The new Maryland Green Travel program was developed through a partnership of the Maryland Office of Tourism, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the Maryland Tourism Council in support of Governor Martin O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative. Maryland Green Travel was officially announced by the Governor at the Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit on November 5.
Maryland Green Travel is a voluntary statewide program created to reduce the environmental impact of Maryland’s tourism industry. The program is a self-certification that will allow travelers and visitors in Maryland to identify businesses that have chosen to meet the minimum requirements for implementing sustainable practices and environmentally friendly products.
According to the news about the program, the initial stage of the program will create an online, self-certification application for the lodging sector that uses environmental guidelines adopted by the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the best practices of MDE’s Green Registry. A similar process will be implemented for restaurants, attractions and other tourism businesses during 2010. Maryland Green Travel will encourage certified properties to share their environmental practices in order to promote themselves as “green” properties and to encourage others to similarly reduce their impacts on Maryland’s environment.
“We believe Maryland Green Travel will prove to have great marketing value for individual properties and for the state’s tourism industry overall,” said Gov. O’Malley. “Most properties will see cost savings through waste reduction, recycling and innovative approaches to energy and water conservation.”
“Increasingly, travelers are making travel plans based on sustainable practices that reduce our carbon footprint. Maryland Green Travel will promote those businesses that undergo self-certification, said Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. “We would like this program to be a collaborative effort. Industry participation is needed for the program to be beneficial for both the tourism industry and the environment.”
Properties that are part of the program will be identified as Maryland Green Travel partners on the official state tourism site, visitmaryland.org, which receives nearly 2 million unique visitors a year. Additionally, participating businesses will be certified for and promoted on the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Maryland Green Registry.
If you have any questions about Maryland Green Travel, don’t hesitate to contact any one of the partners mentioned above. The MTC applauds those who have already taken measures to improve the carbon footprint of their properties and attractions and looks forward to the increased participation in the new Maryland Green Travel program.