Sustainable Tourism

BLUE COMMUNITY CONSORTIUM - UNWTO

The New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau is a member of the Blue Community Consortium. The Blue Community Consortium seeks to protect oceans, coastal habitats and marine environments in Florida through implementing Blue Community and other sustainable tourism strategies. The Waves of Change Blue Community program is an opportunity for coastal communities to declare their own work to protect the oceans and promote ocean sustainability. The oceans are under increasing threats from pollution, overfishing, impacts of climate change including coral bleaching, acidification, and increased storm intensity. The Waves of Change campaign is responding to these issues with ocean clean-up programs, improving ocean literacy, supporting ocean champions, ecosystems restoration, and programs to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Unless policies for protection of the oceans and promotion of ocean sustainability are increased, coastal communities are likely to experience adverse impacts. The Blue Community program is a place for learning and sharing those best practices which mitigate those impacts. It currently has 12 strategies in place to protect coastal habitats and marine environments:

  • Improve building design - build more sustainably and for disaster reduction
  • Promote mass transportation - reduce carbon emissions
  • Reduce energy use
  • Water conservation
  • Improve waste management
  • Reduce use of plastic
  • Promote local Organic or Hydroponic food
  • Promote sustainable seafood
  • Protect coastal habitat and cultural heritage
  • Clean marina initiative
  • Education
  • Planning, policy and management

Click the image to take the OneLessStraw Pledge

THE RESPONSIBLE TOURIST AND TRAVELLER

Travel and tourism should be planned and practiced as a means of individual and collective fulfillment. Everyone has a role to play creating responsible travel and tourism. Governments, businesses and communities must do all they can, but as a guest you can support this in many ways to make a difference:

THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON

The Indian River Lagoon is comprised of three water bodies: the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and Indian River. The lagoon travels 156 miles along the east coast from the Ponce de Leon Inlet to the Jupiter Inlet. It is the most biologically diverse estuary in the Northern hemisphere and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants and animals and serves as a spawning and nursery ground for many different species of oceanic and lagoon fish and shellfish. It also has one of the most diverse bird populations. Nearly 1/3 of the nation's manatee population lives here or migrates here seasonally, and over 1,000 Bottlenose dolphins live in the Indian River Lagoon. Its ocean beaches also provide one of the densest sea turtle nesting areas. The 2016 economic valuation can be seen as follows:

  • Total annual economic output received from the Indian River Lagoon in 2014 was $7.6 billion
  • $934 million in annualized real estate value added for properties located on or near the Indian River Lagoon
  • $9.9 billion economic contributions from estuarine-related resources in Volusia County north of Ponce de Leon Inlet
  • Recreation and visitor related activity related to the IRL: $1.57 billion
  • By 2025, the IRL regions expect to receive 11 million visitors annually

Declaration of support for the IRL National Estuary Program (IRL NEP):

  • Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority
  • Brevard County Tourism Development Council
  • Indian River County Chamber of Commerce
  • St. Lucie County Tourism Development Council
  • Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing

Recognition of the importance of the IRL: 

  • Ecological
  • Economic value to our region: nearly 1 million people live and work in the IRL. It accounts for $300 million in fisheries revenue, $2.1 billion citrus industry, $300 million in boat and marine sales annually
  • Visitors spend an estimated 3.2 million personal days in recreation on the lagoon
  • Protect and restore: water quality, climate change, wildlife, habitats

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTER

Project H2O (Healthy Habitat through Outreach) - Bringing together government agencies, environmental organizations, local universities, and non-profits to collaborate on research, education, restoration and funding opportunities to improve Volusia County waters and the Indian River Lagoon. Programs in place:

  • Protect Our Lagoon Academy

GREEN VOLUSIA

The Green Volusia Program was established to expand green practices within county government operations and to provide information and education about environmentally responsible practices that benefit the community. The Green Volusia program has many goals, which include encouraging stewardship and conservation of Volusia County's natural resources and promoting an understanding of the benefits provided by these natural resources. The Green Volusia program coordinates the Volusia County Sustainability Action Plan, which was adopted on February 20, 2014.

The plan identifies seven specific sustainability goals:

  1. Provide a Healthy Economy: create a sustainable business environment, retain viable commercial agriculture operations, and provide a high quality of life through provision of community amenities such as parks, libraries, and cultural amenities.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Environment: protect, restore, and manage natural lands, manage and protect surface water bodies, protect threatened and endangered species, and plan for adaptation to sea level rise.
  3. Promote a Healthy Community: encourage local food production, provide for urban open space, improve opportunities for walking and biking, and protect urban tree canopies to provide for the continued health of Volusia County's residents, businesses, and visitors
  4. Encourage Efficient Transportation and Community Design: reduce automobile fuel consumption and emissions, improve pedestrian and transit-oriented development, and discourage single-occupancy vehicle use.
  5. Conserve Water and Promote Water Efficiency: conserve potable water supply through conservation measures applicable to both indoor and outdoor water use in existing buildings and new construction.
  6. Conserve Energy and Promote Renewable Energy: encourage energy efficiency retrofits for existing buildings, enhance energy performance for new construction, increase use of renewable energy, improve community energy management, provide alternative fuel options, and improve the county's vehicle fleet.
  7. Reduce Waste and Promote Recycling: build on past county successes to identify strategies to increase waste diversion rates and educate residents to become well-informed consumers.

HOTEL ENERGY SOLUTIONS

Benchmark your energy use/efficiency by using this free tool to assess your current energy use/efficiency and carbon footprint against similar enterprises. The Hotel Energy Solutions e-Toolkit is comprised of an energy benchmarking tool, and a decision support sequence which will provide assistance in evaluating carbon emissions and mitigation techniques through Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy investment options. It also includes information on best practices and capacity building materials and a carbon calculator. Some top reasons to use the energy calculator include:

  • Understand how much energy you could save
  • Measure your energy usage
  • Compare your results with similar hotels and measure your progress
  • Profit from cost-effective energy technology solutions by reducing costs and marketing your activities

Monarch City

The City of New Smyrna Beach is designated as a Monarch City, thanks to its efforts to directly help the monarch butterfly population by planting and distributing milkweed and nectar plants to local citizens. The designation is given by the non-profit, Monarch City USA, and New Smyrna Beach is just the second city in Florida to receive the title.