27 January 2022, Colombo: Spearheading the tourism industry’s sustainability drive, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts have committed to UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge for dedicating to five sustainability key pillars, becoming the first hotel chain in Sri Lanka to attain this badge of honour.
Sharing his thoughts Hishan Singhawansa – Chief Operating Officer, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts said, “The UNESCO Sustainability Travel Pledge reinforces the framework for Cinnamon’s ongoing sustainability efforts in community engagement, energy and water conservation, and reduction of waste and single-use plastics. We have upheld our commitment to sustainable working practices since the inception and this ethos of responsible tourism inspires all our offerings. This accolade will help amplify our sustainability efforts to like-minded travellers and entrench our credentials deeper in the global travel space as a sustainability-focused hospitality partner.”
In accordance with the pledge, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts will continue to take action that will preserve and protect the environment, local culture and communities; joining leading hotel chains around the world such as the Accor Group and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts that are setting trends towards sustainable travel.
“I am happy to see that Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts have joined the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge, which encourages the tourism industry to commit to concrete, transparent and achievable action for sustainable tourism. We now have 4,200 hotels on board around the world and we hope to see other hotels in Sri Lanka join the initiative, so that together we can better promote sustainable tourism” stated Eric Falt – Director and Representative, UNESCO New Delhi Cluster Office for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
In obtaining this badge of honour, UNESCO has taken into account Cinnamon’s past and ongoing unique sustainability projects. Under its community efforts presently, the Cinnamon Internship program develops skills and enhances the employability of local youth; Project Leopard supports the livelihood of cattle farmers and safeguards the leopard population; and the Sustainable Tourism Leadership ensures the social and economic well-being of local communities through engagement, education and empowerment. 80% of all Cinnamon’s team members are recruited from the local neighborhoods while Cinnamon Wild Yala partners with drivers from the area who are contracted to supply safari jeeps for guests.
Meanwhile, the Cinnamon Elephant Project at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana partners with Sri Lanka’s foremost elephant research scientist, Dr. Pruthuviraj Fernando, to catalogue the bull elephants in the Minneriya and Kaudulla National parks which is also the staging ground for the Great Elephant Gathering in Sri Lanka. This event is now officially listed by Lonely Planet as the 6th greatest animal gathering of the world.
Cinnamon’s energy conservation practices range from installing solar PV systems and energy-efficient lighting, to waste-to-energy bio-gas plants and solar water heaters. In its water conservation projects, Cinnamon conducts water audits, operates effluent treatment plants to recycle water. Targeting the reduction of single-use plastics, Cinnamon segregates and recycles plastic, cardboard, aluminum, glass and other forms of waste at all hotels and resorts and has taken measures to achieve reduction in single-use plastics by as much as 50% by the year 2025. Sustainability best practices and projects of Cinnamon, position them as one the foremost eco-friendly chains in Sri Lanka.
The UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge is a collaboration between the Expedia Group and UNESCO to build stronger industry-wide commitment for sustainable tourism and travel. The Pledge aims to be the most widespread and effective sustainability badge for the travel industry, identifying participants who commit to concrete, impactful sustainability initiatives.