The best players in the responsible tourism industry have been recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony that aims to encourage and inspire the tourism industry to consider its impact.
The World Responsible Tourism Awards were announced earlier this month to mark world responsible tourism day. The awards were presented by Justin Francis, managing director of responsibletravel.com, organiser and founder of the award, and Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi, undersecretary of Oman Ministry for Tourism.
The awards were founded in 2004 to celebrate and inspire change in the tourism industry. The awards argue that all types of tourism can and should be organised in a way that respects and benefits the destinations, from people to the environment.
This year the judges wanted to recognise two very different category winners that demonstrate that it is possible to address the rights agenda whilst being commercially successful.
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The first was the South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA). The SAASA ‘re-wilds’ animals back to the state where they can be released into semi-wild, multi-species, free-roaming sanctuaries. Currently they have three sanctuaries and they use tourism to help fund conservation efforts.
The second is Campo and Parque dos Sonhos, which has become a model of accessible tourism that recognises the importance for incorporating accessibility. Parque dos Sanhos has raised the bar in terms of accessibility and in outdoor and adventure tourism.
World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014 winners
Best animal welfare initiative
Gold winners: World Animal Protection, and South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance
Best aviation programme for carbon reduction
Gold winner: Thomson Airways
Best for beach tourism
Gold winner: Chloe Mjini Conservations & Development
Silver winner: Casa de las Olas
Best city hotel
Gold winner: Hotel Verde
Silver winners: ITC Grand Chola, and Jurys Inn Brighton
Best cultural heritage attraction
Silver winner: Festivals of Puebla
Gold winner: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Best for engaging people & culture
Gold winner: Kutch Adventures
Silver winner: Footsteps Eco Lodge
People’s choice for responsible tourism
Winner: Nam Nern Night Safari
Finalists: Chepu Adventures Ecolodge, Snowcarbon, TUI Nederland, People and places, ReefCI, Village Ways, The Great Projects, and Mara Naboisho
Best for people with disabilities
Gold winners: Campo and Parque dos Sonhos, and Cavan town & Environs
Silver winner: Native Charming Hotels and Accessible Tourism
Best for poverty reduction
Gold winner: Adventure Alternative
Silver winners: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and Mdumbi Backpackers
Best short film for responsible tourism
Gold winner: Travel Oregon’s “John Day River Territory”
Silver winners: GLP Films “Basecamp Foundations- Pioneering Sustainable Tourism in Kenya’s Masai Mara”, and World Wildlife Fund’s ”The Guardian”
Best for wildlife conservation
Gold winner: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Silver winners: Chambai Safari Hotels Pvt, and On Track Safaris
Photo: marganz via Freeimages