Accor Hotels and Expedia Group join UNESCO's Commitment to sustainable tourism in 96 countries

Accor Hotels and Expedia Group join UNESCO's Commitment to sustainable tourism in 96 countries

UNESCO, Expedia Group and Accor Group have joined forces to extend the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge to 96 countries, thanks to a strategic tripartite agreement that will see 3,358 global Accor hotels promote environmental sustainability and sustainable tourism worldwide.

Meanwhile, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has provided UNESCO with 2 million euros to help expand the Pledge across seven countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia and Viet Nam). The programme will support UNESCO’s efforts to help tourism emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis and to advance sustainable development in the sector.

The UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge promotes responsible practices, community resilience and heritage conservation, with the ultimate goal of changing the nature and impact of global tourism. Under the Pledge, signatories commit to supporting the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics and promoting local economies, cultures and activities.

“The collective effort is all the more crucial as the pandemic has hit the tourism and culture sectors hard. We hope that the efforts of Germany, Accor and Expedia, will encourage other major players in the sector to join us and invest to offer more responsible tourism”, said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

Markus Keller, Senior Vice President, Sales and Distribution from Accor said, “We have a responsibility to offer sustainable and tangible solutions to our guests to reduce the impact the hospitality sector has on the environment. Accor and all of the hotels in its network have long-standing commitments in this area, for our decision to remove all single-use plastic items from guest experience in our hotels by 2022. We want to accelerate our efforts, which is why we are today joining the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge in partnership with Expedia Group. Our ambition is to continue to drive the change towards positive hospitality wherever we are. Joining The Pledge with 3,358 of our hotels is a continuation of our group’s sustainable development programme “Planet 21 - Acting Here” which sets concrete and quantitative objectives relating to local sourcing, diversity and water, energy and waste management.”

Zuhairah Washington, Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts, Expedia Group, said, “The UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge aims to turn words into action and is a testimony of our growing commitment to collaborating closely with the hospitality sector in order to enhance environmental and sustainable tourism consciousness and practices across the world. Everyone needs to play their part in promoting sustainable tourism and helping preserve travel destinations.This partnership with Accor is about taking needed steps at a global scale to minimize waste in the tourism sector.”

The UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge is a pillar of UNESCO’s tourism strategy, supporting recovery from the immediate socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on communities, tourism and heritage. The strategy is working to transform the culture and tourism sectors to become more inclusive and sustainable by adopting new models to build back stronger.

Launched in October 2019 with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Expedia Group, the Pledge has been successful in promoting and encouraging environmental sustainability, as well as the cultural vibrancy of local communities. Accor’s hotels join over 500 hotels in Thailand that have signed the Pledge since the Thai microsite was established in 2020.

As a new, more environmentally and socially conscious global travel market emerges from the COVID-19 context, signatories stand to benefit from the Pledge in terms of cost effectiveness and customer expectations. Signatories are required to provide quantifiable information on the initiatives they implement in a web-based database and to renew their commitment every year. All signatories receive a Pledge certificate