Marriott International has agreed to participate in corporate lodging platform HRS’ Green Stay Initiative, launched in March, HRS announced Wednesday at the Global Business Travel Association convention in Orlando. The news comes a month after Accor joined the initiative.
Under the Green Stay Initiative, HRS users can select hotels based on sustainability scores, which HRS calculates using a proprietary formula taking various inputs into account.
“A mere seven months after launch, hotels in 72 countries have participated in our Green Stay Initiative, providing timely metrics on their carbon, water and waste operations as companies increasingly require sustainability data for hotels to gain preferred supplier status,” said HRS CEO Tobias Ragge In a statement.
Marriott has committed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, joining the Race to Zero. “HRS’ Green Stay Initiative provides another avenue for us to meet the needs of our stakeholders to publicly and transparently report on our sustainability metrics and progress and share the steps hotels are taking to deliver more sustainable lodging options to business travelers,” said Marriott VP of sustainability and supplier diversity Denise Naguib in a statement.
Southwest Airlines has signed a 15-year agreement with a sustainable aviation fuel producer, and Air Canada is working with a decarbonization technology firm that could also spur more production of SAF, the carriers announced separately on Wednesday.
In Southwest’s agreement with Velocys Renewables, the carrier will receive 219 million gallons of SAF, which can blend with conventional jet fuel to produce as much as 575 million gallons of fuel with net-zero carbon emissions, according to the carrier. Over the period of the agreement, it could potentially lower carbon emissions by 6.5 million metric tons.
Velocys CEO Henrik Wareborn claimed the company’s fuel is “the lowest carbon intensity sustainable aviation fuel announced to date.”
“The SAF produced at the Bayou Fuels facility plans to utilize a sustainable feedstock—forestry residues from plantation forests—and renewable power from a neighboring solar facility, as well as contract for carbon capture that will sequester more than 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year,” according to Wareborn. “It also is expected to have a greater than 99 percent reduction in sulfur as compared to conventional jet fuel, reducing the emissions of this conventional pollutant.”
Southwest plans to begin buying the fuel from Velocys’ facility in Natchez, Miss., in 2026 at the earliest, and the agreement also includes rights to buy “significant volumes” of the fuel from future Velocys facilities, according to Southwest. The carrier aims to replace 10 percent of its jet fuel consumption with SAF by 2030, according to Southwest Airlines senior director of fuel supply chain management Michael AuBuchon.
Southwest in recent weeks announced a SAF fuel purchasing program with corporate clients, in which the companies pay the premium cost of the fuel via cash or UATP funds to receive carbon credits for their emissions, but the amount of fuel currently available limits participation opportunities. Deloitte, Siemens and Zurich North America are initial partners in the program.
Air Canada, meanwhile, announced a memorandum of understanding with Canadian energy firm Carbon Engineering, which aims to deploy technology capable of large-scale carbon capture, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The carrier will work with the firm “to advance new, transformational technologies toward the commercial viability of SAFs and carbon removal,” according to Air Canada EVP and CFO Amos Kazzaz.
Besides permanently storing captured carbon dioxide deep underground, captured carbon potentially could be used to develop ultra-low carbon fuels, including SAF, when combined with clean hydrogen, according to Air Canada.
Carbon Engineering has been operating a pilot plant in British Colombia capturing carbon dioxide since 2015, and it is working to deploy megaton-scale facilities. One such large-scale facility is under development in the United States by 1PointFive, in which Air Canada partner United Airlines announced a multimillion-dollar investment last year, and it is targeting 2024 to begin operations.
Accor has agreed to participate in HRS’ Green Stay Initiative, launched in March, making it the first global hotel company to do so, HRS announced Wednesday.
Under the partnership, Accor hotels will share their on-property sustainability enhancements with HRS, including performance metrics on energy—including carbon emissions—water and waste. HRS then uses a proprietary algorithm to generate a sustainability score that travel managers can consider when making hotel sourcing decisions. Clients also can turn on an icon in online booking displays to enable their travelers to see the preferred green hotels in their programs.
“Dozens of corporations have already indicated in their hotel [requests for proposals] that metrics on energy, water and waste are required for consideration,” said HRS CEO Tobias Ragge in a statement. “The need for automation to efficiently deliver such data from hotels to procurement leaders and travelers is vital in today’s corporate lodging landscape.”
HRS already has calculated Green Stay scores for some Accor properties and plans eventually to include “all brands in all countries,” according to an HRS spokesperson. As of mid-October, hotels in 62 countries are participating in Green Stay, according to HRS.
International tourism enjoyed signs of rebound in June and July as some destinations eased travel restrictions and the global vaccination rollout advanced in many parts of the world.
According to the latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, an estimated 54 million tourists crossed international borders in July, down 67 per cent from the same month in 2019.
However, this is the strongest results since April 2020.
This compares to an estimated 34 million international arrivals recorded in July 2020, though well below the 164 million figure recorded in 2019.
Most destinations reporting data for June and July this year saw a moderate rebound in international arrivals compared to 2020.
Nevertheless, 2021 continues to be a challenging year for global tourism, with international arrivals down 80 per cent in January-July compared to 2019.
Asia and the Pacific continued to suffer the weakest results in the period January to July, with a 95 per cent drop in international arrivals compared to 2019.
The Middle East (down 82 per cent) recorded the second largest decline, followed by Europe and Africa (both down 77 per cent).
The Americas (down 68 per cent) saw a comparatively smaller decrease, with the Caribbean showing the best performance among world subregions.
Meanwhile, some small islands in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific, together with a few small European destinations recorded the best performance in June and July, with arrivals close to, or sometimes exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
This improvement was underpinned by the reopening of many destinations to international travel, mostly in Europe and the Americas.
The relaxation of travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers, coupled with progress made in the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines, contributed to lifting consumer confidence and gradually restoring safe mobility in Europe and other parts of the world.
In contrast, most destinations in Asia remain closed to non-essential travel.
UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “There is clearly a strong demand for international tourism, and many destinations have started welcoming visitors back safely and responsibly.
“However, the true restart of tourism and the benefits it brings, remain on hold as inconsistent rules and regulations and uneven vaccination rates continue to affect confidence in travel.”
Although destinations continued to report weak international tourism revenues in the first seven months of 2021, several did record a modest improvement in June and July, and some even surpassed the earnings of 2019.
Among the larger destinations, Mexico earned roughly the same tourism receipts in June 2021 as in 2019, and in July posted a two per cent increase over 2019.
The same is true for outbound travel.
Among the larger markets, France (down 35 per cent) and the United States (down 49 per cent) saw a significant improvement in July, though tourism spending was still well below 2019 levels.
American Airlines is investing $100 million as one of the anchor partners for Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, which aims to accelerate clean energy technologies.
Founded by Gates in 2015, Breakthrough Energy Catalyst is a cooperation of businesses, governments and private philanthropy to reduce the “green premium,” the more expensive costs associated with using technology and processes that help reduce carbon production as opposed to traditional fossil-fuel-emitting methods. That includes development of sustainable aviation fuel, which currently is much more expensive to produce than standard fuel.
“Avoiding a climate disaster will require a new industrial revolution,” Gates said in a statement. “We need to make the technologies and products that don’t cause emissions as cheap as those that do, so the whole world can afford to put them to use.”
American’s investment is part of more than $1 billion in corporate funding announced by Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, including backing from Microsoft, General Motors, Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group and ArcelorMittal SA.
An announcement is expected this week about which countries will be moved to the red, amber and green lists.
It comes as the traffic-light system for UK travellers could come to an end at the start of next month, it has been reported.
But, while it remains in place, there will still be countries on the red, green and amber list – although they could be moved around, reports WalesOnline.
Government Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to make the latest announcement on what countries will be moved to the red, amber and green lists later this week.
There are currently 62 locations on the red list, including Mexico, Tunisia, Turkey, and much of South America and Africa.
This week, Pakistan and the Maldives are two of the top three tip-offs to move from red to amber for UK tourists. Turkey is the third rumoured to switch to amber.
Oman and the Dominican Republic are among the other countries which could move in the current traffic light system.
The traffic light system is reviewed by the government roughly every three weeks. If the next review lands on the expected Wednesday or Thursday this week, then any changes made won’t come into effect until a few days to a week afterwards.
The lists are decided based on:
For countries on the amber list, a PCR test is needed two days after arriving in the country, as well as a Covid test three days before returning. Fully vaccinated adults can skip the additional day eight PCR.
This means that for those who are double vaccinated, there isn’t much difference between amber and green list countries.
Red list countries require a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and mandatory PCR testing on day two and eight.
It is being reported that the traffic light system will come to an end around October 1.
The Telegraph has said that PCR tests would not be needed for double vaccinated travellers.
But there has been no official word on this yet.
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Spanish and Greek islands could be added to the UK’s green list as soon as June 8, ministers have suggested, even if their mainlands stay amber.
Robert Courts, the aviation minister, told MPs that the Government would treat popular tourist islands with low Covid rates separately “where possible” as it prepares to reveal the next tranche of destinations that could be added to the quarantine-free list at the start of next month.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC’s Today programme on Wednesday: “I’ve always said that of course it’s desirable where an aircraft can fly direct to an island, for example, and that island is therefore accessible in that you don’t need to go via the mainland, that you look at that differently. That’s what we did last year as well.”
This would put the Canary, Balearic and Greek islands – all boasting eligible data for the green list – back on the map for holidays ahead of the summer season, in addition to other Mediterranean and even Caribbean isles.
Frontrunners are also understood to include Malta, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Fiji, British Virgin Islands, Finland and Caribbean islands thought to include Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos and Anguilla.
In less promising news, Austria has joined Germany in banning direct flights from the UK over concerns at the rising number of cases of the Indian variant.
Scroll down for more of the latest
The traffic light system intended to simplify the resumption of overseas travel has only led to more confusion.
With tour operators running trips to destinations on the amber list, against the advice of the Department for Transport (DfT), but in line with guidance from the Foreign Office (FCDO), choosing where to go on holiday has never been so complicated.
Below we have tried to cut through the noise to tell you what exactly you are allowed to do when it comes to a summer break, and what is forbidden by law.
Am I allowed to go on holiday to an amber list country?
By law, yes. If the country is accepting entry for leisure purposes, there is no legal barrier to stop you from going on holiday to an amber list country, provided you are happy to quarantine on return.
But Grant Shapps said I shouldn’t go on holiday to an amber list country?
That’s right, he did. And the Department for Transport says “you should not travel” to these countries. However, you can. It is guidance and not law.
Many were delighted when the Government announced international travel would resume from May 17. However, the recently unveiled traffic light system only permits Brits to travel to a select group of countries at the present time. Many are hopeful more countries will be added to the green list over the coming weeks, as holiday destinations are currently limited.
At the current time, the following countries are included on the travel green list:
Several countries are included on the Government’s travel amber list, which requires people to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return to the UK.
The red list includes countries such as South Africa, the Maldives, India and the UAE.
People are required to self-isolate in a mandatory quarantine hotel upon returning to the UK from a red list country.
These hotels are Government-approved and are paid for at the expense of the person travelling.
Mr Shapps said: “We’re reviewing this all the time, every three weeks.
“The next review is the first week in June and we’ll have to see what happens.
“I know it’s been an incredibly tough year and there are extreme circumstances where people will feel that it is the right thing to do – perhaps because they have a sick family member and some extreme situations where they’ll travel in the orange category.
“But by and large we are just asking people to be a little bit patient as other countries catch up with our world-leading vaccination programme and then people will be able to, I hope, travel.”