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Corporate Responsibility Report

Responsible tourism

Illustration of hotel staff and customer

Fast facts

  • Travel & Tourism is one of the world's largest industries, supporting 260 million jobs worldwide and generating 9% of world GDP (Source: World Travel & Tourism Council)
  • International tourist arrivals are predicted to increase from 903 million in 2007 to 1.6 billion by 2020 (Source: International Tourism Partnership)
  • Each dollar or pound or real spent at an IHG hotel multiplies through the economy six to seven times. (Source: Economic Impacts Study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of IHG)

IHG and responsible tourism

Tourism plays a large role in the world economy and is an important source of wealth for many countries, particularly developing countries where tourism may be the main source of economic prosperity.

We know from our own research that the economic impact of hospitality is far reaching. The supply chain of our industry has a knock-on effect, creating business activity in nearly all other economic sectors. Hotel guests spend money in the retail, recreation, transportation and restaurant sectors. And hotels provide a forum for business meetings, trade shows and conventions which in turn generate economic growth.

With more than 686,000 rooms in almost 4,700 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories, IHG is one of the world’s leading hotel companies. Our research shows that every dollar spent in an IHG US hotel means a further seven dollars spent in the US economy. Watch our video to find out more on IHG's global economic impact.

At the same time the industry faces increasing pressure to balance its economic performance with its social and environmental impacts. Acknowledging that this is the context in which we conduct our business, we believe that travel and tourism should be operated responsibly and that the long-term benefits of taking this approach far outweigh the costs. Hotels, as part of the global tourism industry, have a responsibility to ensure that owners and hotel general managers understand and adopt responsible tourism practices and that they educate their guests and suppliers in these principles.

It makes sense to put responsible tourism at the heart of our CR programme. It will play a major role in the long-term viability of our business and of the travel and tourism sector. The responsible tourism industry is expected to increase from 903 million in 2007 to 1.6 billion by 2020. We want to make sure we are in the best possible position to capitalise on this.

We continue to make good progress on initiatives that address our industry's biggest challenges – including global climate change, water use in areas of water scarcity, the economic downturn and the impact on local communities, the need for skilled staff at all levels, the need to ensure business continuity and help enhance community resilience in the face of more frequent extreme weather events. Our initiatives are helping us to measure and manage our environmental impacts, providing opportunities for skills building and improved job prospects and helping to foster resilience in the communities where we operate.

Climate change and innovation

By using resources such as energy and water wisely, minimising waste, conserving ecosystems and biodiversity, and sourcing locally wherever possible our hotels are reducing the negative impacts that contribute to climate change.

Find out more about climate change and what we are doing to reduce our impacts.

Local economic development

Responsible tourism is also about involving local people in tourism to generate greater wellbeing for their communities. Our hotels support economic development by creating stable sources of income and providing opportunities for both local employment and local businesses, notably as employees of and suppliers to the hotel.

Find out more about our Community Strategy in the Community section.

Partnerships and collaboration

To remain at the forefront of developments in responsible tourism we put a lot of effort into strengthening existing partnerships and developing new ones.

International Tourism Partnership logo

We are an active member of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) whose aim is to promote responsible tourism through responsible leadership. The programme provides members with a non-competitive platform to share knowledge and resources, develop policy and actively implement programmes that have a positive impact on economic, social and environmental issues.

World Travel Tourism Council logo

As a member of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2011 we took a lead role in the ITP/WTTC working group seeking to agree a common carbon metric for the industry and were able to feed in the results of our work with Cornell University. In June 2013 we supported the launch of HCMI 1.1, the global carbon standard that IHG helped to develop in collaboration with ITP, WTTC and 22 other leading hotel companies.

We are also a member of the International Tourism Partnership's Human Trafficking Working Group, which brings together representatives from several major hotel companies in order to raise awareness of this issue. We are a signatory of the joint statement against Human Trafficking created by this group.


We have a global partnership with CARE who work with us to develop and deliver our IHG Shelter in a Storm Programme. The partnership enables us to draw on their expertise in humanitarian assistance and helps us find appropriate partners in the area when disaster strikes, directing help to where it is needed. CARE is one of the world's three biggest aid agencies, which advises us on how to act and help find appropriate charity partners in the area of disaster relief to help hotels make the best use of their resources in times of disaster.

Over 9%

The tourist industry is estimated to account for over 9% of global GDP and employs over 8% of total employment worldwide (Source: World Travel & Tourism Council)

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

Saint Augustine

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