Every Hotel Stay Plants Trees in San Luis Obispo

Planting trees in San Luis Obispo © Brittany App

Just in time for summer travel, Visit San Luis Obispo is partnering with Kind Traveler’s Every Stay Gives Back program to offer new inspiration for eco-friendly travel on California’s Central Coast. Affectionately referred to as SLO, San Luis Obispo’s Keys for Trees program means every guest staying overnight in any of its 42 hotels will contribute to the planting of new trees in the city, bettering the place with each visit.

The launch with Visit San Luis Obispo is part of a series of destination launches for Kind Traveler’s new ‘Every Stay Gives Back’ program, launched in September 2023. Every overnight stay with participating lodging partners will fund a local charity in the community, helping to drive positive community and environmental impact and responsible tourism forward in destinations. The first launch of the series is with Visit San Luis Obispo, followed by destinations like Visit Oceanside (San Diego), Love Catalina Island, Los Cabos Tourism Board, and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association. In California, destination launches are spearheaded by a statewide destination stewardship program that Kind Traveler has in partnership with Visit California.

With a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2035, SLO’s Keys for Trees initiative supports their goal of planting 10,000 new trees. In addition to their tree-planting goal, the city has implemented numerous ongoing efforts to use greener energy, encourage alternative means of transportation, and prioritize legislation that puts sustainability at the forefront.

san luis obispo
© Courtesy of Kind Traveler

Travellers are increasingly interested in trips that improve the communities they visit. According to Kind Traveler’s 2022 Impact Tourism Report, 97 per cent of travellers want their travel dollars to positively impact the communities they visit, and 75 per cent agree travelling sustainably enhances their vacation experience. Despite this, half of travellers say they don’t know how to start. This new partnership makes it easier for anyone wanting to make a positive impact on the environment, knowing that just staying in SLO will better the community and planet.

“San Luis Obispo prides itself on being a longtime trailblazer of sustainability efforts,” said Molly Cano, Economic Development & Tourism Manager for the City of SLO. “We were the first city in the U.S. to ban indoor smoking, we’re home to the first solar-powered movie theatre, and we have no drive-thrus. Partnering with Kind Traveler to help share Keys for Trees and our big dreams of making a small difference for the planet is a natural and exciting step for us.”

A leader in sustainability, San Luis Obispo was the first U.S. destination to launch this type of initiative funded by local hotels. SLO hopes to inspire other destinations to consider this model, which makes it easy for guests to help preserve the destinations they visit and love. Since Keys for Trees launched in 2021, more than $50,000 has been donated to EcoSLO, resulting in dozens of trees planted throughout SLO.

© Brittany App

“While giving back to local charities connected to destination wellbeing helps create a sustainable future, studies share that it’s also related to higher levels of trip satisfaction for visitors,” stated Jessica Blotter, CEO & co-founder of Kind Traveler. “Kind Traveler is thrilled to launch a revolutionary, responsible tourism model with Visit San Luis Obispo while helping to make future visits to SLO more purposeful, meaningful, and memorable.”

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