Travel Green Wisconsin is a certification program for businesses promoting sustainable travel and eco-tourism. “Businesses really do save money in the long run and visitors can feel good about what they’re doing … Just traveling a little bit lighter … it’s simple things that they can do. When you take a shower and the water coming out is a little less, you don’t notice it but it saves thousands of gallons of water.”
Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett says the Travel Green Wisconsin program is cost-effective for businesses and it is great for travelers who want to reduce their carbon footprint.
Green categories include: Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling; Energy Efficiency, Conservation, and Management; Water Conservation and Wastewater Management; Air Quality; Wildlife and Landscape Conservation and Management; Transportation; Purchasing; Local Community Benefits; and Communication and Education.
Businesses on the program, for example, give travelers the option to re-use bedding during a hotel stay without daily washings. Klett says both the business and the traveler benefit from these measures. “The benefit for the business is that they will actually save money in the long run. You know when you have a new heater, when you have less water being used, when you have a recycling program that works you’re saving money.” Klett says surveys from travelers are revealing. “If they have the choice between a place that is Travel Green certified — where they know that carbon footprint is going to be a little less — versus one at the same cost that doesn’t have that, they’re gonna choose the certification.”
Travel Green Wisconsin certified businesses support local farmers, businesses, and artists. A traveler can recognize a certified business by the logo prominently displayed in its window, on its website, and in its literature. Also, check travelwisconsin.com for a list of participating businesses or for an application. The Travel Green Wisconsin directory provides access to all Wisconsin green certified businesses right at your fingertips.
Wisconsin has a long history of environmental conservation with Gaylord Nelson — the founder of Earth Day — and also John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and many others. Klett says this travel green program honors Wisconsin’s environmental past as we look toward saving our resources in the future.
The Department of Tourism initiated Travel Green Wisconsin in 2006 to promote smart, environmentally friendly business practices. The program is the first of its kind state-sponsored sustainable travel green certification in the nation and has become a model for sustainable travel efforts.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 2:00