PARIS — Accor has joined forces with Expedia Group and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to extend the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge through a strategic tripartite agreement that will see 3,358 global Accor hotels join the effort to promote environmental sustainability and sustainable tourism worldwide.
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, parties commit to supporting the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics and promoting local economy and culture.
“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,” says Zuhairah Washington, SVP, Strategic Accounts, Expedia Group. “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.”
Through Accor’s adoption of the Expedia Group and UNESCO initiative, the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge is extended to close to 100 countries globally. Markus Keller, SVP Sales & Distribution, Accor points to joining the pledge as a continuation of Accor’s ‘Planet 21 – Acting Here’ sustainable-development program, which launched in 2011.
“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,” says Keller. “We want to accelerate our efforts, which is why we are today joining the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge in partnership with Expedia Group.”
UNESCO also announced that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has provided €2 million in support for UNESCO to help expand the pledge across seven countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia and Vietnam). The program will help UNESCO’s work to make tourism emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis and encourage sustainable development in the sector.
“The collective effort is all the more crucial as the pandemic has hit the tourism and culture sectors hard,” says Audrey Azoulay, director general, UNESCO. “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.”