With 80% of its properties located on the seafront, it’s perhaps no surprise that Iberostar Group takes a keen interest in the health of the world’s oceans and the local communities where the company operates. This is one of the concerns that has prompted the brand to join Expedia Group and UNESCO to sign the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge. But what does signing the Pledge mean for the Spanish-based global hospitality brand?
Environmental and cultural sensitivity
The UNESCO Pledge, launched by Expedia Group in 2019 in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), commits travel companies to promote responsible practices, community resilience, and heritage conservation. Its ultimate goal is to change the nature and impact of global tourism by protecting destinations against the ill effects of climate change, the pandemic, and beyond. Not only does this commitment align with Expedia Group’s corporate values, but it’s also increasingly in line with consumers’ wishes; in fact, as Expedia Group’s recent Traveler Value Index report showed, nearly three in five travelers are willing to pay more to make their trip more sustainable. At present, more than 4,000 hotels have signed up to the Pledge.
Living by the Pledge as a hospitality brand
Iberostar’s efforts to foster a more sustainable form of tourism focus primarily on several key goals: eliminating waste, sourcing seafood responsibly, neutralizing carbon emissions, and improving the health of the ecosystems surrounding its hotels. These goals and more have been formalized into the group’s 2030 Agenda, in which it undertakes to be waste free by 2025 and carbon neutral by 2030.
“As tourism returns, Iberostar’s commitment to leading a responsible tourism model has only grown,” says Dr. Megan Morikawa, Global Sustainability Director for Iberostar Group, “The Sustainable Travel Pledge with Expedia Group and UNESCO allow us to share not only our journey in our 2030 Agenda, but to share and learn from the network of tourism providers in the community of others who have taken the Pledge. We see this as a critical way for tourism to catalyze solutions in the face of current and future crises.”
Protecting vital marine habitat
Iberostar’s commitment to the UNESCO Pledge is exemplified by the company’s Wave of Change initiative, and specifically its support for work to protect and restore the Mesoamerican Reef. This unique and delicate marine habitat stretches along the Caribbean coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras – also the location of many Iberostar properties. The company’s efforts in the region are aimed at increasing the resiliency of the Mesoamerican Reef to adapt to climate change risks, achieved through the establishment of comprehensive, science-based, ecosystem propagation and restoration programs.
Highlighting the important message
In addition to these actions, Iberostar also partnered with our team on the Discover Iberostar campaign, which will educate travelers about the Wave of Change movement and offer consumers a responsible vacation experience. Developed by our Creative Partnerships team, the interactive campaign features stunning images and thoughtfully curated information designed to inspire users to make more informed decisions on how they travel, and prompt them to consider their impact on destinations. Through bold and direct messaging, users are encouraged to interact with the content, thereby making a positive impact and helping improve coastal health with just one click. As part of this campaign, Iberostar Group and Expedia Group have both contributed $100,000 to the initiative to protect and restore the Mesoamerican Reef.
If you would like to learn more about the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge then visit the pilot website; more details will be added later in 2021. Wider topics around environmental and cultural sustainability in travel are discussed in this recent blog post. Alternatively, you can find out about more of the latest industry trends by reading the Q2 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report, which is based on first-party Expedia Group data.