Press release from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, shared Feb. 10:

RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, in partnership with the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University, have launched the NC GreenTravel Initiative, a program that recognizes state travel-related businesses that employ healthy environmental practices.

“This program is a way to spotlight North Carolina’s commitment to sustainable practices and recognize businesses that have integrated greener practices into their daily routine,” said Edythe McKinney, director of the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. “Hopefully those who visit businesses recognized as NC GreenTravel sites will see how conservation and waste reduction can be integrated into their home or business.”

According to many business analysts, using sustainable practices in the tourism industry brings environmental benefits and can also help businesses save money through reduced energy and water use, and reduction of waste. In addition, it can generate more income for those “green” businesses that cater to the growing sector of the public who are interested in purchasing environmentally friendly products and services.

While several other states have created programs to certify “green” hotels, North Carolina’s NC GreenTravel Initiative goes a step beyond by awarding special recognition to hotels, restaurants, museums, parks, attractions and other tourism-related businesses for their environmental sustainability accomplishments.

Businesses seeking recognition by the NC GreenTravel Initiative can submit an online application. The application features categories related to recycling, energy management, water conservation and other sustainable actions, along with an associated score. Once the points are tallied, the business is awarded recognition on one of three levels based on its overall score.

Applicants that are recognized by the NC GreenTravel Initiative will receive a wall certificate and door decal identifying them as members of the NC GreenTravel community. They will also be listed as a sustainable travel business on the NC GreenTravel website at

For information about the program, contact Tom Rhodes, NC GreenTravel program coordinator, at or 919-707-8140; or Alex Naar, director of sustainable tourism outreach at East Carolina University, at  or 252-737-1346.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may republish our stories for free, online or in print. Simply copy and paste the article contents from the box below. Note, some images and interactive features may not be included here.

Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *