Accor signs up to Expedia-backed UNESCO sustainable tourism pledge

Accor signs up to Expedia-backed UNESCO sustainable tourism pledge

The Sustainable Tourism Pledge was launched in 2019 to promote responsible practices

Accor has signed up to sustainable tourism practices backed by Expedia in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The French hospitality giant has signed up to the Sustainable Tourism Pledge developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The pledge was launched in October 2019 to promote responsible practices, community resilience and heritage conservation.

Under the pledge, parties commit to supporting the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics and promoting local economy and culture.

Accor’s involvement will see 3,358 hotels in the group promote environmental sustainability and sustainable tourism worldwide.

The firm’s hotels join over 500 hotels in Thailand that have signed up since the Thai microsite was established in 2020.

Confirmation of Accor’s involvement sees the pledge extend to almost 100 countries globally.

Markus Keller, senior vice president sales and distribution at 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 program Planet 21 – Acting Here which sets concrete and quantitative objectives relating to local sourcing, diversity and water, energy and waste management.

“Planet 21 was launched in 2011 and is based around four strategic priorities: work with our employees, involve our guests, innovate with our partners and work with local communities; two key issues are tackling food and building sustainability.

“We look forward to working with our partners on this new pledge.”

Zuhairah Washington, senior vice president, strategic accounts at 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.”

UNESCO has also announces that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has provided €2 million to expand the pledge across seven countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia and Vietnam).

UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay, said: “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.”