Vancouver, BC: Tourism Vancouver's recent appointment of a tourism energy specialist is believed to be a worldwide first among destination marketing and management organizations. The role was made possible through sponsorship from BC Hydro with the mandate to guide member hotels, restaurants and attractions in energy efficiency and conservation initiatives.
The new tourism energy specialist role will enable Tourism Vancouver to more actively support the City of Vancouver's Greenest City Action Plan and goal to be the world's "greenest" city by 2020. The services of the tourism energy specialist will build on the BC Hydro partnership and further assist Tourism Vancouver's 1,000-plus member businesses to manage their energy and realize financial savings.
A 2011 survey conducted by Capilano University on behalf of Tourism Vancouver found that 81 per cent of Tourism Vancouver member businesses were interested in the services of an energy specialist.
"As the destination marketing and management organization for Vancouver, respect and stewardship of our spectacular natural setting is important to us," commented Paul Vallee, Tourism Vancouver's executive vice president. "Our new tourism energy specialist position helps to ensure we're conscious of our environmental footprint while doing our job to position Vancouver as one of the top destinations worldwide."
BC Hydro has partnered with Tourism Vancouver since 2008 to offer resources and education to member businesses, including funding the successful Ambassadors for Conservation Program. This year, Tourism Vancouver has been nominated for a BC Hydro Power Smart Excellence Award in the Conservation Partner category.
"Conservation and being smart with your power is the most environmentally friendly and least expensive way to meet future demand for electricity," said Lisa Coltart, executive director Power Smart, BC Hydro. "We expect demand to grow by about 50 per cent over the next 20 years. Energy management is an effective tool to help businesses be more energy-efficient and sustainable."
After a wide search, Vancouver-based Gwendal Castellan was hired to fill the role of tourism energy specialist. Castellan holds a Geography degree from the University of Victoria as well as a certificate in Sustainable Energy Management from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. An avid cyclist, Castellan is the former executive director of the Stanley Park Bike Festival, former vice president of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (now HUB), and produced and directed an award-winning film documenting his journey cycling from Patagonia to the Northwest Territories.
Prior to joining Tourism Vancouver, Castellan worked as a certified energy advisor and thermographer for CityGreen. His role at Tourism Vancouver will include working with member businesses to identify conservation opportunities, striving to make Tourism Vancouver an energy conservation champion and supporting Vancouver's "Spectacular, by nature" brand promise.
Tourism Vancouver's focus is on building visitor demand through exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists.
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Interviews with Tourism Vancouver and BC Hydro available upon request.
Photo of Gwendal Castellan available upon request.