YHA New Zealand is the global winner of the “Best Green Accommodation Initiative” for the WYSE Global Youth Travel Awards 2016. The awards celebrate outstanding performers within the international youth, student and educational travel industry and act as a benchmark for excellence within the sector.
YHA New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Mark Wells, is proud of this achievement. Mr Wells says, “Once again, it is fantastic to get international recognition of YHA New Zealand’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible tourism. We are extremely proud of this award, which reflects this commitment through all our activity.” The Green Accommodation Initiative recognises accommodation providers with the most comprehensive environmentally sustainable programmes, caring for both customers and the environment.
The Global Youth Travel Awards acknowledge a person or organisation making outstanding contributions to the youth, student and educational travel industry. Thirteen categories were recognised in 2016, as judged by industry experts and consumers. Winners were announced at the 25th annual World Youth and Student Travel Conference in Belgrade, Serbia, on 23 September 2016.
All YHA hostels have policies of reducing energy and water use, tracking carbon emissions, and recycling. Solar panels were installed at YHA Franz Josef and YHA Wellington earlier this year. YHA Rotorua harnesses geothermal energy with a down-bore heat exchanger, which reduces their carbon emissions by 30%. Guests are also given the opportunity to reduce the impact of their travel on the environment by purchasing native trees through the Green Footprint Project, founded by YHA in 2004.