Hotel art project for young people is UNWTO winner

Young artists with their Adding Colour mural in Johannesburg

Young artists with their Adding Colour mural in Johannesburg

An innovative urban art project for at-risk youth, sponsored by Park Inn by Radisson won the UNWTO Award for Excellence and Innovation in Enterprises.

Park Inn by Radisson’s “Adding Color to Lives” project brings together youth in difficult life situations to collaborate on a community art project which expresses their dreams and cultural heritage.

The project brings renowned street artist Joel Bergner to work with Park Inn by Radisson hotel staff, local young people and members of the community, who create large-scale urban murals in their neighborhoods. The murals are part of a long-term engagement of Park Inn by Radisson hotels with vulnerable youth on various levels: as mentors, coaches, for sports and cultural activities and to grow the youth’s employability skills and increase their access to decent jobs and a better future overall.

Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President, Responsible Business, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said, “Adding Color to Lives is a great programme in support of the U.N. International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

“From a single individual to our surrounding communities - and expanding to points across the globe - it creates a ripple effect of positive change, allowing us to add colour to the young people’s lives. The long-term connection between our more than 140 Park Inn by Radisson hotels worldwide and local youth-at-risk also contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8 on providing decent work for all.”

One of the main goals of the project is to give young people from difficult backgrounds, the chance to express themselves.

Park Inn by Radisson is a brand which cares for youth at risk. Launching the programme in September 2015, the company invited Joel Bergner ( to create and paint a series of public murals together with local, disadvantaged youth and our employees. The project generated a unique collaboration and gave the young people a voice to express them­selves through art.

In 2016 murals were painted in Tallinn, Estonia; Olso, Norway; Krakow, Poland and Johannesburg, South Africa. The Adding Color to Lives programme will continue to run in 2017, with its first Park Inn by Radisson mural in the US, Sharon, Pennsylvania.

The UNWTO Awards paid tribute to the commitment of the tourism sector towards sustainability and innovation.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said, “The 13th UNWTO Awards is particularly relevant as it coincides with the official launch of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, a milestone and an immense opportunity for the global tourism community to advance towards a more inclusive and sustainable sector.”

Other winners and runners-up included:

Guanajuato Ministry of Tourism, Mexico; Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, Costa Rica; Valencia Region Tourism Board, Spain; Advisory Council of the Tourism Ministry, Egypt; Ecobnb, Italy; Govardhan Ecovillage, India; Petra National Trust, Jordan; Fundación Tropicalia, Dominican Republic; ANVR (Dutch Travel Trade Association), Netherlands; Turismo de Portugal, IP, Portugal and Ulysses Foundation, Spain.

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