Last spring, I made my first trip to Monterey County, Calif., and fell in love with the mix of sea, cliffs and mountains. As a Colorado native and someone who also lived in the Midwest for several years, this combination is fairly foreign to me but so unique and suitable for groups that I was excited to hear that the area teamed hosted its first-ever Sustainable Hospitality Development Symposium in February.
I’m also a big fan of partnerships that help preserve a sense of place and natural resources and this resulted from a unique duo indeed: Monterey Bay and Costa Rica, located 3,000 miles apart but united by intent. Monterey County has been at the forefront of sustainable practices and initiatives, and community leaders wanted to take the region to another level and join Costa Rica in serving as world leaders in sustainability.
The Sustainable Hospitality Management program in the College of Business at California State University, Monterey Bay hosted visionaries, public officials, public policy experts, hospitality and tourism professionals and hospitality developers and contractors at the InterContinental The Clement Monterey. The all-day event drew more than 130 attendees, with participants and speakers discussing topics such as sustainable hospitality, ecotourism, eco-recreation development and opportunities.
“The vision for this symposium is for the Monterey Bay region to develop as the center for sustainable hospitality, ecotourism, eco-recreation and health and wellness here in the United States,” said Shyam Kamath, dean of the College of Business at CSUMB. “It would be a wonderful step forward to grow our hospitality, tourism and recreation industries into extremely profitable and sustainable endeavors rivaling Costa Rica, the South of France and other leading sustainable hospitality regions in the world while growing jobs, livelihoods and businesses.”
For example, Allison Gosselin, director of sustainability and engineering at Aramark, delivered the keynote address, sharing how Asilomar Conference Grounds in Monterey County was able to reduce food waste by 55 percent and overall compost waste by 29 percent within the first three months of implementing the program.
Cody Plott, president and COO of Pebble Beach Resorts, discussed the sustainable filtration system that irrigates Pebble Beach’s golf courses and has saved more than 4 billion gallons of potable water since its inception in 1994. The International Association of Golf Tour Operators recently presented the resort with its 2017 IAGTO Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency.
CSUMB plans to continue the sustainable hospitality development conversation with leaders in Costa Rica and hopes to bring community and business leaders from Monterey County to Costa Rica and host a symposium there to brainstorm and further discuss opportunities in eco-tourism and sustainable hospitality. In addition, the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau is committed to continuing its Sustainable Moments initiative, educating visitors in an effort to protect and preserve the region for many generations and groups to come.