What is Virginia Green?
Clean water, clean air, and abundant wildlife are what make our mountains, streams, and beaches so appealing to our tourists. Visitors to Virginia care about the environment and so does our tourism industry! This is the main premise behind Virginia Green. It is a network of tourism-related organizations and programs that are committed to protecting the environment while promoting responsible tourism.
Virginia Green is run through a partnership among the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association (VHTA). The program seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of the tourism industry and raise environmental awareness. It started in September 2006 with outreach to hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and other lodging facilities by the DEQ Office of Pollution Prevention. Virginia Green Lodging became the first established program in the Virginia Green network, but standards are now in place or are being developed for all sectors of the hospitality industry. As of September 2011, Virginia Green and the Virginia Green Suppliers Network have over 1,000 participants including convention and conference centers, restaurants, attractions, lodging facilities, wineries, visitor centers, supporting organizations, suppliers, and even certified Virginia Green events.
DEQ currently manages the application process and provides participant assistance, recognition, and maintenance of the Virginia Green website. As part of Virginia is for Lovers website, VTC hosts a online database that allows consumers to search for accommodations, restaurants, and conference facilities that participate in Virginia Green. Additionally, VTC and VHTA both work to market Virginia Green to the hospitality and tourism industry.
In July, 2009, an advisory committee representing the many interests of Virginia's tourism industry was created. The Virginia Green Advisory Committee (VGAC) was formed to provide guidance on the program's direction, promote Virginia Green within their industry sector and recruit new program participants.
How to Join
Joining is easy and membership in the program is FREE. Simply fill out the Virginia Green application for the appropriate sector and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org
. By filling out the application you are certifying that your facility is addressing the minimum core activities for your sector - this is all that is required to join the program. However, we encourage participants to use the checklist items on the application as suggestions for improving beyond the minimum requirements. Virginia Green profiles are developed for each facility based upon the information provided in the application, allowing environmentally-savvy guests to shop for the “green” amenities that they value!
Virginia Green Suppliers Network
Virginia Green Suppliers Network (VGSN) was created to serve as a recourse for Virginia Green participants that need green products and services. It is meant to serve as a one-stop-shop for Virginia Green and other tourism facilities that are searching for green products and services.
A Virginia Green Supplier is a business that provides “green” products and services to businesses in the hospitality sector – recycling vendors, grease filtering companies, vendors of bio-based food service products, companies that install photovoltaic solar panels, etc. Any business that wants to apply to the Virginia Green program as a Supplier must submit an explanation of the green products or services the business provides. These products or services should assist the Virginia Green members (the hotels, restaurants, etc.) with their own Virginia Green requirements.
Benefits of Joining
Facilities that join Virginia Green realize that Virginia’s tourism industry is closely linked to our beautiful natural resources. We all receive many benefits from protecting our environment, but here are some benefits that come directly from participating in Virginia Green:
- Listed on Virginia Green website and searchable through Virginia is for Lovers (www.Virginia.org/green)
- Virginia Green Certificate for display at your facility
- Use of Virginia Green logo
- Virginia Green profile of your facility
- Increase patronage by environmental groups and environmentally-aware customers
- Save $$$ through cost savings measures
Virginia Green is a partnership program supported by