Just Launched iStayGreen.org Helps Travelers Separate Green from Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a big problem in travel, especially with hotels, and the newly launched social network travel website iStayGreen.org plans to separate truly "Green" from hoteliers employing sneaky PR tactics to appear eco-friendly.

Phoenix, AZ, June 27, 2008 --(PR.com)-- 43 million U.S. travelers say they’re concerned about the environment, based on a recent study done by the Green Hotel Association. They should be concerned. Travel accounts for 1.25 billion tons of carbon dioxide (5% of the annual world CO2 total) and is expected to increase fourfold by 2020, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The International Ecotourism Society found that 70% of travelers would be willing to pay a premium rate for a hotel that is eco-friendly over its better-priced counterpart that’s environmentally irresponsible. The dilemma for the 43 million concerned U.S. travelers is how do they make a difference?

To compound matters, many hotels and resorts now tout their environmentally friendly practices to lure eco-conscious travelers. But are they really green, or just greenwashing? It can be hard for consumers to tell if a hotel is truly eco-friendly or just employing sneaky PR tactics. Green hotels are hard to find too. With no internationally recognized standard for what Green is the traveler is left having to sort it out for themselves. According to Richard Varner, founder of iStayGreen.org “We see these 43 million travelers as the basis for a grassroots effort that can and will change the way people travel and interact with the travel industry and their environment. They’re already concerned, all they need is a platform to make their voice heard, a way to put pressure on the travel industry to be transparent and Green-up! That’s why iStayGreen.org was created.”

Richard goes on to say “we’ve created a social network structure, much like Facebook, where our members can rally together to support the cause of environmental sustainability. Our users are encouraged to provide hotel reviews, but unlike TripAdvisor and other similar review sites our members review and rate the property’s eco-friendliness. Members can also dialog directly with hotel management to applaud their efforts or express their concerns. As membership and reviews continue to increase tremendous social pressure will force hoteliers to be transparent and environmentally responsible.”

Lodging properties are part of the solution. iStayGreen.org lists over 95,000 properties worldwide with just under 3,000 currently Green Leaf Rated (their proprietary green rating system). To earn a Green Leaf Rating hotels must complete a thorough self-audit and are then rated based on their eco-initiatives. This enables anyone using the iStayGreen.org site to quickly locate and compare Green Lodging worldwide.

iStayGreen.org believes this grassroots effort will snowball quickly into a million+members providing eco-hotel reviews and a majority of properties worldwide earning Green Eco-Leaf Ratings.

Visit iStayGreen.org today and be part of the solution.

About iStayGreen.org: At http://www.iStayGreen.org members are empowered to make a difference. The social networking structure enables iStayGreen users to create their own profiles, interact with other users, interact with property management, review and rate properties, and plan and reserve their online travel. iStayGreen.org is building a community of eco-conscious travelers helping them make quality choices they can feel good about.

Richard Varner