Saturday, October 3, 2009

Firms report on environmental gains; conservation efforts discussed at ASTA meetings. (American Society of Travel Agents). USA, LLC

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More than a dozen industry members at an ASTA meeting here vied for time to relate what they or their companies had done to change the way that travel affects the environment.

Those modifications range from installing water-saving shower heads in hotel bathrooms to printing waterproof maps to help scuba divers avoid delicate coral reefs.

During the meeting, which was sponsored by ASTA's environmental committee, speakers touched on the programs begun at resorts and hotels, as well as internal changes made at corporate offices such as organizing recycling drives.

Highlights of those programs follow:

* Canadian Pacific Hotels plans to place recycling bins in all hotel rooms and is currently shipping used bars of soap to the needy in Third World countries, said Ann Checkley, director of public relations.

Housekeepers at the chain's properties collect up to 6,000 used soap bars a day and also consolidate shampoo leftovers from the miniature bottles placed in bathrooms.

The goods are then sent to a medical supply company that has volunteered to distribute them overseas.

* Club Med is installing water-saving shower heads at its properties and uses sea water rather than fresh water for flushing toilets.

Bill Vervaeke, senior vice president of sales and marketing, also noted that Club Med brochures are printed on recycled paper when possible.

In addition, guests involved in activities such as scuba diving are taught to respect the wildlife with which they come in contact.

* Ramada International, which a year ago began involving employees worldwide in conservation programs, now plans to enlist the help of engineers to develop new recycling and energy-saving strategies, said Judy Crawford, director of public relations.

Individual hotels in Ramada's network have also created their own innovations, such as an organic food menu at the chain's Toronto hotel and the waterproof diving maps in Grand Cayman.

* British Airways has appointed an environmental director to review the company's internal activities that relate to conservation and the environment, said Robert Falkner, executive vice president for North America.

BA is looking at its ground and flight operations and how they affect the environment around Heathrow Airport.

* Lufthansa has begun testing a meal service tray made from grain to replace the plastic ones used in flight, according to Michael Diehl, their U.S. marketing manager.

After its use aboard the aircraft, the edible tray becomes fodder for cattle.

* ASTA uses recycled paper when possible, said president Philip Davidoff, who noted that all promotional material at ASTA's regional conferences was printed on recycled paper.

Source Citation:Gaines, Lisa. "Firms report on environmental gains; conservation efforts discussed at ASTA meetings." Travel Weekly 50.n48 (June 17, 1991): 12(1). InfoTrac Small Business eCollection. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 3 Oct. 2009

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