While we like to adapt to new surroundings and traditions when vacationing, sometimes familiarity and similarity to home is important. Amenities that are important to guests include free breakfast, late check-out, online booking discounts, good proximity to sights, and others. Travelers also often seek places to stay, eat, and explore that employ sustainability practices much like the ones they practice at home and/or are a part of their lifestyle. In the visitor’s mind, learning that a business or organization is green-minded can increase enhance that first impression; moreover, the decision-making and comparisons a traveler makes beforehand can be impacted by knowing a place takes ‘being green’ seriously.
We’re pleased that North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources has introduced a program for visitor-related businesses to apply for NC GreenTravel recognition and already, Chatham County has two sites recognized as green champions, CCCC Natural Chef Cafe (three Dogwood Blossoms rating, which represents the program’s highest level of sustainability) and The Inn at Celebrity Dairy (two Dogwood Blossoms rating).
Tom Rhodes, NC GreenTravel Initiative Program Coordinator, tells us that the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, along with Waste Reduction Partners, are available to provide free, non-regulatory consultation for applicants to help them reach their sustainability goals and will be very happy to assist applicants in filling in the application form. He also tells us that Recognized NC GreenTravel recipients receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a door decal denoting them as a NC GreenTravel member, plus a free listing on the website and a marker on the NC GreenTravel state map.