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WTTC Global Summit 2015: Tourism for Tomorrow Awards winners revealed in Madrid

WTTC Global Summit 2015: Tourism for Tomorrow Awards winners revealed in Madrid Fiona Jeffery, chair of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, hosted the show in Madrid

The world’s best examples of sustainable tourism businesses and destinations have been recognised at the annual World Travel & Tourism Council Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Ceremony in Madrid, Spain.

The Awards, which are held as part of the WTTC 15th Global Summit showcase and celebrate sustainable tourism businesses and destinations around the world.

The winners in the five categories are:

  • Community Award: Reality Tours & Travel, India
  • Destination Award: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Environment Award: Soneva Group, Maldives & Thailand
  • Innovation Award: TripAdvisor GreenLeaders, USA
  • People Award: Confortel Hoteles, Spain

Each year, more than 20 international experts from around the world, representing the private sector, academic institutions, non-profit organisations, and governments, come together as independent judges to select the finalists and winners.

The judging process, where independent experts visit each of the 15 finalists, is the most rigorous of any awards process in the tourism industry.

WTTC president David Scowsill said: “The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards celebrate the very best examples of sustainable tourism businesses and destinations around the world.

“The awards have been an established part of our industry for over 20 years, recognised as a way of sharing best practice in ways that everyone in our industry can understand; and to make a real difference to businesses wherever they operate in the world.

“This year’s winners come from across the world and throughout our industry, but each one demonstrates a commitment to running their business to the benefit of their people, their shareholders and the environments they operate in.”

Reality Tours & Travel is recognised in the Community Category of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Community Category: Reality Tours & Travel, India

In Mumbai’s Dharvi slum, Reality Tours & Travel is showing the world that slum tourism can be a good thing.

The company is reaching the poorest in the community and offering them the opportunities that tourism can bring.

Reality Tours & Travel is careful to show respect for the privacy and dignity of inhabitants through well-planned tours, and 80 per cent of profits go to development projects in the slum.

This includes a community centre, computer and English classes for 400 students, English language support for 900 pupils, evening computer classes for 450 youths, a girl’s football programme, a cricket academy and a pioneering scheme where women can turn old saris into designer products.

Their projects have broadened the opportunities of more than 2,500 local people since 2009. 

Destination Category: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city has been completely redesigned with sustainability in mind.

Extensive pedestrian spaces, an ecological zone and state of the art under-street recycling systems have greatly improved the city.

Central to Ljubljana’s success is the partnership between Tourism Ljubljana and the Municipality, engaging not only local businesses but also residents to input into and influence policy.

This really is a shared vision for the destination which means that tourism growth has been central to Ljubljana’s development, reviving cultural activity, restaurants and the entertainment sector.

Now tourism and city life are inextricably linked, with sustainability principles at the heart.

Environment Category: Soneva Group, Thailand and Maldives

Soneva Group, in its two properties in Thailand and the Maldives, is pioneering environmental sustainability.

At the operational level, bottled water is banned, they have set up the Maldives’ largest solar installation and raised 5.5 million dollars for carbon mitigation projects through a climate levy on room revenue.

But Soneva is also a global influencer.

They have pioneered the development of their environmental profit and loss tool in order to measure and further reduce the environmental impact of their supply chain.

Soneva’s leadership is actively driving global sustainability discussions.

Innovation Category: TripAdvisor GreenLeaders, USA

TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders programme is using its massive influence and technological capabilities to bring sustainability awareness to millions of consumers across the world.

The programme promotes green practices to Trip Advisor’s 280 million unique monthly users and is the first large scale green hotel programme to be
truly accessible for all types of accommodation properties.

It is free to use for all businesses and users can access a complete list of a property’s green practices, reviewing them and providing feedback. 

This impactful programme has the potential to mainstream sustainability among consumers and create a sea change in our industry.

People Category: Confortel Hoteles, Spain

Madrid-based Confortel Hotels truly has people at its heart.

It is dedicated to providing employment and career opportunities for people with disabilities and is also leading the way in accessible tourism ten per cent of its staff have disabilities and work across all hotel operations, from floor supervision to senior management – in fact, at some hotels as many as 75 per cent of employees have a disability. 

Confortel is ensuring career options in tourism for people who struggle to find opportunities elsewhere by providing a fully integrated service for people with disabilities – from hotel design and equipment to staff training available on site.

Winners from the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards celebrate in Madrid

Fiona Jeffery, chair of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, said: “I would like to thank our team of international judges lead by Professor Graham Miller in assisting with the final selection, each one shines a light on examples of outstanding business practise.

“They demonstrate and invest in a type and level of business leadership that isn’t exclusively about meeting the frequent demands and pressures for short term results.

“Rather it requires a sustained, studied and committed process involving employees, partners and beneficiaries which aims to protect the environment now and for future generations but at the same time creates positive tourism experiences for others to share; fulfilling the spirit of our industry.”