Eco-Tourism gets Political Boost

May 18, 2008

WaterColor InnI remember reading the little placard on the bathroom vanity advising me to hang my damp towels with curiosity. We were on vacation and it was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing. We did this at home, but it seemed more practical – a way to avoid doing laundry each night. There was also a note about turning the lights out when we left our room. Little things.

We discussed the hanging of the towels and the turning off of the lights over a shrimp dinner that night at some tourist trap. I remember my mom saying that if we all do a little, we can do a lot. So I thought it was great when I heard of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s new executive order that requires state agencies and departments to hold meetings and conferences at lodgings that meet the new Florida Green Lodging standards.

He is also hosting a “Climate Change Summit” June 25-26 in Miami that will focus, in part, on ways to bring green business and technology jobs to Florida.

So far, 181 hotels and motels across the state have received the Green Lodging standard – and properties range from Disney resorts to Sheraton and Marriott properties. Only two have received the coveted “two Palm” designation, (additional recycling programs, non-toxic cleaners, low-flow showerheads, etc.) the Turtle Beach Inn in Port Saint Joe and the swanky WaterColor Inn in The Beaches of South Walton.

I think it is wonderful for the green industry. Not only do you have commercial properties installing and utilizing new technologies (and saving money and Mother Earth in the process), but you have thousands of people who will visit and read about what they are doing. The potential to inspire others to take measures in their own homes is enormous.

Imagine the wonder of a child seeing solar panels for the first time, or learning why it helps to unplug appliances and electronic devices when they aren’t in use. Little things.

And maybe … just maybe … they can talk about how cool that was over a shrimp dinner at some tourist trap.

Image Credit: Courtesy Photo of WaterColor Inn & Resort