- The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce encourages Green Tourism and offers Sustainability Tips.
In October 2009, I Love New York
announced its Green New York Marketing Initiative, a multi-faceted, consumer-driven marketing and communications campaign to promote green tourism and raise awareness of New York's incredible green assets and products offered. This program is planned to be launched on Earth Day, April 22, 2010.
This program includes but is not limited to green certified hotels and restaurants. Green Tourism also includes nature, outdoor recreation, agriculture, and eco-friendly hospitality services. Montgomery County fits into this definition in many ways.
"The Montgomery County Tourism Department has identified several areas that fit the Green Tourism scenario," states Gina DaBiere-Gibbs, Tourism Director. "Some examples of the green movement include farmers' markets, golf courses, and parks. Montgomery County offers four regular season farm markets, two to three off season markets, the Mohawk Valley Produce Auction (Amish), Sundae on the Farm, and a Harvest Tour Map promoting farms with corn mazes, apple picking, tours, produce, etc. We have three golf courses and the Canalway Trail (bike path) for outdoor recreation along with the Charleston State Forest, Rural Grove State Forest and Wintergreen Park and Gorge," added DaBiere-Gibbs. "Church and Main in Canajoharie serves locally grown gourmet cuisine as well."
In June 2009, the New York State Green Hotel Certification Pilot Program sought 44 hotels to participate in the program. Through the program hotels of various sizes will have the opportunity to participate in the Green LeafTM
certifying program. By earning between one and five green leaves in the Audubon Green LeafTM
Program, hotels can proudly display and confirm to guests their commitment to water quality and conservation, waste reduction, resource conservation, and energy efficiency.
The Amsterdam Castle applied for the program. Susan Phemister, Owner, Amsterdam Castle stated, "As a historic building, we have many opportunities to renovate green and I take them all. We've replaced our hot water tanks with on-demand heaters, use low VOC paints, added 50 interior window liners, and 5 energy efficient fireplaces to better zone our heat. Every investment has paid off in a year via reduced energy bills. It's just good business sense."
She added, "Our clientele is growing greener also. We use sustainable toiletries in the room and serve fair-trade coffee for breakfast. Clients appreciate our sustainability ethic and ask about what we are doing. Amsterdam Castle is pleased to be part of the Green Hotel Pilot that links us with other NYS green hotels for networking and information. It gives me increased access to sustainable vendors and ideas and enhances our customers' overnight experience."
Hospitality businesses can follow these simple steps to increasing sustainability:
- Install bike racks to encourage pedal power
- Plant trees to offset electric use
- Utilize recycled products instead of Styrofoam
- Encourage the use of reusable serving utensils instead of disposables
- Purchase food and beverage from locally produced sources when possible
- Promote the use of bulk food and beverage products
- Recycled plastic, cans, cardboard, paper and kitchen oil
- Use paper containing 30% post consumer waste
- Use energy saving light bulbs
- Recycle printer cartridges
- E-mails preferred to paper correspondence
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies
- Operate on state-of-the-art energy efficient HVAC system
- Restrooms are equipped with electronic flush and faucet systems and include automated soap and paper dispensers
- Donate unused foods to food banks and shelters
- Install new dish machines that use 30% less water and cleaning products than standard
- Internal correspondence is printed double-sided
For more information on Green Tourism in Montgomery County call DaBiere-Gibbs at 853-1800 ext. 12. A downloadable PDF version of the Harvest Tour map is also located on the Montgomery County Tourism website http://www.visitmontgomerycountyny.com/
on the Brochures page.
Gina DaBiere-Gibbs, Tourism Director
(518) 853-1800, ext. 12