Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and Greenstep Solutions announced this week that they have entered into Memorandum of Understanding as part of the first phase of our regional efforts in the development of a Charter of Sustainability.
One of the most valuable assets the Thompson Okanagan offers is its abundant natural beauty and efforts are being made to ensure this rich environment is protected as the tourism industry expands.
“Responsible tourism includes assisting our stakeholders in their efforts to provide Green Tourism products and attracting the right consumers” said Glenn Mandziuk, CEO, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.
GreenStep Solutions is a Kelowna based company, which operates across Canada, and has worked with more than 1200 business since 2008 on a wide variety of sustainability-related projects and programs.
Through Green Tourism, GreenStep solutions provides third-party certification and expert guidance to all types of tourism businesses, helping them create a green action plan. Members include hotels, motels, resorts, campgrounds, casinos, attractions, tour operators, restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries and even tourism centres and offices.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to work in our own backyard, together with TOTA, to help support the Thompson Okanagan tourism industry as it strives to integrate more green and responsible business practices” said Angela Nagy, CEO, GreenStep Solutions and Green Tourism Canada.
The Green Tourism program is recognized internationally and to date has certified more 2,300 businesses around the world and has been recognized as the most credible such program for the tourism and hospitality industry by Totem Tourism in their 2013 “Greenwash Report”.
“As the first business in the Thompson Okanagan to be both Green Tourism and ecobase Certified, we look forward to watching our region emerge as sustainability leaders. Green Tourism Canada is the best green certification program for hospitality industry. It is internationally recognized, thorough, and is the only such program that requires third party verification for every member. Now with ecobase Certified, we can achieve our sustainability goals even faster” said Greg Salloum – Owner, Best Western PLUS Kelowna Hotel and Suites.
In addition to Green Tourism, ecobase Certified helps tourism businesses to measure and reduce their carbon footprint, while saving thousands of dollars in energy, waste and water, all at no cost. Through the program businesses can generate an eco-fund to invest in these projects, while receiving expert advice to help them make the best choices about where to invest their eco-funds. This way, businesses can offer more environmentally friendly services and meet the growing consumer demand for responsible business.