Timeshare resorts recognized for eco-friendly practices in all facets of operations at ATHOC Conference
Gold Coast, Australia (October 1, 2012) — RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange, announced the winners of its innovative “Go Green Awards” for its affiliated resorts in the Pacific region at the recent Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC) conference. This award is a reflection of RCI’s ongoing commitment to environmental and social stewardship.
New Zealand’s Club Paihia took top honors, winning the grand prize two years running. The resort significantly improved an already impressive array of green accomplishments, including ongoing refurbishments, cost-effective sustainable practices, continued care for an adjacent native wildlife habitat and an evident enviro-friendly supply chain of management.
Runners-up Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific Torquay and The Pines resort in Wanaka, New Zealand, shared similarities including a modified setting where both finalists are strategically working toward becoming models of in-town sustainability within resort communities. In recognition of their commitment to sustainable environmental practices, each of the finalists received cash donations to further expand their environmental programs.
Dr. David Weaver, professor of Tourism Research at Griffith University, acted as adjudicator again this year, assessing resorts on a combination of energy use, waste disposal and reduction, supply chain and water management, facility design, and community and guest engagement – a “best practice” self-assessment process, similar to the top green awards and certifications currently in circulation within the tourism industry.
“The three impressive finalists selected this year all reflect the triple challenge of (a) managing ‘inherited’ properties that were not originally built with sustainability in mind, (b) coping with tricky climate and topography conditions and (c) meeting customer and owner expectations of comfort and amenity,” explained Dr. Weaver.
According to Dr. Weaver, practices such as recycling and linen re-use programs, both innovations two decades ago, are now the norm and taken for granted. He believes it’s the new initiatives such as refurbishment strategies and educating stakeholders about the personal and global benefits of sustainable practices that are crucial. “Differentiating your property now is about going the extra mile to help the community and the environment through outreach to different stakeholder groups,” added Dr. Weaver.
With eco-holidaying and green-tourism steadily evolving into mainstream travel, RCI Pacific saw an opportunity three years ago to pioneer the first timeshare ‘Go Green’ program in the Pacific and for RCI worldwide. “Recognizing a growing ‘green conscious’ member base allowed us to champion a green message in line with our corporate social responsibility,” said Charisse Cox, managing director of RCI Pacific.
“By actively engaging affiliated resorts within the exchange network to embrace sustainable practices and to demonstrate a commitment to incorporating green measures into all facets of daily resort operations, we are seeing resorts capitalize on the social and economic benefit to business and to their respective communities,” said Cox.
As the coveted RCI ‘Go Green Award’ program continues to grow and gain support regionally, it has also expanded on an RCI global level. North America and Europe have both modeled their Green Award programs after the successful Pacific initiative and recently announced their Green Award winners.
RCI is the worldwide leader in holiday exchange with over 4,000 affiliated resorts in approximately 100 countries. RCI pioneered the concept of vacation exchange in 1974, offering members increased flexibility and versatility with their holiday ownership experience. Today, through RCI® Weeks, the traditional week-for-week exchange system, and RCI Points®, the industry’s first global points-based exchange system, RCI provides flexible holiday options to its approximately 3.7 million RCI subscribing members each year. RCI is part of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals and the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN). For additional information visit our media center, rciaffiliates.com or The RCI Blog. RCI also can be found on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
About Professor David Weaver
Dr. David Weaver is currently employed at Griffith University as Professor of Tourism Research, and has held prior academic appointments in Australia, Canada and the USA. He specializes in the areas of sustainable tourism management and ecotourism, and has to date authored or edited more than 100 books, journal articles and book chapters. His textbooks Tourism Management, Sustainable Tourism: Principles and Practices, and Ecotourism are widely used in universities around the world, and his journal articles are cited extensively. Dr. Weaver also sits on the editorial boards of eight international refereed tourism journals, and in 2009 was elected as a Fellow to the prestigious International Academy for the Study of Tourism. He has recently delivered invited keynote addresses at conferences in Mexico, Korea and Norway, and has collaborated with industry partners such as Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, and the American Society of Travel Agents. Current projects include the willingness of protected area visitors to engage in activities that enhance those areas, environmental best practice in the lodging sector, the evolution of indigenous tourism, and the geopolitical dimension of sustainable tourism.