On Tuesday evening, November 5th, Southeast Tourism Society (STS) announced Ruby Falls as the winner of the Tourism for Tomorrow Award during their Shining Example Awards Banquet, a recognition identifying the attraction as a leader in sustainable tourism efforts. The award was accepted by Hugh Morrow, president of Ruby Falls. This STS award requires notable accomplishments in sustainable tourism development, while safeguarding local culture and protecting the environment.
“To be recognized by such a great organization as STS two years in a row is quite frankly very humbling,” said Hugh Morrow, president of Ruby Falls, LLC. “As the 2012 Travel Attraction of the Year, the “what” our great team at Ruby Falls accomplished has now been followed by this year’s award, recognizing the “how” we are getting there. Focusing on sustainable business practices not only makes sense for maintaining such a grand natural attraction, but has also shown that it makes great economic sense too.”
Ruby Falls has saved almost 1,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from their solar panel installation in 2009. This has offset the use of approximately 51,000 gallons of gasoline, the equivalency of about 5300 round trips from Atlanta to Ruby Falls.
Three years ago, Green Globe International, Inc. announced Ruby Falls as the first US attraction to receive certification for tourism businesses. Green Globe certification requires extensive work in sustainable management, social and economic development, cultural heritage and environmental stewardship. Since then, the attraction has been re-certified, continuing to hold this distinction.
The Tourism for Tomorrow award given to Ruby Falls follows on the heels of another recent achievement in Chattanooga. On October 29, 2013, TVA gave a platinum ranking to the city in its Valley Sustainable Communities program, a top environmental sustainability rating. Ruby Falls’ contribution is one of many made by entities throughout the city to increase the quality of the environment for visitors to Chattanooga.
Southeast Tourism Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism throughout the Southeast. STS had eight member states when founded in 1983 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee). Since then, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Arkansas were added.
Ruby Falls is home to America’s deepest commercial cave and largest underground waterfall open for public viewing. It features a 145-foot waterfall located 1,120 feet beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Go to www.rubyfalls.com for more.