Iberostar Group, a global hospitality chain with 80% of its hotels on the seafront, has joined Expedia Group and UNESCO in the expansion of the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge (hereafter ‘UNESCO Pledge’).
Iberostar has a strong commitment to the oceans and the local communities where the company operates, while the UNESCO Pledge promotes responsible practices, community resilience, and heritage conservation, with the goal of changing the nature and impact of global tourism. Expedia Group’s recent Traveler Value Index research shows that travelers want to support sustainable practices, with nearly three in five (59%) willing to pay higher fees to make their trip more sustainable.
Expedia Group data reveals an annual growth in the number of international visitors of 5% compared to 2020 in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Bahamas and Jamaica. In this order, United States and Canada lead the international demand for Jamaica. Montego Bay is the most searched city by domestic and international travelers in the country, followed by Ocho Rios and Negril.
“Our partnership with UNESCO seeks to ensure the preservation and sustainability of communities, many of which are wholly dependent on travel,” said Katherine Cheng, Head of Global and Community Impact, Expedia Group. “Travelers are willing to do more when they have visibility into actions they can take, whether it’s paying higher fees or changing how they travel. The Pledge can help them make more informed decisions.”
Launched in 2019, UNESCO and Expedia Group signed a global agreement promoting sustainable travel and heritage conservation through the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge. Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, said, “An industry wide approach is key to ensuring a resilient recovery for tourism that contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By joining the Pledge, Iberostar Group has made a firm commitment towards supporting our efforts to achieve truly sustainable tourism.”
As tourism destinations are experiencing a double impact from climate change and a global pandemic, Iberostar is fast-tracking solutions to build a responsible tourism model supported by science and the protection of nature. The Group’s goals, outlined in its 2030 Agenda, are the cornerstone of the company’s effort to combat climate change: eliminate waste, source responsible seafood, neutralize carbon emissions and improve the health of the ecosystems surrounding its hotels, among others.
Through its Protecting and Restoring the Mesoamerican Reef Project, Iberostar aims to increase the resiliency of the Mesoamerican Reef to adapt to climate change risks through the establishment of comprehensive, science-based, ecosystem propagation and restoration programs. This provides Iberostar guests with an opportunity to enjoy and connect with a more naturally functioning ecosystem. The Mesoamerican Reef region lies within the Caribbean Sea and touches the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. It contains the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, stretching nearly 700 miles from the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down through the Honduran Bay Islands.
“As tourism returns, Iberostar’s commitment to leading a responsible tourism model has only grown,” said Dr. Megan Morikawa, Global Sustainability Director for Iberostar Group. “The UNESCO Pledge allows 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.”
In addition, Iberostar Group has also partnered with Expedia Group Media Solutions, the global travel advertising platform connecting marketers with hundreds of millions of travelers across the Expedia Group brand, on the “Discover Iberostar” campaign. As part of this campaign Iberostar Group and Expedia Group have both contributed $100,000 to the Protecting and Restoring the Mesoamerican Reef initiative.
The campaign will educate travelers about Iberostar’s Wave of Change movement, the chain’s commitment to the oceans and leading responsible tourism, to offer consumers a responsible vacation experience. Developed by Expedia Group Media Solutions’ in-house creative agency, Creative Partnerships, the interactive campaign features stunning images and thoughtfully curated information to inspire users to make more informed decisions on how they travel and 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.
“Restarting tourism slowly and driving demand in a deliberate-yet-responsible way can help destinations thrive for travelers and local communities alike, and, as travelers are increasingly making more eco-conscious and sustainable travel decisions, elevating awareness of sustainability initiatives can help further differentiate travel brands,” said Jennifer Andre, Vice President, Business Development at Expedia Group Media Solutions. “This new campaign and partnership with Iberostar Group further showcases our collective commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism, illustrating how collaboration across the industry can help drive change.”
To learn more about the UNESCO Pledge, visit https://unescosustainable.travel/
Iberostar Group is a 100% family-owned multinational Spanish company, dedicated for more than 60 years to travel and hospitality, and with origins in the footwear industry dating back to 1877. The main line of business is Iberostar Hotels & Resorts with a portfolio of over one hundred 4 and 5-star hotels in 16 countries. The company has positioned itself as an international benchmark in responsible tourism by promoting a more sustainable business model focused on the care for people and the environment. The Wave of Change movement reflects Iberostar’s explicit commitment to the oceans, and the company’s effort to share it with all of society. www.iberostar.com