Expedia Group sustainable travel programmes launched to boost eco-tourism

Expedia Group sustainable travel

The leading full-service online travel agent in Europe, Expedia Group, has launched two new programmes to empower destination marketing and management organisations to prioritise sustainability in tourism.

These programmes were developed in alignment with the organisation’s social impact and sustainability strategy. Within this plan is an objective to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 whilst building an accessible, responsible, and inclusive travel ecosystem.

What inspired Expedia Group to launch these new initiatives? 

Currently, tourism accounts for around 8 percent of worldwide carbon emissions. Projections indicate that tourism emissions could escalate to 6.5 billion metric tonnes by 2025.

Research from Expedia Group Media Solutions discovered that 90 percent of travellers look for environmentally friendly options when booking. Moreover, half of the respondents said they are willing to pay more for a trip if it aligns with eco-friendly practices. This indicates economic advantages for destination communities.

What will the new programmes entail?  

Expedia Group has joined forces with the non-profit organisation The Travel Foundation to launch the Destination Climate Champions Programme. This programme offers destination management organisations’ (DMO) team members with the skills and knowledge to curate climate-conscious practices within their destinations. 

The DMOs will complete an online training course and have access to a peer learning network. This will enable them to develop destination-specific climate action plans. This programme is currently in a pilot phase, involving 30 destinations across New Zealand, Europe, and the Northwestern US, with plans to roll out globally later in 2024.

Global social impact and sustainability vice president at Expedia Group, Aditi Mohapatra, said that sustainable travel refers to experiences that support local communities whilst also protecting natural environments. She added that many DMOs are keen to take action but that they also need the support to get there. 

Expedia Group also launched a programme designed to support local communities, the Destination Giveback Initiative. Through the initiative, Expedia Group will work with DMO partners to make donations to local causes. Moreover, depending on the level of collaboration, a portion of causes will be eligible for additional promotion across the brand’s marketing channels. 

In 2023, Expedia Group invested $100,000 in the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Destination Canada to support the advancement of Indigenous tourism throughout Canada. Expedia’s partnership with the Travel Foundation reflects their shared vision of a travel industry that prioritises the planet and people. 

Conclusion – The need to drive sustainable travel internationally

Tourism continues to be a significant contributor to global carbon emissions. With this in mind, responsible and sustainable practices in the sector are not just beneficial but imperative. Expedia Group’s launch of the Destination Climate Champions Programme and the Destination Giveback Initiative exemplifies how travel industry leaders can take proactive steps towards ecological preservation and social responsibility

By empowering destination management organisations with the necessary tools and knowledge and by fostering community-focused contributions, Expedia is setting a precedent for the industry. The collaboration with The Travel Foundation and investments in local initiatives such as the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada further highlight the potential for the travel industry to contribute positively to both environmental sustainability and community welfare. 

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