination BC has partnered with Small Business BC to provide free access to Small Business BC’s business education webinars! These informational sessions are open to all tourism businesses and stakeholders, to help aid recovery from the pandemic and mitigate ongoing impacts.

Interested in learning more about how GreenStep Sustainable Tourism can help your tourism business or destination? Feel free to reach out at any time to chat, or schedule a free consult today: 1-800-469-7830 or info@greenstep.ca.

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