Aug 15, 2008

Green hotels on

Sustainable travel—also known as responsible travel, green travel, eco-tourism, and geotourism—is redefining the travel industry. Hotels and other tourism companies are being challenged to do business in an increasingly environmentally friendly, socially responsible way.

This growing demand has spurred many hotels, both large and small, to implement sustainable business practices. To recognize these pioneers, each striving toward the three main areas of sustainability—environmental protection, socio-cultural responsibility, and local economic growth—the Sustainable Tourism Criteria program was created.

Over the past year, Expedia, Inc. has supported the efforts of the United Nations Foundation, United Nations Environmental Programme, United Nations World Tourism Organization, the Rainforest Alliance, and other leading sustainable tourism experts to develop a comprehensive set of standardized global criteria to evaluate sustainable hotels and tour operators. The efforts of these industry and conservation experts will culminate in the Global Baseline for Sustainable Tourism Criteria program, that will be officially launched in October 2008 at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

This program uses criteria pulled from the hundreds of existing certification programs to create a common understanding of what sustainable tourism really means—and best practices for achieving it. These criteria represent a guideline for businesses to strive toward, including a self-assessment piece missing from the current marketplace. Once in place, the Sustainable Tourism Criteria will help consumers, the travel industry, media, and even governments differentiate, recognize, and support sustainable tourism.

To demonstrate our support for this sustainability project—and to help travelers to make informed choices when planning a vacation—Expedia is highlighting hotels that comply with existing certification programs that best match the Global Baseline for Sustainable Tourism Criteria that’s being developed. But this is just the beginning.

In October, our list will be updated to only display the hotels that meet the Global Baseline for Sustainable Tourism Criteria, creating a resource travelers can use to find sustainable hotel options around the world.

Learn more about the Sustainable Tourism Criteria Initiative.

Green hotels on