Media Release: Sustainable tourism seminar to benefit businesses

PROPRIETORS of hotels and B&Bs as well as tour operators in the Highlands and Islands are among those being invited to a seminar focusing on making businesses ‘greener’.

The sustainable tourism seminar is a lunchtime event on Tuesday March 11 at the Lovat Arms Hotel which is an example of an environmentally friendly hotel in Fort Augustus.

It has been designed to build on the success of last year’s environment finance business breakfast in Inverness where businesses were given an opportunity to hear about a range of environmental financial incentives for their business.

Tuesday’s focus will be on sustainable tourism highlighting how having and environmentally friendly businesses is the way forward for tourism and essential for success. The event is one of a number of events being held as part of Scottish Tourism Week 2008.

Martin Webb will address the benefits of the Green Tourism Business Scheme which is the UK’s sustainable tourism certification scheme. Businesses opting to join are assessed by a qualifying grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria covering a range of areas like energy and water efficiency, waste management and biodiversity. Businesses that meet the required standard receive a bronze, silver, or gold award based on their level of achievement.

Environmental co-ordinator, Megan Wallace, from Fairmont, St Andrews will outline how to put environmental measures into practice. This will be followed by an overview of sustainable tourism by Paul Easto, director of Wilderness Scotland – an award winning adventure tour operator.

Wilderness Scotland’s commitment to sustainable tourism was recognised when it was awarded Highly Commended status in the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2006.

The seminar is organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the organisation’s Mike Milner, business and environment co-ordinator, said: “There are many ways in which tourism businesses can save on costs as well as saving the environment.

“The seminar aims to highlight the benefits that can be realised by tourism businesses through improved sustainability. The Lovat Arms Hotel is leading by example in sustainable tourism and by holding the seminar here, we hope that those who attend can take away with them ideas for benefiting their own business in an environmentally friendly way.”

The Lovat Arms Hotel’s owners have improved the efficiency of the hotel, significantly reducing operating costs and carbon emissions from the business. A biomass heating system was installed which supplies heat at a more favourable cost than conventional heating fuels and support a local wood chip supply company. In addition, the hotel have installed energy efficient lighting and controls are installed throughout the hotel. This has reduced electricity consumption, costs and carbon emissions.

There has been a high level of interest in the event, with over 50 delegates registered to attend. There are a limited number of places still available, however organisers are keen to run a similar event in the future.

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Contact: Mairi Gillies
Phone: 01463 244235