Expedia, Inc., one of the world’s leading travel service companies, and the United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation), an innovative public charity created by Ted Turner to increase support for the United Nations, today announced a joint initiative to promote sustainable tourism and awareness of World Heritage sites and communities around the world. The partnership will benefit these places of cultural and natural interest by offering travel opportunities, consumer education, matching donations, and local site economic development projects. With this exclusive agreement, Expedia, Inc. also becomes the first travel industry partner to promote the UN Foundation’s initiative to promote and preserve World Heritage sites.
There are 812 World Heritage sites around the world, including 19 in the United States, which have been internationally recognized for their outstanding value as natural, cultural, and historical treasures. The sites include Yellowstone National Park, Independence Hall, the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge, the Galapagos Islands, and the Historic Centre of Prague, and are protected by the 1972 World Heritage Convention, signed by 180 countries and administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“Expedia, Inc. and the United Nations Foundation are launching this initiative because of our shared passion for conserving World Heritage sites and our mutual support for the work of UNESCO,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President, UN Foundation. “By promoting sustainable tourism, we will help safeguard World Heritage sites for generations to come, and provide economic development opportunities for local communities.”
“Expedia is in the business of inspiring and empowering our customers in their travel choices, and UNESCO and the UN Foundation are actively working to preserve some of the most interesting travel destinations around the world,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia, Inc. “In our partnership, we will support local communities at World Heritage sites in their efforts to develop tourism businesses based on World Heritage values. In doing so, we will help to preserve important cultural and natural sites, and give something back to the communities and people who provide our travelers with hospitality at these special places.”
Expedia, Inc.’s support of this initiative goes beyond just financial assistance. More information will be forthcoming in the next few months, however, planned activities include:
o Supplying World Heritage Destination Education: The initiative will promote information on key World Heritage sites to customers though several of the Expedia, Inc. brand sites.
o Offering World Heritage Trips: Expedia, Inc. will launch specially created trips to World Heritage destinations that will be available through Expedia, Inc.’s network of travel sites; net proceeds from these trips will be donated to the UN Foundation in support of World Heritage activities.
o Providing Matching Donations: Expedia, Inc. and the UN Foundation will match Expedia customers’ donations to the initiative — up to a total of $50,000 — in support of developing locally owned tourism enterprises at World Heritage sites.
o Donating Employee Time and Talent: Expedia, Inc. employees will help develop sustainable, locally owned and managed tourism businesses at selected World Heritage sites — helping to create local jobs and build support for the sites’ continued protection.
“We are looking forward to leveraging the global travel-industry expertise of Expedia, Inc. and its employees and are excited about their intention to rally their partners in the industry around this cause,” said Senator Wirth. “True charitable partnerships are not just about writing checks. They are about sharing a passion and a vision as we do, and working together for positive change.”
About Expedia, Inc.
Expedia, Inc. is one of the world’s leading travel services companies. With its portfolio of leading travel brands, Expedia, Inc. empowers business and leisure travelers with the tools and information they need to easily research, plan, book and experience travel. The company also provides wholesale travel to offline retail travel agents. Expedia, Inc.’s main businesses and brands include: Expedia.com®, Hotels.com™, Hotwire®, Expedia® Corporate Travel, Trip Advisor™ and Classic Custom Vacations®. Expedia, Inc.’s companies also operate internationally with sites in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands and China, through its investment in eLong™. For more information, visit http://www.expediainc.com. (NASDAQ: EXPE)
About the United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations’ causes. The UN Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the United Nations. Through grant-making and building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the UN Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century. For more information, please visit http://www.unfoundation.org.
For more information, please visit:
o Friends of World Heritage: http://www.friendsofworldheritage.org
o Expedia, Inc.: http://www.expediainc.com/worldheritage
o World Heritage Site Listings: http://whc.unesco.org/
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