One Overall Winner, Eight Golds and Six Silvers have been awarded in this year’s World Responsible Tourism Awards, presented on Wednesday November 7th at WTM London. Recipients range from a single guesthouse to a city, from campaigning organisations to mainstream tourism brands. Whoever they are, said Head of the Judges Harold Goodwin, winning these awards “is a significant achievement, it marks you out as a leader in Responsible Tourism; and it carries a responsibility to exercise leadership.” For each of the five categories, the winners are as follows:
Best for Managing Success
Barcelona Gold and OVERALL WINNER https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/turisme/en
Both the City Council and Turisme de Barcelona have consistently avoided negative and divisive language in discussing the impact of tourism in Barcelona, instead emphasising “identity and coexistence”, the imperative to manage tourism better, and referring to tourists as temporary residents. Barcelona was the 2018 overall winner because of the need to address overtourism, and the range of management methods the city has used to do so. The judges felt their experience has the potential to educate and challenge other destinations to respond to the issue and do more.
The village of Kumarakom has developed a Responsible Tourism programme to address the environmental challenges and increase the positive impacts of tourism, through encouraging the growing of produce for the industry and creating Village Life Experience tours to improve the visitor experience and ensure that local people had a stake in the industry and benefit from it.
Best for Wildlife
World Animal Protection Gold www.worldanimalprotection.org
World Animal Protection works to educate and mobilise the public to influence the travel industry to stop promoting cruel wildlife activities, as well as getting governments to adopt, improve and enforce policy and legislation. The judges were impressed with how their Wildlife Not Entertainers campaign moved from encouraging tourists to make informed choices, to tackling demand from tour operators.
Fringe Ford Wayanad, Kerala, India Gold www.fringeford.com
Fringe Ford is a five room guesthouse on a former cardamom and coffee plantation stretching over 1000 acres, 520 acres of which have now been rewilded. Fringe Ford won Gold in the India Responsible Tourism Awards in 2018 – and the World Awards judges wanted to recognise the significance of this rewilding initiative in India, a conservation strategy more common in Africa.
Wildlife ACT, Africa Silver www.wildlifeact.com Volunteers on Wildlife Act trips play an active role in genuine conservation in daily wildlife monitoring, rescuing and treating animals caught in snares, translocating animals to other reserves and performing essential data collection to inform management decisions. The judges were impressed with the contribution the 10 year old organisation has made to conservation, working in partnership with conservation practitioners in Botswana, Seychelles and South Africa.
Best for Communicating Responsible Tourism
TUI UK & Ireland Gold https://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/info/better-world
TUI UK & Ireland have embedded better business’ storytelling and experiences into the core brand and by doing so have put responsible tourism at the heart of their offer. The TUI UK Board approved marketing guidelines for sustainability which have put sustainable and responsible tourism communications to customers via all owned marketing channels, bringing exposure on responsible tourism issues to over 4.5 million TUI customers.
Intrepid Group Gold Nepal www.intrepidtravel.com The judges recognised Intrepid’s year-long Namaste Nepal campaign run in response to the 2015 earthquake and designed to contribute to rebuilding Nepal faster and stronger. The campaign delivered on fundraising and sales objectives and changed Intrepid’s approach to responsible business, showing how to work with NGOs after a crisis to create shared value. Following a damage assessment of the trekking route, more than 80 improved heating stoves were installed in teahouses and lodges along the Langtang Valley trek, 20 households on the Gosainkunda Trek Route had solar lighting installed, and three new water purification plants were installed for communities in the area.
Rethink Orphanages Silver Australia
This Australian cross-sector network aims to prevent the unnecessary institutionalisation of children by shifting the way Australia engages with orphans though overseas aid and development. They use clear and consistent, evidence-based targeted and customised messaging and have contributed to Australia’s decision to regard orphanage trafficking as a form of modern slavery which has set, the judges believe, a global precedent for countries with children in institutional care.
Best for Employment
Intrepid Group Colombo Gold www.intrepidgroup.travel/colombo
At Intrepid Colombo, the lowest-paid staff member is paid LKR 27,000 per month, in a country where the national minimum wage is LKR 10,000 per month. The company also provides health insurance, paternity and additional maternity leave, five days of educational leave per year; and the opportunity to travel on an educational Intrepid Group trip free of charge anywhere in the world every year.
Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park Silver www.motheriveysbay.com
Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park is the only accredited Living Wage campsite in the UK. Owner Patrick Langmaid cites productivity, loyalty and staff retention as important factors which translate into an overall cost benefit for the business. Staff retention also reduces training costs.
Best for Local Economic Benefit
OneSeed Expeditions Gold USA
OneSeed Expeditions links exploration with investment to develop a completely local supply chain, incentivizing and educating their partners on Responsible Tourism practices, and using revenue from OneSeed clients to invest in local businesses through microfinance and mentorship. 79 cents of every dollar of revenue is spent on local suppliers and further 10% of every dollar of revenue is invested in micro-finance loans to local entrepreneurs. Having awarded OneSeed silver in the Best for Poverty Reduction in 2015, the judges recognised they have significantly grown their impact since then.
African Ivory Route Silver South Africa
Transfrontier Parks Destinations, which manages the African Ivory Route, are widely recognised for their pioneering work in making a success of community-owned lodges, taking them effectively to market, upskilling the communities which own the lodges and training and employing community members. They were previously been awarded Best Tour Operator in the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2017 and Gold in the African Awards for Poverty Reduction and Silver for People and Culture. Theis year the judges recognised the achievement of creating this functioning trail of cultural and safari camps and the reporting of the substantial economic and social impacts of the African Ivory Route and in particular the microenterprises which it has financed and mentored.
Coconut Lagoon, Kerala, India Silver
Coconut Lagoon is a destination resort in the backwaters of Kerala, an extension of the village of Kumarakom. They work to create shared value for the local community, by creating opportunities for local people which go beyond employment and the sourcing of local produce. Whether enabling an old lady from the community to make a living by weaving and selling screw pine from her shop within the hotel grounds, or employing the owner of a small tea shop in the village they seek to create additional shared value for the local community while enhancing the guest experience.
Madi a Thava Limpopo, South Africa Silver
The Fair Trade Tourism guesthouse Madi a Thava works with the Venda, Tsonga and Lobedo people researching, documenting, presenting and promoting their rich cultural heritage through art and craft. They employ local people and source produce locally; and provide training and support to 30 artisans and craft producers, nine of whom in 2018 were amongst the 50 artisans shortlisted for the South African National Crafts Competition. They are now opening a CraftArt centre at Victoria Yards, an inner city regeneration project in Johannesburg, to enable artisans from Limpopo to display and sell their work.
Chair of the Judges, Harold Goodwin, added: “All the finalists have done well, these are prestigious competitive Awards. In the World Awards presented in London and those in the same family in Africa and India each year, we see examples of business and destinations taking responsibility to use tourism to make better places to live in and better places to visit. The judges look for example to challenge, educate and inspire the industry to do more.”