The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has confirmed the names of the 12 independent finalist selection judges for its 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.
Every year WTTC recognises innovative leaders in sustainable tourism through its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards - one of the highest accolades in the global travel and tourism industry honouring those companies, organisations and destinations that are setting the standard for sustainable tourism best practice.
An international team of judges, appointed by WTTC and led by Costas Christ, chairman of the judges and a top expert in sustainable tourism, identify the global leaders in sustainable tourism following a rigorous three-step judging process, which also includes an on-site evaluation of all finalists to review first hand how they are putting sustainable tourism practices into action.
The 12 judges on the Finalist Selection Committee for 2012 are:
Tony Charters, principal, Tony Charters & Associates, Australia.
Jena Gardner, president, JG Blackbook of Travel, and president, The Bodhi Tree Foundation, USA.
Marilú Hernández, president, Fundación Haciendas del Mundo Maya, Mexico.
Gail Henry, sustainable tourism product specialist, Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Barbados.
Judy Kepher-Gona, chief executive, Base Camp Foundation, Kenya.
Graham Miller, senior lecturer in tourism management, University of Surrey, UK.
Kauahi Ngapora, chief operating officer, Whale Watch Kaikoura, New Zealand.
Neil Rogers, director of marketing, Francis Ford Coppola Resorts and special advisor, Visit Sapmi Indigenous Tourism, Sweden.
Mahen Sanghrajka, chairman, Big Five Tours & Expeditions, USA/Kenya.
Mandip Singh Soin FRGS, founder & managing director, Ibex Expeditions, India.
Jalsa Urubshurow, president, Nomadic Expeditions, Mongolia.
Tony Williams, chief executive hospitality, Just Sustainability, United Arab Emirates.
WTTC president, David Scowsill, said: ‘We are delighted to have such a high calibre of international judges to select our finalists who will together provide an important perspective based on their diverse cultural backgrounds and professional expertise in the travel and tourism industry.
“WTTC is proud to announce this years’ Finalist Selection Committee and eagerly await the announcement of this year’s winners at the WTTC Global Summit in Tokyo on April 17th 2012.”
The panel is selected on a multi-stakeholder approach reflective of the global travel and tourism industry in order to provide an opportunity for the private sector, academic institutions, non-profit organisations and government to be represented among the judges.
The judges will carefully review all Award submissions and select a shortlist of 12 finalists by February 2012, in four award categories, including Conservation, Community Benefit, Destination Stewardship and Global Tourism Business.
Following the selection of finalists, the second stage of the judging process gets underway, the on-site evaluation.
In March, the finalists then move into the third and last stage of the judging process - the selection of the winners.
A five-member judge winner selection committee meets after a detailed review of the finalist selection committee judges’ recommendations, the award applications, and the on-site evaluation report, selecting one winner in each Award category.
The winners will be announced on stage during the Awards Ceremony held at WTTC’s Global Summit on the evening of April 17th in Tokyo.
All winners and finalists will also receive worldwide media exposure.
Costas Christ, chairman of judges said: “Sustainable tourism may be the most significant transformation in the history of modern travel, changing the very way people travel on holiday or for business.
“We have moved beyond the question of whether sustainable tourism can deliver on its promise to help protect natural and cultural heritage, and support the well being of local communities.
“The past winners and finalists of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have demonstrated that it can.
“The real question before us today is just how far sustainable tourism principles and practices will take us toward a greener future, as more of the global travel and tourism industry makes sustainability part of their business model.”
WTTC also takes this opportunity to make a further call for entries to all leaders of sustainable tourism.
Applications from all over the world can be submitted within one of the four categories: Global Tourism Business, Conservation, Community Benefit and Destination Stewardship.
Applications must be submitted by December 1st 2011.