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Four New ECO Certifications Announced
By Lindsay Vidrine
Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department
September 22, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lindsay Vidrine
Four New ECO Certifications Announced
Sustainable travel options continue to grow across Oklahoma
As the sustainability movement continues to grow across the nation, four Oklahoma entities amplified their conservation efforts to become the newest members of Encouraging Conservation in Oklahoma (ECO), the state’s only certification for sustainable travel.
Since 2009, the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality’s ECO Certification program has promoted, developed and encouraged sustainable tourism throughout the state. ECO Certification requires applicants to meet set criteria and be reviewed by a national certification board. A certification level of silver, gold or platinum can be awarded, based on the level of sustainable practices the applicant chooses to implement.
The Embassy Suites Norman and Keystone State Park both earned silver certifications, while the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau received a gold ECO rating. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon achieved a platinum rating, the first event to reach this level of certification.
“These new ECO Program members show the diversity and impact that sustainability has on all parts of the tourism industry,” said Hardy Watkins, executive director, Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department. “Oklahoma is going to benefit from these forward-thinking groups leading our state and industry in the right direction.”
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon implemented green initiatives over the past several years and will continue to set even higher goals for its 2011 marathon.
“We are honored by this recognition and feel a responsibility to work to be ECO-friendly as we line the streets of Oklahoma City during the Marathon weekend,” Kari Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum executive director said. “We look forward to getting better and better at working to do what we can to sustain our environment.”
New initiatives include offering carbon offsetting for air travelers, growing green team volunteers and increased recycling efforts throughout the 2011 marathon.
Silver ECO member the Embassy Suites Norman also created new green standards. Among the hotel and convention center’s goals are to continue to reduce energy consumption and waste while improving recycling options and employee awareness. In October, this location will host the 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
Keystone State Park added to its conservation efforts through a new aluminum recycling program called You CAN Do It. The park’s cabins also participate in Clean the World, an organization that recycles gently used hotel soaps and donates them to impoverished areas.
For more information regarding the ECO Program and other certified sustainable travel organizations in Oklahoma, please visit the ECO Homepage.
Since 2009, the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department (OTRD) and Department of Environmental Quality’s ECO Certification program has promoted, developed and encouraged sustainable tourism throughout the state. OTRD works to advance the exceptional quality of life in Oklahoma by preserving, maintaining, and promoting our natural assets and cultural richness. The department is the steward of the state park system and also promotes Oklahoma as a travel destination through many award-winning programs. To learn more about Oklahoma Tourism visit www.TravelOK.com or follow us at www.Facebook.com/TravelOK or www.Twitter.com/OklahomaTourism.
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