Second Annual Sustainable Resort Development Conference

Second Annual Sustainable Resort Development Conference held in September

July 17, 2017

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC – The second annual Charles E. Fraser Resort Sustainability Conference will be held September 6-8, 2017 at The Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. The conference, co-sponsored by the University of South Carolina Beaufort and The Sea Pines Resort, will bring representatives of resorts and related businesses, universities, non-profits and government entities together to discuss challenges, workable solutions and economic benefits of sustainability practices.

Second Annual Sustainable Resort Development Conference

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The conference follows on the success of the first conference held in 2014. Sustainability experts from the coastal region of the Southeast will examine topics of tourism and environment, resource management, coastal resilience, renewable resources and quality of life. The goal of the conference is to equip attendees with the information and tools needed to implement sustainable practices in their own organization.

The conference kicks off with a narrated cruise of South Carolina coastal waterways aboard The Vagabond vessel followed by and opening reception under the Live Oak at the Sea Pine's Harbor Town. The keynote speaker is Lauren Vaisman who will discuss her work with Galápagos Alternative, a community-based eco-tourism company in Ecuador's Galápagos Islands. In addition, locally sourced, sustainably grown food will be featured.

Conference presenters include: Amber Marie Beard of Sixth Senses, a company that runs luxury five-star, eco-friendly resorts; Sara Clow of GrowFoods Carolina, a local food hub that supports 80 farms throughout South Carolina: and Clyde Johnston of Clyde Johnston Designs, architect of sustainable golf courses. Other conference speakers will discuss the "Your Bottle Means Jobs" initiative, solar and geothermal power implementation in coastal communities, storm water ponds, coastal resilience and transportation solutions, among other important topics.

"The aim of the conference is hands-on transfer of practical sustainability solutions that reduce costs, thereby increasing revenue," said Tony Wartko, director of facilities services and sustainability at The Sea Pines Resort. "There's a common misconception that sustainable practices hurt profitability. At Sea Pines, our sustainability efforts have lowered energy, waste disposal, water, fertilizer and related costs, while saving resources and making the workplace healthier."

"Our research findings continue to emphasize the economic benefits of eco-tourism. Sustainability practices within our resort community translate into a healthy environment, making it more attractive for a younger population, therefore resulting in a vibrant tourism economy for the long term," said John Salazar, professor of hospitality and director of the Lowcountry Resort and Islands Tourism Institute, at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

For information and to register, visit


Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 900), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university's two campuses serve a diverse student body of 2,000 students. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, SC, offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort's downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort's many art galleries. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

For more information on the conference, contact John Salazar, Ph.D., Professor of Hospitality and Director of the Lowcountry Resort and Islands Tourism Institute at 843-208-8217.

For more information on USCB, contact Kerry Jarvis, public information coordinator, at 843-208-8030 or