Four initiatives which help wildlife and the environment are contenders to win the responsible tourism honour at the inaugural International Travel & Tourism Awards, presented by WTM.
The winners will be announced to an audience of more than 500 leading industry figures during a prestigious awards ceremony at London’s Grade I-listed Tobacco Dock, not far from WTM London’s ExCeL venue (Tuesday 6 November).
The judges commended the diverse range of entries from a wide range of projects around the world.
Harold Goodwin, Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership, said: “There are some quite simple ideas within the entries that would be quite easy for people to take away and use.”
Nikki White, Head of Destinations and Sustainability at ABTA, added: “It was really heartening to see so many different changes going on in the industry and seeing so many countries respond.”
The shortlisted entries are:
- The Yayasan Karang Lestari Foundation and the Pemuteran village in Bali have worked on a tourism project to develop environmentally friendly fishing practices that help restore damaged coral reefs.
Agung Bagus Mantra, Chairman of the foundation, said they were grateful to be shortlisted, adding: “This is a celebration of hope, of the spirit of togetherness in our village.
“Being shortlisted is a very important moment and reminder for our village that we should always focus and share the spirit of this conservation.”
- Kerala Tourism’s ‘Village Life Experience’ project enables tourists to experience rural lifestyles, among coconut farms and paddy fields.
The responsible tourism offering has been developed over the past decade at Kumarakom, Kovalam, Bekal, Thekkady and Wayanad.
A spokesman said that 20 new Village Life Experience Packages will be introduced across 14 districts in the state of Kerala over the coming year.
- The Cinnamon Elephant Project aims to help Sri Lankan elephants, which can be seen at national parks near two properties of the Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts chain.
The project has helped boost visitor numbers and gathers data about elephant herds, which helps authorities with their conservation efforts.
Chitral Jayatilake, Vice President at John Keells Group and Head of Nature Trails at Cinnamon Hotels, said the hotel group was ‘honoured and thrilled’ to be shortlisted.
“We have embraced this culture of giving back to communities around our properties and nurturing our natural world as the brand can only be as good as the habitat we sit in,” he said.
“Such admiration by ITTA can only make us believe in our passion more strongly.”
His colleague, Vimukthi Weeratunga, Manager of Field Operations for Nature Trails by Cinnamon, said they were ‘delighted’ about being shortlisted, adding: “The main purpose of this project was to contribute towards to the conservation of the wildlife. This will be a huge encouragement for us to carry our work way forward in the future.”
- The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association in British Columbia, Canada, has a successful strategy for increasing the tourism season, and encouraging sustainability practices among tourism businesses.
Glenn Mandziuk, President and Chief Executive of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, said the association was ‘honoured’ to be short-listed.
“The list of nominees is inspirational; we commend and appreciate the innovative work being done by the Coral Reef Revival, Kerala Tourism and The Cinnamon Elephant Project,” he said.
“We are equally humbled by the work of the judging panel, all the participants, staff and media who provide their skills and talent to elevate innovation in the tourism sector.
“Strengthening the global entrepreneurial ecosystem is not a singular accomplishment, it is the culmination of the efforts of the larger community, of a sector, focused on changing the story of our times.
“Seeking innovative solutions to the environmental and societal problems we face has forged global friendships, collaborations and efforts that transcend borders in pursuit of excellence in responsible tourism; at the end of the day we are all winners, doing our part to ensure the world we entrust to our children is better for our efforts.”