Sun-kissed beaches, crystal-clear waters, and luxury accommodations – the quintessence of a dream vacation. And when it comes to delivering unforgettable experiences, few hotel chains can match the reputation of Iberostar Hotels & Resorts.
Founded in 1956 and headquartered in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Iberostar has become synonymous with excellence in hospitality.
From its humble beginnings as a single hotel, the company has expanded rapidly and currently boasts a portfolio of over 120 hotels in more than 35 countries. Known for their uncompromising focus on quality, Iberostar properties cater to a diverse range of travellers, from families seeking a relaxing getaway to couples looking to celebrate romance in style.
With a strong commitment to sustainability and a new initiative known as the Wave of Change movement, Iberostar has risen above the competition and established itself as a leader in the hospitality industry.
Wave of Change
In recent years, the global travel industry has faced growing pressure to address environmental issues and adopt sustainable practices. Iberostar was quick to recognize its responsibility in protecting the oceans and coastal ecosystems that are vital to the well-being of our planet.
In response to this challenge, the company launched the Wave of Change movement in 2018.
The Wave of Change is a comprehensive initiative that aims to move towards a circular economy, promote the responsible consumption of seafood and improve coastal health.
“We launched this initiative because it really is the values of the company. Everyone from the CEO right down to the day-to-day workers at all of our properties are dedicated to protecting marine environments and promoting responsible tourism,” said Mariela Zaldivar, BDM Director of Canada for Iberostar.
Iberostar focuses on core pillars to achieve these goals:
- Elimination of Single-Use Plastics: Iberostar has made significant strides in eliminating single-use plastics across all its properties. Straws, bottles, and other plastic items have been replaced with eco-friendly alternatives, reducing the burden on marine life and ecosystems.
- Sustainable Seafood: Recognizing the impact of overfishing on marine ecosystems, Iberostar is committed to serving only sustainably sourced seafood in its hotels. By partnering with local suppliers and promoting responsible fishing practices, they actively contribute to preserving marine biodiversity.
- Coral Restoration: Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and fragile ecosystems on Earth, facing threats from climate change and human activities. Iberostar supports coral restoration programs, actively working to rehabilitate these vital habitats and safeguard the marine life they support.
The Wave of Change movement not only exemplifies Iberostar’s dedication to sustainability but also serves as an inspiration for other industry players to adopt eco-conscious practices. It’s a clear demonstration of how a global hospitality brand can take concrete actions to make a positive impact on the environment.
“That is the company’s philosophy,” said Zaldivar.
A Canadian Love Affair
While Iberostar’s commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism has undoubtedly resonated with travellers worldwide, it has been particularly well-received among Canadian tourists.
Canadian travellers have consistently returned to Iberostar properties, drawn not only by the breathtaking locations and top-notch amenities but also by the brand’s dedication to environmental stewardship.
Marigold Frontuna, General Manager, Sales, Western Canada, Air Canada Vacations, said the movement has struck a chord with conscientious Canadian tourists who wish to make a positive difference while enjoying their vacations.
“In the last couple of years especially, when it comes to deciding where someone is going to stay or what brand, it’s no longer about price. Yes, price is still a factor, but it tends to be a secondary or afterthought,” said Frontuna. “Canadians are looking for brands now that demonstrate sustainability. They want to look at suppliers who have an impact on reducing the environmental footprint.”
Zaldivar echoes the sentiment of pride in the Canadian market’s receptiveness to the Wave of Change movement.
According to Zaldivar, 78 per cent of Canadians want to support sustainability in their vacation choices. She said as travellers become more mindful of the impact of their choices on the environment, Iberostar’s dedication to reducing its ecological footprint has resonated strongly with the Canadian market.
“We have internal data, that in the case of Canada, 78 per cent of guests take this into account,” said Zaldivar. “For me, it’s pride. I am very proud of Canadians. When I hear my colleagues telling me that Canadians take sustainability seriously, I am proud of that, because that is the company’s philosophy as well.”
Canadians’ strong commitment to sustainability aligns perfectly with Iberostar’s values as a family-owned company with over 60 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Iberostar’s focus on sustainability goes beyond marketing; it is ingrained in the company’s philosophy and embraced at all levels of its operations, Zaldivar said, inspiring trust and loyalty among both guests and travel agents.
Reward Program Paves the Path to Prosperity
Moreover, Iberostar’s Agent Reward Program has played a crucial role in fostering strong partnerships with Canadian travel agents.
By providing incentives and rewards, Iberostar encourages agents to promote their properties and the Wave of Change initiative passionately. This collaboration has resulted in a mutually beneficial relationship, with travel agents benefiting from exclusive perks and Iberostar expanding its Canadian customer base.
“Every time we visit our agents they greet us with such a big smile. It translates that they are happy with the brand. That is the best part of our job,” said Zaldivar. “Agents smile when they see us.”
The Wave of Change movement demonstrates that sustainability and luxury can go hand in hand, inspiring the industry to rethink its impact on the planet.
“Being green doesn’t mean not being fancy or glamorous. Not at all,” said Zaldivar.
Iberostar’s dedication to both luxury and sustainability has captured the hearts of Canadian travellers and travel agents alike. As Canadian travellers continue to return to Iberostar’s shores, and the brand’s Agent Reward Program keeps building strong partnerships, the company is hopeful that their vision of responsible tourism will shape the future of hospitality worldwide.
In 2020, Iberostar Group launched its sustainability commitments, advancing a model of responsible tourism based on the following major objectives to be met during this decade:
- Become waste free by 2025 and carbon neutral by 2030 (20 years ahead of the global industry target).
- Source 100% of seafood from responsible sources by 2025
- Ensure all ecosystems surrounding Iberostar’s properties are improving in ecological health alongside profitable tourism by 2030.