A pilot scheme to be unveiled in London next week will see hotels, guesthouses, event venues and attractions graded for their environmental performance by independent auditors in a bid to improve their energy consumption.
Under the Green Tourism for London (GTL) scheme, spearheaded by the London Development Agency, hotels will be graded as bronze, silver or gold based on their environmental policies and practices. The inspection will conduct 150 separate measures of sustainability, including use of energy and water, as well as waste disposal and purchasing procedures.
GTL launches next Wednesday (24 October) as a pilot, with the aim of recruiting 150 hotels in the next two years.
Only venues that are graded in the quality schemes run by either VisitBritain or the AA will be eligible. GTL will be voluntary, with joining fees ranging from £260 to £560 while two-year subsidies range from £100 to £150.
However the first 150 businesses to join will receive a 50% cut in their joining fees.
Ramada Jarvis will be one of the first hotel operators to participate in the GTL, adopting the scheme nationally. The group aims to have all 40 of its hotels at bronze standard by the end of the year and claims it will save £1m in energy bills - the equivalent of 20% of its annual costs.
Calum Ross, regional director for Ramada Jarvis, said: "For us it's a commercial as well as a sustainability issue. There is huge competitive advantage in having an independently audited award that tells consumers what we are trying to do."
London Mayor Ken Livingston also threw his weight behind the campaign this week. "Consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and Green Tourism for London will allow visitors to choose the greenest possible options during their stay," he said.
By Christopher Walton