Washington DC is first LEED-Platinum city in world: Elliott L Ferguson, II

Focus on sustainability provides competitive advantage
2023-09-27
/
/ New Delhi
Washington DC
Washington DC is first LEED-Platinum city in world: Elliott L Ferguson, II

Destination DC is the first urban destination in the United States with a staff position solely focused on sustainability, says Ferguson

The United Nations World Tourism Day has set sustainability as the key focus theme for the World Tourism Day 2023. For Destination DC, the tourism marketing organisation of Washington DC, the capital of the United States, sustainability has been a key focus for long, making the city the first urban destination in the world to bag LEED-Platinum certification, says Elliott L Ferguson, II, Destination DC President and CEO.
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Elliott L Ferguson

Elliott L Ferguson

As the main theme is Green Investments, how well is Washington DC placed in this?

Destination DC recognises that sustainable travel options are a priority for travellers worldwide. We provide a growing sustainability guide on our website, where visitors can explore sustainable accommodations, book eco-friendly tours and find farm-to-table restaurants and other green-focused businesses. 

Washington, DC is the first LEED-Platinum city in the world, has been rated the top city in the United States for green space by the Trust for Public Land, and the city’s development projects increasingly focus on green initiatives. A great example of this is the Wharf, a new waterfront development along the Potomac River where every building was designed to achieve Gold LEED certification. It was also just recently announced that Washington, DC’s Walter E Washington Convention Center has been awarded LEED Gold certification.

What are the key decisions taken by you to promote sustainable tourism?

I am proud to say that Destination DC is the first urban destination in the United States with a staff position solely focused on sustainability. In addition to it being the right thing to do for future generations, a sustainability focus provides a competitive advantage, especially when attracting the international trade and MICE market. Destination DC’s strength is marketing, and we will continue to invest in promoting all facets of our destination, including sustainability and the steps tourism and hospitality businesses are taking to become more sustainable.

How are you dealing with challenges of talent pool?

Destination DC recently hired a Talent Acquisition Manager to focus on employee recruitment and retention. The person in this role has made a huge different in the hiring process and the applicant experience. As an organisation, we continue to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion when hiring and retaining talent, looking just as much at an applicant’s fit within company culture as we do their experience. Our staff has nearly doubled in the past year.

How serious is climate change for your destination and what measures are you taking to abate its impact?

Washington, DC knows the importance of becoming a sustainable destination and its leadership has implemented strategies to combat the city’s environmental impact. Mayor Muriel Bowser is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and the city consistently puts new climate action into practice, like the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s 2023 announcement to transition to 100 pc Zero-Emission Metrobuses by 2042. In 2022, DC was the only United States destination, and one of only 65 in the world, to submit a Global Destination Sustainability-Index Assessment. The GDSI is an evaluation that benchmarks best practices with other destinations around the world and ultimately improves global performance.

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