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Kelowna hotel lauded for green initiatives

A Kelowna hotel that’s spent nearly 20 years trying to be green is now embracing another colour—gold.

The Best Western Plus hotel has earned the highest certification from Green Tourism Canada, the Canadian arm of an organization described as the most reputable and recognized eco-rating label in the world.

Greg Salloum, Kelowna Best Western CEO and partner said he and his team are excited about achieving gold certification with Green Tourism.

“There are a lot of environmental tourism labels out there these days, but Green Tourism has a very thorough third-party assessment process. Travellers trust it and so does the tourism industry.”

Since 1997, the U.K.-based Green Tourism has helped thousands of hotels and attractions become more sustainable and receive recognition for their efforts. The Kelowna hotel joins almost 40 other B.C. members of Green Tourism Canada, but is one of just a handful of B.C. hotels to receive gold.

“We’re really proud to be a leader in sustainability,” said Brenda Rayburn, director of sales and marketing at the Best Western. “While we know that we are authentic, it is so important to have that transparency to create confidence with travellers and with our staff.”

The Best Western started going green more than 20 years ago, long before it became a marketing tool to attract eco-conscious guests and has been recognized several times by both the city and outside organizations for its work. The Green Tourism award recognizes both the breadth and depth of it green initiatives.

In addition to everyday activities such as recycling, energy and water conservation and water and green housekeeping programs the hotel also offers a variety of other  eco-friendly services for its guests. They can plug in at one of thee electric vehicle charging stations, they can shower and wrap themselves in a warm towel, heated through geothermal energy and the hotel was one of the first businesses locally to install solar panels on its roof. Following its plans, the hotel has reduced its carbon footprint by almost 300 per cent.

“There’s a real sense of excitement and pride in our accomplishments with staff at every level," said Rayburn. "Our commitment to sustainability has been a significant factor in achieving our goal of being an employer of choice for many on our team.”

In addition to the latest certification, the hotel has also been named the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Leader of the Year, the City of Kelowna's Champion for the Environment, winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's Environmental Responsibility Award, the B.C. Minister’s Award of Excellence for Climate Action and has achieved LEED silver certification for its environmental wing.

 

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