advancing sustainable tourism best practices
World Travel and Tourism Council announces the winners of the 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
The four winners of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were announced today during the 10th Global Travel & Tourism Summit at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China. Of the 12 finalists, Emirates Hotels & Resorts, Whale Watch Kaikoura, Accor, and Botswana Tourism Board, were crowned the winners for their successful work in advancing sustainable tourism best practices in different parts of the world.
“We are seeing a new horizon in the global travel and tourism industry where more and more companies and destinations, both large and small, are leading the way forward in demonstrating that tourism can be an opportunity for protecting our planet and delivering tangible social and economic benefits at the local, national, and international level. We are in a global transformation of the travel and tourism industry as we have known it. With these awards we commend these innovation and successes in sustainable best practices,” said Costas Christ, chairman of the judges for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.
Indigenous Maori-owned and locally-operated, Whale Watch Kaikoura, wins the Community Benefit Award for its outstanding achievement in rebuilding the local economy through community-based tourism in Kaikoura on the East Coast of South Island in New Zealand. Whale Watch Kaikoura specializes in giving more than 100,000 visitors annually the opportunity for up-close observation of marine life, including rare Sperm Whales, using environmentally-friendly vessels. The company was founded in 1987 by local Maori to create jobs for the indigenous Ngati Kuri community and has since grown into a multi-million dollar nature tourism business.
“Whale Watch is committed to carefully managing its use of a rare natural resource. We will cherish this award, just as we cherish our values of hospitality to visitors and reverence for the natural world,” said Kauahi Ngapora, chief operating officer, Whale Watch Kaikoura.
In the Conservation category, Emirates Hotels & Resorts is awarded for its success in creating the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) – the first protected area in the United Arab Emirates – through the establishment of the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa. In Australia, their Wolgan Valley Resort next to the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, is one of the best examples in the world of conservation through tourism. The project is successfully reversing extensive grazing and development damage to restore rare native flora and fauna.
“We are delighted to win such a highly-respected award. This is a significant endorsement of our original vision, driving the message that tourism and conservation can work together to protect natural habitats and wildlife,” said Tony Williams, senior vice president, Resorts & Projects, Emirates Hotels & Resorts.
Botswana Tourism Board is awarded the Destination Stewardship Award for its "low-volume - high-yield" approach to tourism in the Okavango Delta – an internationally-recognized Ramsar Site (ODRS) and particularly for the legislative framework put in place and ecotourism standards to ensure proper management of one of the world most iconic nature travel destinations. Today, sustainable tourism in the Okavango employs 34 percent of the adult population in the area, while protecting the largest inland wetland in the world for future generations.
“We are truly honored to win this award as the world recognizes our efforts in protecting the Okavango and its vast population of wildlife. As well as motivating us to look for new ways to improve tourism and conservation in our country, we hope it can inspire other countries to do similar work to protect their natural heritage,” said Myra Sekgororoane, chief executive officer, Botswana Tourism Board.
Accor wins the award for Global Tourism Business for its Earth Guest Program and company-wide philosophy based on hospitality, respect for diverse cultures, environmental best practices, and the social welfare of local people where they operate in more than 40 countries.
“Accor's strategy is underpinned by a deep respect for people and the environment. This respect is expressed through the Earth Guest program, respectful of employees, customers, host communities, and the planet's natural resources. Winning this award recognizes the deep commitment of our teams to sustainable development all over the world,” said Gilles C Pélisson, chairman and chief executive officer, Accor.
“For many years, WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have recognized the highest achievements in sustainable tourism among businesses and destinations around the world and across the full spectrum of the travel and tourism industry,” said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Committee. “These four awards are helping to set the standard for future developments in sustainable tourism as a positive opportunity for our planet and its diverse cultural and natural heritage.”
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organized in association with Travelport and the Travel Corporation’s Conservation Foundation.