World Heritage Alliance Celebrates One-Year Anniversary with Addition of New Members

Founding Members Welcome 13 New Members And Associate Partners To The Alliance To Promote Sustainable Tourism To World Heritage Sites

Los Angeles

November 15, 2006


Megan Rabbitt

Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) and the United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation) celebrated today the one-year anniversary of the World Heritage Alliance (WHA) by announcing the addition of nine new members and four new associate partners. The WHA is an industry-leading initiative that was jointly formed by Expedia® and the UN Foundation in 2005 to promote sustainable tourism and awareness of World Heritage sites and communities around the world.

“We are honored to welcome the new members and partners to the World Heritage Alliance,” said Kathy Bushkin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the UN Foundation. “From leading hotel chains to widely respected NGOs, this represents the kind of far-reaching partnership that is required to preserve World Heritage and promote sustainable livelihoods around the world. We congratulate them for their leadership in helping to ensure that world travel strengthens and sustains World Heritage sites and the communities that surround them.”

“We are pleased to mark the one-year anniversary of the World Heritage Alliance with the addition of an outstanding group of members and partners dedicated to supporting sustainable travel, World Heritage conservation, and local economic development for communities in and around World Heritage sites,” said Paul Brown, president of Expedia North America and Expedia, Inc. Partner Services Group. “Expedia is committed to working with our partners to promote sustainable tourism to travelers as a way of preserving the world’s treasures and enhancing travelers’ experiences for years to come.”

The WHA offers of two levels of partnership, each being committed to advancing the WHA mission: WHA members and WHA associate partners. WHA members consists of travel industry companies, such as hotels, tour operators, travel agents, airlines and cruises, among others. WHA associate partners are NGOs, civil society groups, government bodies and other organizations not exclusively devoted to tourism.

The nine new members joining the WHA are: Camino Real Hotels, Club Méditerranée (Club Med), El Sueño Hotel and Spa, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Maroma Resort and Spa (Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises), Mayaland Resorts Group, Paraiso de la Bonita Resort and Thalasso, Radar Tours, and Solimar Marketing and Travel. Several of the new members will begin their work in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, home to five of Mexico’s 26 World Heritage sites. Other members will introduce the WHA to new geographic regions, including Central America.

Each member is committed to:

• Implementing the World Heritage Alliance principles, a set of guidelines developed in consultation between the UN Foundation, Expedia, UNESCO World Heritage Centre and National Geographic that foster greater attention to social, cultural and environmental sustainability within their business.

• Participating in staff training programs by enrolling their staff in occasional in-person or online training courses organized by the WHA that educate about the key issues related to World Heritage and sustainable tourism.

• Educating customers about World Heritage by providing informational materials, exclusive packages to World Heritage destinations, volunteer opportunities with local communities, and the ability for customers to purchase goods and services that are rooted in local cultures and environments.

• Supporting community development around World Heritage sites by working with local communities to build and enhance sustainable tourism opportunities for travelers and to provide markets for locally produced sustainable goods and services.

• Engaging employees to support the local community through WHA volunteer programs that allow employees to work side-by-side with community-based initiatives.

• Supporting the United Nations in its efforts to encourage sustainable tourism and the protection of World Heritage sites through the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

“Fairmont is proud to join the World Heritage Alliance to promote World Heritage and sustainable tourism,” said Jeff Senior, senior vice president for marketing and sales for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. “The Alliance offers us the unique opportunity to enhance our guests’ experiences while also giving back to our local communities. Fairmont is committed to advancing the WHA mission by engaging our customers, employees and local tourism operators, starting with the new Fairmont Mayakoba resort in Mexico.”

In addition to the WHA’s current associate partners — the Mexico Tourism Board and the Secretary of Tourism for Mexico, which joined forces with the WHA last March — the following four organizations have signed on as associate partners: Academex Digital Publishing, Destination Ventures, Ltd, the Rainforest Alliance and Rare Conservation. The associate partners will help the WHA members implement the commitments such as consumer education, community development and technical training.

“We are excited to be part of this innovative partnership to promote sustainable travel,” said Tensie Whelan, executive director of the Rainforest Alliance. “We look forward to offering training and technical assistance to World Heritage Alliance members through our sustainable tourism program, and we hope to help them lead the way in protecting some of the world’s most valuable places for years to come.”

“We were honored to be the first associate partner to help promote and preserve Mexico’s 26 World Heritage sites,” said Magdalena Carral, CEO of Mexico’s Tourism Board. “We are thrilled to learn of all of the new members of the Alliance, as these travel industry companies are showing true leadership in helping Mexico promote sustainable tourism.”

The 13 new partners will build on the momentum and results created by the founding partners, Expedia and the UN Foundation. Over the past year, the Alliance has accomplished several goals, including the launch of the Expedia® Employee Program, and the implementation of five training programs and an online course for local travel industry suppliers and partners in the Yucatan Peninsula. In addition, Expedia is offering special package trips to some of the world’s most cherished sites, found at The company will donate all profits to the Friends of World Heritage Fund to support communities in and around World Heritage sites.

The WHA is also educating travelers about the preservation of World Heritage through Friends of World Heritage (, which encourages individuals to learn more about responsible travel and World Heritage sites and directly support those sites. Individual donations to Friends of World Heritage are matched by Expedia, Inc. and the UN Foundation, up to $50,000 from each partner.

The WHA has plans to continue building upon the work already in progress in Mexico by continuing its support to the region and expanding its efforts to the Caribbean and Central America in 2007. Visit to learn about what each new member will do to support the mission of the Alliance and to read their personal testimonies.

About the World Heritage Alliance:
The World Heritage Alliance works to support World Heritage conservation, sustainable tourism, and local economic development for communities in and around World Heritage sites. The UN Foundation and Expedia, Inc. created the World Heritage Alliance in the fall of 2005. For more information, visit:

About Expedia, Inc.:
Expedia, Inc. is the world’s leading online travel company, empowering business and leisure travelers with the tools and information they need to easily research, plan, book, and experience travel. Expedia, Inc. also provides wholesale travel to offline retail travel agents. Expedia, Inc.’s portfolio of brands includes:®,®, Hotwire®, Expedia® Corporate Travel, TripAdvisor™ and Classic Vacations®. Expedia, Inc.’s companies also operate internationally with sites in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, and China, through its investment in eLong™. The company is dedicated to positively impacting global tourism and promoting sustainable tourism through the World Heritage Alliance – a joint initiative with the United Nations Foundation. For more information, visit (NASDAQ: EXPE).

About the UN Foundation:
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and also works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. The UN Foundation is a public charity.

For more information:
• Individuals looking to get informed and involved, please visit:
• Travelers looking for World Heritage trips, please visit:
• For a full listing of all 830 World Heritage sites, please visit:

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