H.E. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda, was presented with the 2017 World Tourism Award for visionary leadership on 6 November 2017, the opening day of World Travel Market London at Excel Centre. The other Award recipients were, Charity Challenge and Micato Safaris-AmericaShare honored for sustainable tourism. Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor, multi Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter as well as world renowned travel expert, hosted the Awards presentation.
The World Tourism Awards, celebrating its 20th Anniversary, are co-sponsored by Corinthia Hotels, The New York Times, and Reed Travel Exhibitions. Inaugurated in 1997, the World Tourism Awards were established to recognize “individuals, companies, organizations, destinations and attractions for outstanding initiatives related to the travel and tourism industry, and in fostering sustainable tourism and developing programmes that give back to local communities.”
Presenting the Awards on behalf of the sponsors were: Matthew Dixon, Commercial Director, Corinthia Hotels; Patrick Falconer, Executive Director – UK, The New York Times; and representing Reed Travel Exhibitions, Jeanette Gilbert, Head of Marketing & Communications, World Travel Market. Guest speaker at the Awards Ceremony was Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The World Tourism Award for Visionary Leadership was presented to H.E. Paul Kagame, in recognition of “his visionary leadership though a policy of reconciliation, sustainable tourism, wildlife conservation, and economic development attracting major hotel investment, resulting in the remarkable turnaround that has led to Rwanda’s rise as one of the leading tourism destinations in Africa today.”
Charity Challenge was honored, in recognition “for creating, managing, and delivering international fundraising expeditions across 6 continents and 38 countries, which over the last 18 years have inspired tens of thousands of people to raise more than £50million for 1,800 charities, as well as themselves donating close to £500,000 to community projects.”
The third honoree, Micato Safaris-AmericaShare, was in recognition “for its philanthropic work that has improved the lives of thousands of orphaned and vulnerable African children through the gift of education, including the Micato One for One Commitment, which sends a child to school for every safari sold.”
The Award ceremony was followed by a reception and a special performance by The National Ballet of Rwanda, Urukerereza.
The World Tourism Award itself, Inspire, was specially designed and handcrafted on the Mediterranean Island of Malta by Mdina Glass, and celebrates the qualities of leadership and vision that inspire others to reach new heights.