BEAUFORT Feb 26, 2016 The N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve is inviting tourism-focused businesses on the coast to participate in a free sustainable tourism workshop on March 9. The workshop will be from 9 a.m.-noon March 9 at the NOAA/NERR Auditorium, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort. The goal of sustainable tourism is to retain the economic and social advantages of the tourism industry while reducing negative impacts on the natural environment. At the workshop, business and environmental professionals will discuss the benefits of sustainable tourism and explain how businesses can implement practices that reduce costs, improve productivity and increase their competitive edge. Workshop participants also will learn about the certification process for the N.C. GreenTravel program, which offers incentives for businesses that take steps to conserve energy and water, and reduce their impacts on the environment. Hotels, restaurants, tour operators and other tourism-focused businesses apply and are selected for the program by the state environmental and commerce agencies as well as the Center for Sustainability at East Carolina University. “We want coastal tourism businesses to be aware of the advantages of being N.C. GreenTravel certified, such as decreased operating costs and increased marketability,” says Whitney Jenkins, who works with the N.C. Coastal Reserve. “Simple actions can make a big impact to protect our coast for generations to come.” During the workshop, coastal businesses will learn about: Sustainable tourism efforts and how they can help the environment and a business’s bottom line; The N.C. GreenTravel program and its certification process; Waste Reduction Partners, a group of volunteer engineers, scientists and others who provide businesses with free, on-site assessments aimed at helping the businesses conserve resources and reduce costs. The sustainability efforts implemented by the Hampton Inn & Suites of Jacksonville, N.C. The workshop is presented by N.C. GreenTravel and the Carteret County Tourism Development Authority. Registration is required. Visit the Coastal Reserve’s website to view the agenda or register for the workshop.