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InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and National Geographic extend partnership to include global geotourism initiatives

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, the world's first truly global hotel brand, and the National Geographic Society have extended their partnership to include global geotourism initiatives that enrich the understanding of environmental and cultural responsibility among InterContinental associates and guests worldwide.

Throughout 2009, more than 60,000 InterContinental associates worldwide will participate in responsible business workshops to enhance their understanding of how they can personally be involved in some of the initiatives. InterContinental and National Geographic will also establish a responsible business advisory board, made up of senior executives from both organizations and hotel general managers.

National Geographic defines geotourism as "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place - its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents." The InterContinental initiatives supported by National Geographic will harness the passion of the hotel general managers and their teams to help sustain and enhance the geographical character of destinations where InterContinental is present.

To kick off the partnership, InterContinental has adopted five principles that will enhance its hotels' ongoing environmental and cultural sustainability efforts and help identify new projects. The five principles are inspired by National Geographic's Geotourism Code of Good Practice, ensuring efforts that focus on integrity of place, destination appeal, community involvement, sharing success stories and minimizing negative environmental and cultural impacts.

Vanessa Healey, Vice President, Global Marketing, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, said: "Across all our hotels worldwide, InterContinental is committed to connecting our well-travelled guests to what's special about a destination. We have always believed that we have a responsibility to respect the nature, heritage and communities our hotels reside in, so that future generations of travellers continue to enjoy what is unique to each destination. Working with National Geographic, we hope that our associates and our guests will be personally enriched, knowing they have played a small part in protecting and preserving all that is authentic and special about the places where we are located."

Jonathan Tourtellot, Director of the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations (CSD) and creator of the geotourism concept, said: "CSD is dedicated to protecting the world's distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship. We work closely with many allied organizations to develop and disseminate information on how tourism businesses, destination communities and travellers can help protect the character of these great places - their culture, natural habitats, architecture, scenery, even local cuisine. We look forward to working with InterContinental to create actionable tools that do that - locally, regionally and globally."

InterContinental and National Geographic's affiliation started in 2007 with two successful global photography competitions, where guests and readers were invited to capture and share their authentic travel experiences. In 2008, InterContinental also sponsored National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival, which showcased inspiring films by indigenous film makers.

IHG has a new online tool called Green Engage, which helps hotel general managers manage energy consumption more effectively. In 2008, IHG also launched Innovation Hotel, an online example of what a future hotel might look like if it used new green technologies. Guests can provide feedback on which of these they feel are important, allowing IHG to consider how they can be implemented as part of the Green Engage programme. For more information in corporate responsibility at IHG, visit www.ihg.com/responsibility.

This article first appears in ehotelier.com on July 20, 2009

 






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