‘Mapping Ocean Wealth’ (MOW), an initiative run by The Nature Conservancy, has won one of the highest accolades the tourism industry has to offer, the Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award. The Award was presented at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 17th Global Summit, in Bangkok, on the 27 April.
WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award is given to those who have shown great initiative and developed a new and creative solution in creating a more sustainable future for the sector.
Mapping Ocean Wealth is a pioneering global study which shows the economic importance of coral reefs as an ecosystem not only for tourism, but for the protection of communities, fish production and carbon storage.
Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, said: “Because of MOW’s work, the Travel & Tourism sector has a heightened awareness of what it is doing right when it comes to the ‘blue economy’. This internationally collaborative project uses the latest data mapping techniques to quantify, for the first time, the total and local value of the world’s coral reefs, generating 72 million trips and contributing $36 billion dollars to the world’s economy. MOW has been instrumental in clarifying both the impact of sustainable tourism on economies and the importance of marine environments play in generating that tourism in the first place.”
“I’m continually impressed and encouraged by the new developments emerging and being created to improve the sustainability of our sector. This powerful tool is being used by governments and industry around the world to understand the importance of investing in the protection of coral reefs. It’s an impressive initiative which combines quality science, technological expertise and a desire to bring positive change”, said Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and Founder of Just a Drop.
Robert D. Brumbaugh, Director of Ocean Planning & Protection, Global Oceans Team for The Nature Conservancy, said: “We are honoured and humbled to receive this award in recognition of our work to reveal the value of nature for people, and Travel & Tourism businesses. Our hope now is that the Travel & Tourism sector will join us in putting these results to work to protect livelihoods, reefs and nature.”
The other Finalists in this category were NATIVE Hotels and Accessible Tourism (Spain), which has developed an online platform offering total accessibility, allowing travellers with any kind of disability to use a computer and help them research and book their holidays , and Soel Yachts (Netherlands), with its pioneering approach to green sailing, providing you with a smooth solar sailing experience running completely on solar power when cruising at six knots and able to plugged into the resorts power network providing clean energy in resort.