The theme for Responsible Business Week 2012 is inspired by National Geographic’s support of UNESCO’s World Heritage and sustainable tourism initiative ‘People Protecting Places’. During Responsible Business Week, InterContinental properties were invited to emulate UNESCO’s mission to protect and preserve unique natural and cultural heritage sites close to their hotels. 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention during which special focus was placed on the links between World Heritage and sustainable development, and in particular the role played by local communities.
In the Middle East, 17 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts dedicated their time and effort to cleaning up important heritage sites and local sites of natural beauty. Some hotels also took the opportunity to educate its colleagues and guests about the environment and its preservation, whilst others used the opportunity to help others in need.
Dar Al Tawid InterContinental in Mecca has a wealth of historic sites in the area, including the Islamic site of Jabl-Al-Tawr. Known for housing the ‘Cave of the Bull’, Jabl-Al-Tawr is often visited by pilgrims during Hajj or Umrah. A team of colleagues from the hotel hiked up the steep and rocky trail to clean up the cave and the surrounding area.
InterContinental Abu Dhabi joined forces with two diving centres and the Centre for Waste Management to clean up the beaches and the sea in a ‘dive against debris’.
In total, 14 hotels launched clean-up campaigns, from Taif InterContinental picking litter in the historical Souq Okaz in Saudi Arabia, to Egypt where InterContinental Cairo Citystars spent a day cleaning up around the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. In Qatar, Doha’s two InterContinental Hotels joined forces to send a large group of colleagues on a clean-up mission to Al Zubarah Fort and the city of Al Zubarah, followed by educational events in the hotels to raise awareness of the UNESCO sites.
Other hotel activities included garage sales for the needy, blood donations, tree planting, recycling drives, and support for local craftsmen through organised showcase events.
“Hotels play an important role in communities all around the world. We’re thrilled that InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is making such a commitment to looking after their local heritage sites via Responsible Business Week for the third year in a row, and we’re looking forward to working with the hotels in the conservation of a number of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites beyond this week,” says Kimberly Connaghan, V.P. National Geographic Global Media, Travel, and publisher of National Geographic Traveler magazine.
David Jerome, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, IHG says: “IHG understands that acting responsibly reinforces trust in our brands, builds competitive advantage and strengthens our corporate reputation whilst doing the right thing for our communities. And with hotels all over the world, we have a tremendous opportunity to make travel and tourism more responsible and successful.”
Simon Scoot, Vice President Global Brands, InterContinental / IHG Global Resorts, says: “We know that our customers want to stay with brands that are responsible, and that is why we want to do things in a responsible way. One of the ways in which we demonstrate this is our long term partnership with National Geographic, and now UNESCO. Responsible Business Week is a special time when we come together as a brand to make a difference all over the World.”
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