VANCOUVER, BC (May 27, 2013): Tourism Vancouver is delighted to celebrate the successful first year of the Tourism Energy Specialist Program.

Since commencing in May 2012, the program has produced 415,000 kilowatt hours of energy savings in Vancouver's tourism industry and BC Hydro has awarded $69,000 in corresponding grants for energy conservation retrofits.

Tourism Vancouver's Tourism Energy Specialist Program is believed to a worldwide first among destination marketing and management organizations. The program was made possible through sponsorship from BC Hydro with the mandate to guide Tourism Vancouver's 1,000 member hotels, restaurants and attractions in energy efficiency and conservation initiatives.

In his first 12 months in the role, Gwendal Castellan, a trained energy specialist and thermographer, provided 24 energy assessments at Vancouver tourism businesses and identified 2.7 gigawatt hours of potential energy savings (the equivalent of powering 245 homes for a year).

"Our tourism industry has expressed a strong desire to reduce the city's environmental footprint," said Castellan. "By working together toward energy conservation, we've already begun to make a lasting impact."

The Burrard, a historic hotel in Vancouver's downtown core, was one of the businesses to benefit from the program. "Tourism Vancouver helped us produce a comprehensive list of money-saving ideas that complemented and improved our sustainability mission and objectives" said Dani Pretto, general manager. "This year we have already completed two low-cost projects in our garage parking lot as well as pipe insulation for the building's hot water. These easy and quick ideas have led to instant savings. We are also planning a major project to replace our boiler, which will increase our energy savings even more."

MCI, a global consulting and event management company, also took advantage of the program. "Working with Tourism Vancouver allowed us to identify the scope of opportunities for energy conservation in our office" said Ingrid Pinel, manager of administration at the Vancouver office. "The assessment also highlighted some simple decisions that impact energy conservation savings."

"Tourism Vancouver is committed to supporting our "Spectacular by Nature" brand by helping our member businesses identify and implement conservation efforts," said Paul Vallee, Tourism Vancouver's executive vice president. "By helping to build the capacity of the tourism industry to meet the goals set by the City of Vancouver's Greenest City Plan, we are setting ourselves apart as a forward-thinking and world-leading sustainable destination".

Tourism Vancouver's focus is on building exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists.