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Momentum Grows for Expedia Group and UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge with New Signatories

Global initiative additions include Melia Hotels International, THB Hotels, Universal Hotels, Helios Hotels, Accor Hotels Mantra brands, the EU Ecolabel and Green Tourism Accreditation to its list of signatories

UNESCO and Expedia Group have announced new commitments from a number of prominent hospitality groups and organizations joining the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge(hereafter “The UNESCO Pledge”). The UNESCO Pledge aims to promote sustainable travel, community resilience and heritage conservation globally.

Melia Hotels International has now signed up to the initiative, adding initially a portfolio of over 136 hotels mainly under the brands Paradisus, Gran Meliá, ME by Meliá, Innside, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Sol by Meliá,in 13 countries to the list of signatories. THB Hotels, with its range of 3- and 4-star hotels in some of Spain’s top tourist destinations including Majorca, Ibiza, Costa del Sol and Lanzarote, has also signed, along with Majorca’s Universal Hotels, and Helios Hotels, followed by Accor Hotels Mantra brands (Art Series, Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree) increasing further the total of signatories with over 130 properties across Australia, New Zealand,Indonesia and Hawaii.

We are also pleased to announce that UNESCO and Expedia Group will support the EU Ecolabel by offering the existing certified Tourist Accommodations the signatories’ status to UNESCO Pledge. Recognized across Europe and worldwide, the EU Ecolabel is the official European Union label of environmental excellence. Many companies look at the EU Ecolabel criteria as a trusted reference and guidance on eco-friendly best practices. In addition to the EU Ecolabel scheme,  the Edinburgh-based Green Tourism Accreditation - comprised of over 800 lodging members that follow a green framework to help promote sustainable tourism across the globe – is also committing to the UNESCO Pledge. 

Expedia Group, which believes travel is a force for good, says consumers are increasingly aware of the impact travel can have on local environments, economies and individuals that call these destinations home. In addition, they are willing to pay to support the efforts of accommodation and travel providers seeking to minimise their negative environmental impacts and instead create positive ones. Its research reveals that nearly two in three (59%)[1] holidaymakers are willing to pay more to make sure their trip is more sustainable.

The UNESCO Pledge aims to reduce single-use plastic and waste, improve the conservation of energy and water, and promote sustainable community engagement to help invoke a new sense of tourism that protects the environment, local cultures and the communities that depend on travel to thrive.

Since its creation in 2019, the UNESCO Pledge has expanded, with major groups such as Accor, Iberostar and Banyan Tree Group signing up and committing to concrete, transparent and achievable action. 

The credibility of UNESCO and Expedia Group provides travellers with insight into travel companies committed to sustainability by preserving culture and heritage, as well as minimising the negative environmental effects that travel can have on destinations. Partners pledge concrete, transparent, achievable actions and share existing efforts and devise plans to support ongoing improvement in their local communities. 

Aditi Mohapatra, VP, Global Social Impact & Sustainability, Expedia Group, said: “Travellers are not only more aware of the sustainability credentials of their travel providers, they are becoming increasingly engaged and actively seeking sustainable travel options, often willing to pay more for them. Travel providers not only have a responsibility to do their bit to drive the creation of a sustainable tourism sector, they will increasingly have an economic imperative to do so as their travellers begin to vote with their feet. The growing momentum behind the UNESCO Pledge, with over 6,000 hotels already signed up, demonstrates that more and more travel businesses are willing to make concrete and transparent commitments to sustainability as the threat of climate change becomes more real by the day.” 

Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, said: “The UNESCO Pledge provides a framework for action on the ground to  improve livelihoods and chart a path to a more sustainable future for travel.  The commitment from these new signatories to address the impact their operations are having on the environment and the communities where they operate is commendable. We urge others to sign up to the Pledge and commit to progress around these essential sustainable tourism priorities, from reducing single-use plastic to saving water and energy usage, and strengthening the engagement, benefit and resiliency of local communities.”

The UNESCO Pledge is available on the Expedia Group and UNESCO global site

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