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Irene Lane Founder of GreenloonsAs everyone knows, the green travel / eco travel trend is gaining full momentum, particularly among today's socially conscious consumers. However, just as green travel is becoming mainstream, so has the trend for greenwashing or fake claims of sustainability and eco-friendly practices, making it challenging for responsible tourism business owners to make smart, informed decisions.

This is why Greenloons has unveiled its Sustainability Consulting arm offering a variety of data-driven services to tourism business owners including the calculation of return on investment (ROI) for sustainable tourism, psychographic analysis of the American eco-traveler, eco-certification audits, and community development strategies.

Green is big. And, so is greenwashing! Last week, I participated in the Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) that was held on Hilton Head Island. The conference was held at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa and it brought together hundreds of ecotourism business professionals, government officials and students to discuss ecotourism trends, business opportunities, and case studies.

I was rather excited to visit Hilton Head Island and this Westin in particular with its emphasis on wellness from the rooms to its surroundings to its restaurant menus. Although not a golfer, I thought it would be fun to explore the area, learn more about its history including the Gullah culture, and sample some great seafood and barbeque. What I didn’t expect was the blatant use of green marketing methods to confuse visitors into thinking they were being environmentally conscious.

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