A young British couple who set up an eco-tourism Lodge in Mozambique to help relieve poverty in the local community, have been named as one of the Tourism for Tomorrow Winners at a major Awards ceremony organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in Las Vegas.
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.
In 2006, Amy, 30 and Neal Carter-James, 33 realised their dream when they opened the Guludo Beach Lodge in the Quirimbas National Park, one of the most deprived areas in Mozambique. Their aim was to create an innovative and sustainable model to relieve poverty and protect the environment.
Guludo, which donates 5% of its income to charity each year, was awarded the Community Benefit Award by Tourism for Tomorrow for its contribution and commitment to the local community. Through its non-profit charity, Nema-Foundation, Guludo works with 16 local communities to implement grassroots projects including malaria eradication, clean drinking water, primary healthcare and rural agriculture production.
The announcement was made 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).
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.
Commenting on winning this award, Amy Carter-James, Founder of the Guludo Beach Lodge stated: “Our dream was to demonstrate the profound potential tourism has to relieve poverty and address world issues. Receiving this esteemed, international award is not just a deep honour but helps to realise this dream and inspire the rest of the industry.”
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.”
As sustainable tourism increasingly gains momentum around the world, organisations and destinations are raising the bar on best practices to new heights. The Guludo Beach Lodge was one of four winners that beat off competition from 12 finalists and over 180 Award entries from more than 60 countries.
The four categories in which winners were recognised in include:
• Community Benefit Award
• Destination Steward Award
• Conservation Award
• Global Tourism Business Award
Each of 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.
Among previous achievements, Amy recently co-founded a CR hospitality consultancy, Thin Cats Thinking (thincats.org), which assists hotels and resorts around the world to work more efficiently with local communities and maximise their positive impact in a commercially viable way. She was named Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Women in Ethical Business and International Hotel Investment Forum’s Young Leader.
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