Ever since these awards were first held back at WTM London in 2004 their purpose has been the same – to encourage change in the industry, to single out for recognition those who are taking responsibility and can prove that they are having a positive impact.
The overall winner of the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards is Feynan Ecolodge.
The lodge is well known for its positive social and economic impacts through employment and local sourcing, it conservation efforts and for the quality of the local Bedouin cultural experience it offers. The judges selected Feynan Lodge as the overall winner this year because of the efforts they have made to further reduce their carbon emissions and the quality of their reporting of their reduced impact.
1: Benefitting Local Communities
Gold winner: The Green People for the Goat Village, India
Working in the Indian state of Uttarkhand, The Green People establish community run tourism projects to support the local economy in these Himalayan regions. The Green People have set up more than 100 farm retreats and community run home stays in the Goat VIllages, giving visitors from around the world a privileged insight into the region’s farming heritage.
Silver award: Nikoi Island, Indonesia
2: Reducing Carbon
Gold award: Feynan Ecolodge, Jordan
This remote desert ecolodge Feynan completely off the grid. It generates 100% of its electricity through a solar PV system, saving 72 tonnes of CO2 each year. Beyond the way the lodge operates provides a remarkable case study in how every aspect of a tourism business can be rethought to be as sustainable as possible.
Silver award: Les Villages Nature Paris, France and Soneva from the Maldives and Thailand.
3: Transparent Reporting
For many years TUI has reported its progress on sustainability. The company has been listed in FTSE4Good for 13 consecutive years and since 2015 have been ranked in the leaders band for Climate Change reporting by the Carbon Disclosure Project Climate Change. The company embeds its sustainability performance within its Annual Report & Accounts and was an early adopter of the EU CSR reporting legislation that came into force in 2018 in Germany.
Silver award: &Beyond
4: Wildlife & Nature Conservation
Gold award: Six Senses Lamu, Maldives
As well as being a luxury resort, Six Senses Lamu hosts the Maldives Underwater Initiative, with a staffed of marine biologists and local NGO scientists. Recently they have been campaigning to protect seagrass in the maldives, which many resorts clear away because it is considered unattractive. In partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, Six Senses’s #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass has partnered with 34 resorts, representing 24% of resorts in the Maldives, and 22 organisations, including Greenpeace International. As a result resorts have pledge to protecting 655,000 m² of seagrass under pledged protection at resorts across the Maldives.
Silver award: Batu Batu Resort & Tengah Island Conservation
5: Coping with Success, dealing with Overtourism
Gold award: Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain
Around 6 million people visit this park each year. Since 2014, visitors have had to buy an entry ticket to access the 1.7 hectares of the regulated tourist area. However access remains free for residents of the five surrounding neighbourhoods and schools. Residents have also been involved in developing the action plan to address overcrowding and to ensure they feel included and that they benefit from the park’s development.
6: Reducing Plastic Waste
Gold award: Iberostar, Spain
In 2018, Iberostar became the first hotel chain in Spain to eliminate single-use plastics in the rooms of its 36 hotels in the country. In 2019, this commitment extends to the company’s portfolio of 120 hotels around the world and, by 2020, it will have completely removed single-use plastic from every area of its hotels.
Silver award: Make Kilkee Plastic Free, and to Soneva.
The Judges’ Awards are given to any of the World Responsible Tourism Awards where the business is recognised as outstanding. This year, two have been given: They are Grootbos and Ol Pejeta, ẃho both applied for the Benefiting Local People category
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru; Huilo Huilo; Ras Al Khor; Mashpi Lodge; Fred Olsen Cruise Lines;
Water to Go; Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau; Urban Adventures; Ministry of Environment for the Dominican Republic; Baraka Consulting; Inle Canoe Lady; Exploe; Hilton; Mejdi Tours