San Jose is the first major city to declare that they're going to be carbon neutral by 2030," says Matthew Martinucci, VP of sales & destination services, Team San Jose. "That's an amazing thing that San Jose as a city has done, and it's only seven years from now. This will include the convention center and the theaters, and everything that the city controls, and if they prove it can be done, then private companies will want to jump on board with that too. It's very much an attraction for certain types of group that are looking for that kind of culture."
Team San Jose, in collaboration with the 550,000-sf San Jose McEnery Convention Center and the city's cultural facilities, have embarked on an array of initiatives to support San Jose's Pathway to Carbon Neutrality. Sustainability practices include recycling more than 80 percent of all waste collected from its meetings campus, as well as upgrading the convention center ballroom to an LED lighting system that will consume 80 percent less power than its previous system.
The convention center is also one of the only convention facilities on the west coast that composts its food waste, and provides attendees with 100 percent certified compostable, 100 percent carbon neutral, plant-based meal packaging products. Serveware include plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, stir sticks and to-go box containers made from sugar cane.
Additionally, Team San Jose employees donate over 1,000 hours per year to local non-profits, many of which support sustainability initiatives throughout the city, as well as donating and delivering meals to local food banks and shelters.
"All of our food at the convention center is sourced within 150 miles, which has environmental benefits and reduces our carbon footprint," says Martinucci. "But it also helps the people that are right there in northern California. So we're more plugged into the local dynamics than we've ever been. And that's a good thing, because people appreciate what we do when they know what we do, and we have a lot of vested interest in trying to do what we can to keep restaurants open and new businesses to come downtown, because we're selling a lot more than just our meeting facilities."
"Fiji is full of opportunities for CSR that really impacts both local communities as well as attendees," says Ruth Daly, regional director of North America for Tourism Fiji. "From planting mangroves to painting schools, groups can help Fijians while at the same time learning life lessons from some of the world’s happiest people. Or take over one of our many private islands or floating bars for a day of fun in the sun."
New for 2024 is the Crowne Plaza Nadi Bay Wailoaloa featuring 324 guest rooms and 21,839 sf of meeting space. As well as a convention center that can accommodate up to 900 attendees for conferences and exhibitions, the resort will offer a ballroom that can seat up to 525 guests, and two function halls that can host up to 370 and 165 attendees, respectively. Other amenities include a luxury spa with six double treatment rooms, three pools including an adults-only pool with swim-up bar, direct beach access to the adjacent Wailoaloa Beach and several restaurants and bars, including an Italian restaurant and a whisky bar.
"For fun and culture, groups should consider the Sigatoka River Safari, which whisks visitors up Fiji’s longest river into the country’s remote breadbasket," says Daly. "Here you stop for lunch, kava and dancing with the villagers and get to sample how remote villages still live."
Fiji Airways offers 10-hour overnight flights from LAX, SFO and YVR, making it easy to reach for U.S. groups. The airline's new 334-seat Airbus A350-900 fleet provides more business class and 20 percent more overall capacity from North America. —Steve Grasso