Hilton has announced an initial investment of USD$1 million to drive sustainable travel and tourism in Africa.
To do so, the company will focus on five key areas – Hilton’s Big Five:
• Youth Opportunity: investing in training and apprenticeship programs to build a strong talent pipeline and tackle identified challenges for youth, including underemployment
• Water Stewardship: the expansion of existing partnerships and the creation of new alliances to help Hilton achieve its goal to reduce its water consumption by 50% and activate 20 context-based water projects in at-risk communities by 2030
• Anti-Human Trafficking: the provision of training and auditing to mitigate against human trafficking, alongside engagement with local NGOs to address the social challenges in local communities
• Local Sourcing: the creation of partnerships to build local entrepreneurs’ capacity to deliver high quality and authentic goods and services, and integrate them into Hilton’s supply chain
• Protecting Wildlife: the promotion of responsible wildlife-based tourism, in line with the WTTC Buenos Aires Declaration on Travel & Tourism and Illegal Wildlife Trade
This announcement follows the recent launch of Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 goals to double its investment in social impact and cut its environmental footprint in half across the globe.
Speaking at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Nairobi, Chris Nassetta Hilton’s President and CEO said: “Hilton is committed to creating a positive social and environmental impact in every community where we operate. Africa is an incredibly diverse continent, with equally diverse challenges and opportunities — and as we continue to grow in the region, we are focused on doing so in a way that promotes sustainable travel and tourism. Today we are pleased to take our efforts to the next level with an initial commitment of $1 million, which will allow us to invest in and scale up initiatives that build skills among young people, mitigate risks in human trafficking, engage local entrepreneurs across our supply chain, improve water efficiencies and promote responsible wildlife-based tourism.”
“Hilton’s President and CEO’s visit to Africa is timely and sends a strong signal to environmentally conscious investors across the continent. It will set higher standards for future projects in the hospitality industry throughout Africa. Hilton’s growing interest in Africa’s promising and emerging market is a windfall for job creation among youth and will significantly contribute to sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity,” Leila Ndiaye, President & CEO of the Initiative for Global Development.
Hilton’s Big Five will build upon an existing foundation of partnerships and initiatives to deepen the company’s impact and to inspire positive social and environmental change across its value chain.
Hilton’s existing 41 operating hotels in Africa have carried out 460 volunteering projects since 2012 to support their communities and manage their environmental impact. Some examples include:
• Passport to Success soft skills training developed with our global partner, the International Youth Foundation, to build competencies including problem-solving, teamwork and leadership skills. To date, this training has impacted close to 800 young people across Africa
• Partnership with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) in Seychelles: Hilton buy from local producers focused on sustainable agriculture and the hotels also created on-property gardens that supplement their supply of fresh produce, and collectively, source over 80% of their vegetables locally
• Soap4Hope in partnership with Diversey, bringing soap recycling to communities in need. Hilton was first to launch Soap4Hope in eight countries: Kenya, Namibia, Seychelles, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Since 2014, more than 39 tons of soap have been recycled by 14 participating Hilton properties, creating over 7,000 bars of soap per month
With 53 properties in its development pipeline Hilton expects to double its portfolio of hotels on the continent during the next five years, including entering new markets such as Botswana, Ghana, Swaziland, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda.