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World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 Finalists Released

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Responsible Travel has today announced the 13 finalists in the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM London sponsored by Belize

The 13 finalists now need to wait until the Awards ceremony at World Travel Market in London to discover who will be crowned the 2016 overall winner.

Commenting on the standard of the finalists, Chair of Judges, Professor Harold Goodwin says “This year we have an incredibly strong field of contenders.


“Over the past few months each of these organisations has been subject to intense scrutiny by a panel of judges combining some of the leading minds in responsible tourism, conservation and development in the country. They have come through one of the most rigorous and competitive judging processes for an Awards scheme of this kind and have emerged as international leaders in their respective fields.”

Dr Dilys Roe, a principle researcher at the sustainable development think-tank the International Institute for Environment and Development joined the judging panel this year bringing expertise in biodiversity and pro-poor conservation. With a background in tourism research stretching 20+ years she is uniquely placed to observe how far responsible tourism has come over the last two decades.

“I haven’t worked in tourism specifically since the early 2000’s – focussing on conservation instead. Coming back into it now I am surprised and impressed by how far things in responsible tourism have really moved on.

“Here we are, a mainstream awards at a mainstream travel trade event and we have amazing applicants who aren’t even in the running, whereas 16 years ago it was difficult to make anything happen in sustainable tourism. This is a real leap forward”.


Justin Francis, founder of the World Responsible Tourism Awards and CEO of organisers Responsible Travel echoes this view of progress. “In the early years of the Awards we saw the same people coming back year on year – now every judging day we have things we don’t know about, in sectors of the tourism industry we haven’t seen before, in places we haven’t seen before.

“This year we have seen levels of innovation that have surpassed our expectations, led by some truly entrepreneurial businesses. These are organisations which are using tourism as a counter to contemporary social problems, or translating ideas from other social businesses into the travel sector – they are pushing the boundaries of what responsible business can achieve”.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 8th November 2016 at a ceremony at World Travel Market London, where over 500 tourism professionals, tourism ministers and media representatives are expected to attend.

WTM London, Senior Exhibition Director, and fellow judge Simon Press says “Once again the World Responsible Tourism Awards will be a key part of the opening of World Responsible Tourism Day at WTM London. The stories of the winners and their achievements will be even more poignant this year as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of World Responsible Tourism Day – the largest day of responsible tourism action in the world.”

This year the World Responsible Tourism Awards are sponsored by Belize. Karen Bevans, Director of Tourism comments on the finalists “We are extremely proud to be backing these thirteen incredible organisations. It’s incredibly inspiring to see the calibre and variety of sustainable and responsible tourism outfits across the world. As we move forward with the next stage of our sustainable tourism plan here in Belize, we hope that their stories will in turn inspire businesses in our country, as well as in other parts of the world, to invest in, and achieve more through sustainable tourism.”

The full list of 2016 finalists:

  • !Xaus Lodge, South Africa
  • Burj Al Arab Aquarium, United Arab Emirates
  • Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Resort, South Africa
  • East African Safari & Touring Company, Tanzania
  • Elevate Destinations, USA
  • Friends International – Childsafe Movement, Cambodia
  • Lemon Tree Hotels, India
  • Misool Eco Lodge, Indonesia
  • Sam Veasna Centre, Cambodia
  • Sapa O’Chau, Vietnam
  • Tren Ecuador, Ecuador
  • Viaggi Solidali, Italy
  • World Cetacean Alliance

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Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green

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A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:

  • They arranged a carpool with their friends.
  • They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
  • They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
  • My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.

My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.


Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm

People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.

How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:

There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.

People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before


Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.

One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:

“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”

Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative

Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.

Cost and Simplicity

A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.

Green Weddings Are the Future

Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.

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Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?

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Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.

Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.


Fulfilling a Genuine Need

Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.

Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.

After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.

Creating Opportunities

Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.


Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.

Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.

A Fundamental Foresight

Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.

However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.

They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.

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