Corporate Responsibility Report
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 676,000 rooms in over 4,600 hotels in almost 100 countries and territories, IHG is one of the world’s leading hotel companies. Guests make over 153 million stays in our hotels every year so it's hardly surprising that our economic impact is significant. Our research shows that every dollar spent in an IHG US hotel means a further seven dollars spent in the US economy. Watch our newest 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 two of our industry's biggest challenges – global climate change and the economic downturn, and how these impact on local communities. Our initiatives are helping us to measure and manage our environmental impacts, and provide jobs and training opportunities 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.
We are an active member of the International Tourism Partnership established by the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) 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.
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. The new methodology was launched in June 2012. The carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings can now be calculated and communicated in a consistent and transparent way via IHG Green Engage.
We also contributed to a working group on human rights issues.
IHG's InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand has been working in partnership with National Geographic since 2009. You can read more about our work with National Geographic below, or view the See the Different in the World video.
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts – proud to be working in partnership with National Geographic – case study
At InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, we believe that travel provides the opportunity for authentic, enriching experiences. We love to share our local knowledge, helping guests discover the true essence of our destinations. In connecting people with all that is special about a place, we recognise that we have a responsibility to respect and protect the nature, heritage and communities that make it unique. To help protect all that is special about the places you visit, we have been working in partnership with National Geographic since 2009. The National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest non profit scientific and educational organisations, and is dedicated to protecting the world's distinctive places.
Together, we are committed to making a difference in the world. We aim to encourage a deep appreciation of the special places on our planet, and work to protect nature, heritage and communities, preserving them for future generations to enjoy. Throughout the year, our InterContinental hotels and resorts take part in activities to ensure their location remains an appealing place to visit for future generations.
In 2012, we joined National Geographic in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of UNESCO's World Heritage Convention. Today, there are over 950 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – from the Acropolis to Yosemite National Park and the Great Wall of China. These are all places of unique cultural importance or unspoiled natural landscapes. During our 'InterContinental Responsible Business Week' in September, InterContinental hotels and resorts from around the world took part in activities that were 'in the spirit' of UNESCO, supporting nearby sites of historical or cultural interest.
Some of these activities included:
Preserving The Historic City of Ayutthaya – InterContinental Bangkok and the IHG corporate office worked to preserve The Historic City of Ayutthaya by building 500 metres of tree fence in order to protect Wat Prasrisanpetch and the Royal Palace from flooding. The ancient temple dates from 1448 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Repairing the Ming Dynasty Tombs – InterContinental Beijing Beichen cleaned and repaired the Ming Dynasty Tombs – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The location of the tombs were chosen on feng shui principles by the third Ming Dynasty emperor Yongle (1402–1424), who moved the capital of China from Nanjing to its the present location in Beijing.
Protecting the Comana Monastery – Comana Monastery, 34 kilometres south of Bucharest, was built in 1461 by Vlad Tepes the Impaler (Dracula), and is one of the oldest and most historically important monasteries close to Bucharest. The team at InterContinental Bucharest helped to clean the basement of the monastery and the surrounding area which is now a museum, as well as the site where Vlad the Impaler is allegedly buried.
Protecting the Botanical Gardens of Guatemala – Colleagues from Hotel Real InterContinental Guatemala restored the gates that protect the Botanical Gardens of Guatemala. The gardens are home to many endangered plants that are indigenous to the country, and form an important part of the country's heritage and future.
More of our hotel's stories can be found on intercontinental.com/responsible.
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.