Accor, a world leading hospitality Group, this week announced that Orient Express, the legendary artisan of travel since 1883, will sponsor the French team competing in the 37th America’s Cup, to be held in Barcelona in 2024.
The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy and one of the world’s most daring and prestigious sporting endeavors. With one of its flagship luxury brands– Orient Express - Accor’s sponsorship demonstrates the Group’s growing involvement in the high seas and follows the recent launch of the world’s largest leisure sailing ships, Orient Express Silenseas, which will be built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, a world-leading shipbuilding company based in Saint-Nazaire, France. The Orient Express-sponsored boat will be crewed by Quentin Delapierre.
Through its loyalty program & digital platform ALL-Accor Live Limitless, the group is also the global sponsor of the France SailGP Team. This partnership began in January 2023 at the Singapore Sail Grand Prix and will be ongoing for all worldwide events through the end of the 2024 season. SailGP is considered as the most exhilarating sailing championship in the world with the most spectacular races on the highest performing catamarans.
“In line with our global commitments toward eco-responsibility, Accor is furthering its ambitions to become a key partner in promoting excellence and driving innovation, while supporting the French sailing teams. All of us at Accor are motivated by passion, adventure, and team spirit, which is why sailing resonates so strongly with us,” said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO Accor, “At 172 years old, the America’s Cup is an icon of the sailing world. Legendary in terms of its history and its unrelenting pursuit of excellence, it is the natural choice for the first ever Orient Express-sponsored competitive boat!”
With Accor, France is back in the America’s Cup with the best possible means
Construction of the Orient Express-sponsored boat – an AC75 – will begin in April this year in Brittany, France, and is expected to be completed by Spring 2024. Thanks to a technical partnership with the Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), Orient Express Team will compete on equal terms with its competitors in the Challenger Selection Series in September 2024 and will endeavor to face the ETNZ Defender in the finals.
As with the construction of the Orient Express Silenseas, the high technology project will benefit the French economy and its maritime industry and expertise. The construction of the AC75 boat will be partly driven by the same shipbuilders involved in the Orient Express Silenseas construction. Together, these projects promote French innovation, capabilities, and technological excellence.
A collaboration based on shared values
Orient Express is leading the luxury and travel sectors into the future with an ambitious and innovative reimagination of sailing history. The brand is committed to using its rich heritage to create unique experiences which push the limits of what is possible. For 140 years, the legendary hospitality brand has continuously dominated the race for brilliance by providing unique and bespoke travel experiences. The rich heritage and daring spirit of Orient Express meets its counterpart in the sporting world with the French sailing teams running for America’s Cup, which itself is a spectacular celebration of human and technological excellence, gathering the best sailing talent in the world to transcend the impossible.
Through Orient Express and ALL – Accor Live Limitless, Accor is supporting all segments of the competition: the America’s Cup, the Youth America’s Cup and the newly launched Women’s America’s Cup. Like Accor in the hospitality sector and beyond, America’s Cup encourages the training of young talent and takes action to promote gender equality. The Orient Express-sponsored boat will race in both the women’s and men’s Cups. Accor is pleased to take part in the tournament at this point in its history and is excited to support female sailors in what has previously been a male dominated competition.
The partnership will also provide a vector of experiences and opportunities for Accor’s guests and loyalty members, allowing them to discover the best in sailing, technology, and sport. This experiential dimension of the brand is a major axis of development for the Group. Loyalty program members will be able to participate exclusively in these events (access to new experiences with the team at SailGP events around the world and unique behind-the-scenes moments with access to the team as they prepare for the biggest challenges of their careers).
“We are very happy and proud to wear the colors of Orient Express, a timeless brand of the Accor group and a legendary name the world over. Orient Express has strong ties to France and has been an artisan of travel since 1883”, said Stephan Kandler, Founder and CEO of K-Challenge. “Accor has made a global and ambitious commitment that will allow our sport-tech platform K-Challenge, which I lead with my visionary co-owner Bruno Dubois, to engage in multiple sports and technology projects that champion French expertise, talents, and innovation. Our goal is to revolutionize the world of sailing.”
Driving sustainability and innovation
Participating to the America’s Cup and SailGP are pursuant to Accor’s global commitments toward eco-responsibility in the travel industry and more broadly to be an environmental pioneer in the maritime sector.
Accor has a history of supporting water-based projects, ensures its partnerships are aligned with its own ESG goals and works toward creating a sustainable future for hospitality. Since 2017, Accor has supported the world’s first autonomous zero-emission hydrogen ship, Energy Observer, whose mission is to develop sustainable solutions and raise awareness of ecological transition issues. The team behind this collaboration is also working on the development of green sailing technology which will be part of the design process of the Orient Express-sponsored boat.
As another example of Accor’s commitment toward the protection of oceans, Orient Express Silenseas has been uniquely designed to champion sustainable sailing. The ship will incorporate innovations relating to “weather routing” that will optimize routes according to winds and currents and will also deploy several types of eco-responsible and sustainable systems. Accor has long been a pioneer of developing sustainable travel experiences and investing in innovations to enable positive hospitality solutions with a reduced environmental impact.
As a part of its environmental commitments, Accor also closely collaborates with Amundi and the Fondation de la Mer (Sea Foundation), which has developed a framework to help companies measure impacts and make positive changes, with a common goal to conserve the oceans and seas and use marine resources sustainably.