Expedia and the United Nations Foundation have announced the launch of the World Heritage Alliance, an innovative joint initiative to promote sustainable tourism and awareness of World Heritage sites and communities around the world.

This partnership believes conscientious travelers can contribute directly to nature conservation, historic preservation, and poverty reduction through sustainable tourism.

"As one of the world's leading travel service providers, Expedia has the unique privilege of helping educate our customers, suppliers, and employees about the importance of sustainable tourism," said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia "By working with the UN Foundation to found the World Heritage Alliance, we hope to expand our customers' travel horizons and help preserve our world's treasures for current and future generations to enjoy."

There are currently 812 designated World Heritage sites that span 137 countries and offer an extraordinary range of travel experiences. These sites have been internationally recognized for their outstanding value and are protected by the 1972 World Heritage Convention, signed by 180 countries and administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

World Heritage sites include many of the most iconic travel spots on the planet, such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; the Egyptian Pyramids; the Taj Mahal in India; England's Stonehenge; the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador; and 20 sites in the United States, including Yellowstone and the Statue of Liberty. But the list also encompasses scores of lesser-known places of singular importance, including Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo; the Buddhist Borobudur Temple Compounds in Central Java, Indonesia; the archaeologically rich Orkhon Valley in Mongolia; and the sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand, home to more than 125 separate species of birds.