Expedia Group is launching two new programs to support destination marketing and management organizations (DMOs) in promoting sustainable tourism and more eco-conscious travel.

“Destination Climate Champions,” launched in partnership with Travel Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for sustainable tourism, is a first-of-its-kind educational program for DMOs. The online training course and peer learning network seeks to give DMO staff the knowledge and skills to incorporate a climate lens into their day-to-day work while also creating a destination specific climate action plan.

“Many DMOs are eager to take proactive actions on sustainability and social impact but may need initial support to get there,” said Aditi Mohapatra, vice president of global social impact and sustainability at Expedia Group. “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.”

The second program is “Destination Giveback Initiative,” through which Expedia Group makes donations to local causes identified together with its DMO partners on behalf of both parties and provides support to local communities where they need it most while driving tourism growth.

The education program is being piloted with 30 destinations and three geographic cohorts across Europe, New Zealand and the Northwest of the United States and Canada. The pilot cohorts began the training in February, and the course will be available globally to additional DMOs later this year. There’s no cost for the DMOs to participate.

“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,” said Rob Torres, senior vice president for media solutions at Expedia Group. “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.”

Sustainability is a key value of travelers today, according to Expedia Group research, which found 90% of consumers 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.

“Responsible, sustainable travel means experiences that support local communities, while also protecting natural environments,” Mohapatra said. “Success requires collective effort – this is critical for the future of global travel.”

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