SEATTLE, U.S. - UNESCO and Expedia Group have announced that Despegar, leading online travel agency in Latin America, is joining the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge. The UNESCO Pledge aims to promote sustainable travel, community resilience and heritage conservation globally, with the ultimate goal of changing the nature and impact of global tourism.
Travelers are increasingly aware of the impact travel can have on local environments, economies, and individuals. A recent survey from Expedia Group Media Solutions revealed that although 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when booking, 70% feel overwhelmed with navigating options and making the best choices to be a more sustainable traveler.1
The UNESCO Pledge addresses that need by providing travelers with insight into travel companies committed to sustainability by preserving culture and heritage, as well as minimizing the negative environmental effects that travel can have on destinations. Accommodation partners pledge concrete, transparent, achievable actions and share existing efforts and devise plans to support ongoing improvement in their local communities. By doing so, they signal their commitment to shape a more sustainable travel and tourism sector, and drive clarity to travelers in their choices.
Expedia Group and Despegar will work closely to support further global endorsement of the UNESCO Pledge within the accommodation sector for properties to showcase the actions they are taking that will preserve and protect the environment. This includes their commitment to reduce single use plastics, support local communities and culture, reduce waste, and conserve and improve energy and water management.
Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture said: “It is encouraging to see the UNESCO Pledge gain support among a wider range of industry stakeholders. With Despegar joining us in our efforts to transform the industry, we can encourage even more businesses and travelers to take clear actions and protect the environment. We welcome this exciting development and look forward to working with Despegar.”
Aditi Mohapatra, VP, Global Social Impact & Sustainability, Expedia Group, said: “Travelers are looking for ways to minimize their environmental footprint while traveling, and to make a positive impact on the communities they visit. They are increasingly turning to the travel industry to make informed decisions. Today, we are thrilled to partner with Despegar to promote further sustainable tourism, and help more travelers make better choices for themselves and the planet."
Sebastian Mackinnon, Chief Partners Office, Despegar, said: “We are delighted to enter a partnership with UNESCO and Expedia Group to support thousands of lodgings, in Latin America and further, implement sustainable and resourceful practices to reduce the industry's overall environmental footprint. Joining The UNESCO Pledge marks a crucial step in our commitment to shaping a more sustainable travel and tourism sector.”
 Expedia Group Media Solutions, Sustainable Travel Study, April 2022.