The 9th WTTC Global Travel & Tourism Summit got underway in Las Vegas, with the announcement of winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2011 at the opening ceremony.
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.
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 their achievements, David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said: “Following a dramatic expansion of sustainable best practices in Travel & Tourism, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed in this area. Today’s winners, representing the very best, have all gone the extra mile in addressing these challenges. Through their tremendous efforts and innovations, they have demonstrated the vital role of responsible tourism in economic development.”
He added: “A key part of WTTC’s mission is to promote long-term prosperity and growth while balancing economics, cultures and our environment.”
(Geoffrey Kent - Founder & Executive Chairman of the Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies, and Chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council, makes the opening address at the 9th Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas)
Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe won the Conservation Award for its successful partnership with the local Malilangwe Trust in helping rehabilitate and protect 122,789 acres of degraded wildlife habitat that had suffered from years of poaching. Today, the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve includes 38 different habitats that are home to four percent of all bird species in the world, along with rare and endangered animals.
Guludo Beach Lodge in Mozambique won the Community Benefit Award for having demonstrated direct and tangible benefits to local people, a strong contribution to community development and enhancement of cultural heritage in the area. Situated in the Quirimbas National Park, Northern Mozambique, Guludo Beach Lodge opened in 2006 in one of Mozambique’s most deprived areas.
Through its non-profit charity, Nema Foundation, Guludo works with 16 local communities to implement grassroots projects based on the UN Millennium Development Goals, including malaria eradication, clean drinking water, primary healthcare and rural agriculture production.
(Tourism for Tomorrow winners at the opening ceremony)
Alpine Pearls, a non-profit organisation headquartered in Austria won the Destination Stewardship Award, having successfully demonstrated sustainable tourism management at a regional destination level. To ease heavy traffic congestion in one of Europe’s most popular tourism areas - the Alpine communities of Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and France - the 24 member Pearls network has developed an innovative approach to providing sustainable transport between villages, including solar powered electric vehicles, low carbon public transport and free use of bicycles for tourists who leave their cars behind.
Intrepid Travel in Australia won the Global Tourism Business Award for having demonstrated best practices in sustainable tourism at a large company level. Intrepid Travel is a group experiential tour operator that takes approximately 100,000 travellers to 130 countries each year. In addition to fair trade sourcing of their supply chain and environmentally–friendly practices such as measuring, reducing and auditing their carbon emissions at 30 global offices, the non-profit Intrepid Foundation also actively supports health care, education, human rights, child welfare, and sustainable development in the areas Intrepid Travel visits.
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.
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.”