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Expedia Group announced the launch of two new programs — Destination Climate Champions and the Destination Giveback Initiative — both designed to support destination marketing and management organizations (DMOs) in becoming better environmental stewards and helping ensure travel is truly a force for good in their local communities. The new programs are aligned with Expedia Group’s Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy and its commitment to building resilient prosperity for destinations across the world.

“Responsible, sustainable travel means experiences that support local communities, while also protecting natural environments. Success requires collective effort – this is critical for the future of global travel,” said Aditi Mohapatra, vice president of Global Social Impact and Sustainability at Expedia Group. “Many DMOs are eager to take proactive actions on sustainability and social impact but may need initial support to get there. Expedia Group has invested in two new programs to further our destination partners’ capabilities, to transform local travel offerings, and empower travelers to make more responsible travel choices.”

Sustainability is a key value of travelers today. According to Expedia Group Media Solutions research, 90% of consumers already look for sustainable options when booking. And half of consumers would be willing to pay more for a trip if the travel options were more sustainable, meaning destination communities that offer more responsible tourism choices stand to enjoy economic benefits as well.

Taking Climate Action

Expedia Group has partnered with the Travel Foundation, a leading industry NGO, to launch a first-of-its kind educational program for DMOs called Destination Climate Champions. The online training course and peer learning network equips DMO staff with the knowledge and skills to serve as climate champions and incorporate a climate lens into their day-to-day work, while also creating a destination specific Climate Action Plan. The program further enables DMOs to communicate credibly with travelers about sustainable tourism in their destination and promote more eco-conscious travel.

This program builds on Expedia Group’s own commitment to greener travel and to reaching Net Zero emissions by 2040, all detailed in its Climate Action Plan released last year. Recognizing that many DMOs may lack the resources needed to create a tourism-specific Climate Action Plan, the course will help destinations better meet traveler expectations while building community and industry resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The Destination Climate Champions program is being piloted with 30 destinations and three geographic cohorts across Europe, New Zealand, and the Northwest of the U.S. and Canada. The pilot cohorts began the training in February 2024 and the course will be available globally to additional DMOs later this year. There is no cost to participate; interested DMOs can register here.

“We are excited to embark on this transformative journey and support our DMO partners in this space,” said Rob Torres, senior vice president, Media Solutions at Expedia Group. “We understand that for many of our partners, the topic of sustainability is an urgent issue to address, but is often complex, and it can be hard to know how to put words into meaningful action. Our partnership with Travel Foundation reflects our shared vision of a travel industry that prioritizes both people and the planet. We’re providing DMOs with a step-by-step program that helps them to create a more environmentally conscious approach to driving demand to their destinations.”

Giving Back to the Community

To further support destinations and local communities, Expedia Group has launched the Destination Giveback Initiative. Expedia Group makes donations to local causes identified together with its DMO partner on behalf of both parties and provides support to local communities where they need it most while driving tourism growth. Depending on the destination’s overall level of partnership, the selected cause may also receive extra promotion across Expedia Group’s global marketing channels.

As an example, Destination Canada is one of Expedia Group’s most valued destination partners and engaged with the Destination Giveback Initiative in 2023 as part of their overall partnership. Expedia Group made a one-time donation of $100,000 USD to The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC). The fund offers a unique opportunity for travelers, Indigenous businesses, and non-Indigenous companies to actively participate in and support Indigenous tourism development.

 





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