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World Travel & Tourism Council

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards winners unveiled

The winners of this year’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were announced during a special welcome dinner that took place at the opening ceremony of the Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas on 17 May, organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise those leading organisations that have gone the extra mile to demonstrate sustainable tourism best practices in their philosophy, strategy and operations. Government figures and company …

The winners of this year’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were announced during a special welcome dinner that took place at the opening ceremony of the Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas on 17 May, organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise those leading organisations that have gone the extra mile to demonstrate sustainable tourism best practices in their philosophy, strategy and operations.

Government figures and company leaders were present as winners and finalists were honoured for their pioneering achievements in advancing sustainability to a higher level in the Travel & Tourism industry, including protecting the environment, support for culture heritage preservation, and helping to generate future employment.

As sustainable tourism increasingly gains momentum around the world, organisations and destinations are raising the bar on best practices to new heights. Winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards representing three continents, from Africa, to Europe and Australia, were selected for their outstanding achievements in four categories, narrowed down from 12 finalists and over 180 Award entries from more than 60 countries.

Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe won the Conservation Award for its successful partnership with the local Malilangwe Trust in helping rehabilitate and protect 122,789 acres of degraded wildlife habitat that had suffered from years of poaching. Today, the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve includes 38 different habitats that are home to four percent of all bird species in the world, along with rare and endangered animals including black rhino, white rhino, Lichtensteins hartebeest and African wild dogs, among other wildlife. The lodge and the Trust employ over 200 staff, almost all local Zimbabweans, while providing drinkable, clean borehole water and a nutritional outreach programme to more than 10,000 villagers in the area.

Guludo Beach Lodge in Mozambique won the Community Benefit Award for having demonstrated direct and tangible benefits to local people, a strong contribution to community development and enhancement of cultural heritage in the area. Situated in the Quirimbas National Park, Northern Mozambique, Guludo Beach Lodge opened in 2006 in one of Mozambique’s most deprived areas. Through its non-profit charity, Nema Foundation, Guludo works with 16 local communities to implement grassroots projects based on the UN Millennium Development Goals, including malaria eradication, clean drinking water, primary healthcare and rural agriculture production.

Alpine Pearls, a non-profit organisation headquartered in Austria won the Destination Stewardship Award , having successfully demonstrated sustainable tourism management at a regional destination level. To ease heavy traffic congestion in one of Europe’s most popular tourism areas – the Alpine communities of Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and France – the 24 member Pearls network has developed an innovative approach to providing sustainable transport between villages, including solar powered electric vehicles, low carbon public transport and free use of bicycles for tourists who leave their cars behind. The network also embraces and promotes Alpine folklore, culture and cuisine. By moving guests around its resorts sustainably, Alpine Pearls is successfully addressing one of the most challenging environmental conundrums faced by travel professionals worldwide.

Intrepid Travel in Australia won the Global Tourism Business Award for having demonstrated best practices in sustainable tourism at a large company level. Intrepid Travel is a group experiential tour operator that takes approximately 100,000 travellers to 130 countries each year. In addition to fair trade sourcing of their supply chain and environmentally–friendly practices such as measuring, reducing and auditing their carbon emissions at 30 global offices, the non-profit Intrepid Foundation also actively supports health care, education, human rights, child welfare, and sustainable development in the areas Intrepid Travel visits.

The Tourism for Tomorrow Winners underwent a rigorous four-step judging process with an international team of 22 independent judges, led by Costas Christ, a leading expert on sustainable tourism. After all Award entries were received by WTTC, they were carefully reviewed and finalists were selected, followed by an on-site inspection, including local meetings with project stakeholders. The selection of winners was carried out by a committee; Keith Bellows, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Traveler, USA; Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, USA; Lindsay Garbutt, CEO, Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation & Culture, Belize; Fiona Jeffery, Chairman, World Travel Market & Just A Drop, UK; and Robin Tauck, Owner, Tauck World Discoveries & R. Tauck & Partners, USA.

Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, commented “We are entering a new era where sustainable tourism principles and practices are no longer represented by a handful of well-meaning companies. Instead, sustainability itself has emerged as an indicator of tourism quality, alongside traditional quality standards such as excellent guest services. Sustainable tourism is here to stay, and it continues to demonstrate new levels of accomplishment each year.”

Commenting on their achievements, David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, explained: “Following a dramatic expansion of sustainable best practices in Travel & Tourism, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed in this area. Today’s winners, representing the very best, have all gone the extra mile in addressing these challenges. Through their tremendous efforts and innovations, they have demonstrated the vital role of responsible tourism in economic development.”

He added: "A key part of WTTC’s mission is to promote long-term prosperity and growth while balancing economics, cultures and our environment."

Each winner will be invited to submit case studies to be featured on WTTC’s Best Practice Gateway, the world’s first online library for best practice in sustainability in Travel & Tourism (www.wttc.org).

Last year’s winners included Botswana Tourism Board in the Destination Stewardship category, Emirates Hotels & Resorts, UAE, in the Conservation category, Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd, New Zealand, in the Community Benefit category and Accor, France & Global in the Global Tourism Business category.

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organised in association with Travelport and the Travel Corporation’s Conservation Foundation.

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