Growing Interest in Sustainable Tourism Among Mexican Travelers Says CEO of Travelocity Mexico

Travelocity Mexico CEO, Rodrigo Cobo

In June, Travelocity Mexico announced the first new Green Hotels Directory in Mexico and signed a cooperation agreement with Rainforest Alliance.   (See press release below following Q&A).   Travelocity.com.mx is now the first and only travel agency in Mexico to offer a full range of green services.

CEO of Travelocity Mexico, Rodrigo Cobo, talks to The MEXICO Report about Green certifications for hotels in Mexico, Travelocity Mexico’s new Green Hotel Directory and more.

In regards to clean technologies, waste management, recycling, carbon offsets, biodiversity conservation and other categories, how exactly are those efforts measured?  

For a hotel to be included in our Green Hotels Directory, it hast to prove to be verified and certified by a second or third party certification program whose standards align with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC).

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides a comprehensive definition of what it means to be a sustainable tourism provider. We encourage all of our partners to look at ways they can align their programs with the GSTC, as this is the most valuable global framework for distinguishing and harmonizing sustainability criteria in the hospitality industry today, and will continue to grow as a global framework for programs like ours.

Are the hotel regulations for obtaining a green certification the same in Mexico as they are in the U.S. or Canada?

Travelocity’s Green Hotel Directory works with second- and third-party green hotel verification and certification programs such as Rainforest Alliance whose standards closely align with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) and who can guarantee an audit. This distinguishes our Directory from other less rigorous programs and promotes a standard framework for “sustainable tourism.” We know our customers trust us to hold the line against “green washing” and provide them with eco-friendly hotels that have been verified.  Bottom-line yes, the regulations for a green certification is the same all over the world, and align with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria

Are there certain levels of qualification for green certification? 

Yes, the one leaf icon symbolizes that this hotel meets all the green requirements and has been verified and/or certified by one of our partners such as Rainforest Alliance. Unlike some travel sites, Travelocity.com.mx does not accept “self-certified hotels” into its Green Hotel Directory. When you find the Eco-Friendly Hotel tag, you can rest assured that it’s a symbol you–and the Earth–can trust.

How have the responses been since launching the Green Hotels Directory in June?

We don’t have results yet, but I can assure you that the response from the Mexicans travelers has been very positive as they are very concerned on taking care of the environment.

Are you seeing an interest in bookings on this directory?

There is a growing interest among Mexican travelers for practicing sustainable tourism. Travelocity.com.mx competitive advantage among other travel agencies is that we care and know what the Mexican traveler is looking for, which are their likes and preferences, and as a result of this knowledge that’s why we decided to launch this Green Hotels Directory

Why was it important for Travelocity.com.mx to create this directory? Had you seen an increase in concern for the environment?

Yes, the creation of the Green Hotels Directory in Travelocity.com.mx responses to a global concern for reducing the impact of the tourism industry over our environment. According to data of the World Tourism Organization, the tourism industry is the producer of 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. In Travelocity we are committed to minimize the environmental impact of our global business operations and to promote sustainable business practices in travel and tourism industry as a way to reduce our own environmental footprint, promote sustainable business practices within the travel industry, and offer our customers products and services that will help them promote sustainable travel.

Press Release from Travelocity Mexico Announcing Green Hotels Directory Mexico

Travelocity.com.mx announces the first Green Hotels Directory in Mexico and signs a cooperation agreement with Rainforest Alliance

  • Travelocity.com.mx is now the first and only travel agency in Mexico to offer a full range of green service, available at http://www.travelocity.com.mx/hotelesverdes 
  • Fairmont Mayakoba, hotel recently verified by Rainforest Alliance, participated as witness of honor at the signing of the agreement.

Mexico City, June 1, 2011 – There are more than 900 million people traveling around the world each year. But the permanent people flow, and the activities around it, has caused the tourism industry to become the producer of 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to data of the World Tourism Organization.

As part of the World Environment Day, Travelocity.com.mx, the online travel agency leader in Mexico, introduced the first Green Hotels Directory for Mexico and signed a collaboration agreement with Rainforest Alliance; in order to help curb the negative impact of industry and to promote green tourism in Mexico.

For over 20 years, Rainforest Alliance has worked to protect biodiversity, as well as the rights and welfare of workers and local communities. As a conservational organization, it works with farmers, forest managers and tourism professionals around the world by developing practices that protect water, soil, wildlife habitat and ecosystems.

In that sense, through this agreement, Travelocity.com.mx becomes the first and only online travel agency in Mexico to offer a full range of green services.

In a joint press conference between Travelocity, Rainforest Alliance and Fairmont Mayakoba, Rodrigo Cobo, CEO of Travelocity Mexico, commented that “this initiative is our answer to the global concern for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide generated by tourism, while it also offers travelers concerned with reducing the impact of their actions on the environment, a wide variety of green hotels and destinations that have been certified by the most important and recognized worldwide verifying associations, among which stands Rainforest Alliance”.

Marilu Hernandez, Director of Rainforest Alliance highlighted the importance of promoting sustainability culture, not only among the tourism entrepreneurs, but moreover among the tourists. According to Hernandez, this is a best practice that should turn into a call to action for families that while traveling, can also have greater contact with nature and get encouraged to respect and protect the ecosystems they visit.

The partnership between Rainforest Alliance and Travelocity.com.mx will be using verification mechanisms to make sure that the tourism services offered in the Green Hotel Directory hold full compliance with international norms and standards for sustainable tourism, according to the framework of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

The hotels that appear in the Green Hotels Directory of Travelocity.com.mx are certified or verified in a detailed process that includes aspects such as use of clean technologies, waste management and recycling, carbon offsets, biodiversity conservation, among other categories.

In addition, Veronica Escobar, Public Relations Manager for Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, AAA Five Diamond hotel verified by Rainforest Alliance said that “caring for the environment is everyone’s responsibility. It is a real privilege for us to share this special moment with Travelocity, because the agreement they are signing with Rainforest Alliance makes clear the commitment towards sustainable tourism. Through Travelocity.com.mx Green Hotels Directory, we will continue to promote green travel options. ”

Travelocity.com.mx along with Rainforest Alliance understands what it means to be a real sustainable tourism provider and it is shown by the signing of this cooperation agreement and the launch of the Green Hotels Directory. At the same time, both organizations encourage their members to adapt their infrastructure and processes for practices which minimize the negative environmental impact.

“We urge all our partners to find ways to adapt their programs to the rules of GSTC and be verified by Rainforest Alliance, as is the overall framework of greater value to differentiate and to harmonize the criteria of sustainability in the tourism industry nowadays”, said Rodrigo Cobo. “Because we care about the environment, we take care of this matter”.

Disclosure: This article is presented on behalf of my work for Mexico Today.  Although I’m being compensated for my work in creating content for the México Today program, all stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Mexico Today is an initiative of Marca País – Imagen de México, a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that people experience every day.

Susie Albin-Najera
Susie Albin-Najera is the creator and editor of The Mexico Report, an award winning travel blog showcasing news, deals and resources for the modern traveler. Najera is a writer, author, travel blogger, marketing and public relations specialist and producer. Najera serves on the host committee for Maestro Cares, founded by singer Marc Anthony and producer Henry Cardenas; and on the advisory board for Corazon de Vida, providing aid to children in Mexico. She is also the creator of 'The Real Heroes of Mexico' showcasing community heroes in Mexico and producer of Latino Thought Makers. Najera has been recognized by the Mexican Consulate and Mexico Tourism Board for fostering positive relations between countries and her dedication to showcasing Mexico as a premiere destination. She can be reached at info@themexicoreport.com

8 comments for “Growing Interest in Sustainable Tourism Among Mexican Travelers Says CEO of Travelocity Mexico

  1. 2011-07-27 at 9:46 am

    Love the idea of the Rainforest Alliance certification! So many hotels out there call themselves “green” just because they recycle.

    Great interview, Susie!

    • Susie Albin-Najera
      2011-07-27 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks Laura! Yes, there is so much more to being green. I’m glad to see Mexico hotels taking such great measures to become certified! :)

    • Susie Albin-Najera
      2011-07-29 at 7:35 am

      Exactly and this will be a great directory to ‘weed’ those ones out. Thanks for the note!

  2. 2011-07-27 at 8:45 am

    Great interview! Hopefully eco-ness will start to play a larger factor when it comes to picking a hotel, and hopefully: “Travelocity.com.mx does not accept “self-certified hotels” into its Green Hotel Directory,” remains true as demand for eco-hotels rises.

    • Susie Albin-Najera
      2011-07-27 at 9:17 am

      Thanks Chase – and agreed!

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