Expedia Group and Accor, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), join forces to further expand UNESCO's Commitment to Sustainable Tourism (hereinafter also "the Commitment"). This tripartite strategic agreement will see the consolidation of 3,358 Accor hotels worldwide to promote environmental sustainability and sustainable tourism around the world.
UNESCO's Commitment to Sustainable Tourism promotes responsible practices, community resilience and heritage conservation, with the fundamental objective of changing the nature and impact of global tourism. As part of this Commitment, parties are required to support the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics and to promote the local economy and culture.
The Commitment was launched in October 2019 with the Thai Ministry of Tourism, UNESCO and Expedia Group. Accor hotels join more than 500 hotels in Thailand that have signed the Commitment since the creation of the Thai microsite in 2020.
The extension of the Commitment comes at a time when traveler awareness and demand for sustainable tourism practices is growing, with the millennials and Generation Z leading the way with greater environmental awareness. More importantly, these young travelers (up to the age of forty) share growing concerns about the environmental impact of travel when selecting a future trip, which can be attributed to the consequences of COVID-19. With Accor's membership in this Expedia Group and UNESCO initiative, the Commitment is expanding to nearly 100 countries promoting sustainable tourism worldwide.
We have a responsibility to offer sustainable and tangible solutions to our clients in order to reduce the impact of the hotel sector on the environment. Accor and all the hotels in its network have long-term commitments in this area, as we have decided to remove all single-use plastic items from the customer experience in our hotels by 2022. We are committed to accelerating our efforts and that is why we are today joining UNESCO's Commitment to Sustainable Tourism, in partnership with the Expedia Group. Our ambition is to continue driving change towards positive hospitality, wherever we are. By joining the Commitment with 3,358 of our hotels, we are continuing our group's sustainable development program called "Planet 21 - Acting Here", which sets concrete and quantitative targets for local supply, diversity and management of water, energy and waste. The Planet 21 initiative was launched in 2011 and is based on four strategic priorities: working with our employees, involving our customers, innovating with our partners and cooperating with local communities. Two key issues are the fight against hunger and sustainable development. We look forward to working with our partners as part of this new Commitment.
Markus Keller, Senior Vice President Sales & Distribution at Accor
Hotels can be examples of outstanding green practices and drivers of positive change in the community. Just start with a few simple principles.
UNESCO's Commitment to Sustainable Tourism is about translating words into action and demonstrates our growing commitment to work closely with the hotel industry to raise awareness and practice of environmental and sustainable tourism around the world. Everyone has a role to play in promoting sustainable tourism and helping to preserve travel destinations. This partnership with Accor consists of taking the necessary measures on a global scale to limit waste in the tourism sector.
Zuhairah Washington, Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts, Expedia Group.
The collective effort is all the more crucial as the pandemic has hit the tourism and cultural sectors hard. We hope that the initiatives of Germany, Accor and Expedia will encourage other major players in the sector to join us and invest in more responsible tourism.
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
UNESCO also announced today that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has provided 2 million euros in support to help UNESCO extend its Commitment to seven countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia and Vietnam). The program will support UNESCO's work to strengthen tourism in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and to encourage sustainable development in the sector.
To learn more about how Accor Hotels are participating in the Commitment to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly : https://youtu.be/MMokrB7MDA4