The list of states with green lodging certification programs and/or green-oriented travel sites just keeps getting longer. The Bed & Breakfast Association of Kentucky recently launched its Green Lodging Certification Program and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism just launched its www.greentravelarkansas.com website. According to my count, there are now 29 states, two cities and one region that have some form of green lodging program or green travel website. (Click here for list.)
The Arkansas site lists green properties but there is no certification program yet in that state. Hotels and inns, to be listed, must follow some of the guidelines described by the American Hotel & Lodging Association in its Green Resource Center. Participants in the Bed & Breakfast Association of Kentucky's program are required to have an on-site audit and must report on their progress annually. "A third-party audit gives a level of credibility that self-certification cannot achieve," said Todd Allen, the Bed & Breakfast Association of Kentucky's Green Lodging Certification Committee Chairperson.
While the Arkansas site certainly lacks teeth when it comes to criteria for lodging inclusion, it is good to see the state beginning to emphasize the importance of sustainable travel. It is even better to see Kentucky launch a program with strict guidelines for participation.
If your property is in a state that currently has no green lodging certification program or does not promote itself as a green destination, don't you think it is time to lobby for change? Contact the leaders of your state hotel and lodging association and tourism office and ask why your state is being left behind.