First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards 2006 Brochure

Page 1

announcing the 2006 winners

about Responsible Tourism

The 2006 First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards

The large increase in the number of nominations this year was challenging

The Awards are the largest of their kind in the world and are a

for the judges, in most categories there were strong fields and we worked

collaboration between on-line travel agent who

hard to select the winners. This demonstrates increasing awareness of

organise the Awards; UK media partners The Times and Geographical

Responsible Tourism amongst travellers and the advances being made by

Magazine; supporters Conservation International; and The World Travel

those at the forefront of responsible tourism. Competition for the awards

Market who host the presentation event. The central tenet of the Awards

is stronger every year. Raising awareness about the principles and what it

is that all types of tourism – from niche to mainstream – can and should be

means in practice contributes to ensuring that the Responsible Tourism

operated in a way that respects and benefits destinations and local people.

movement is not undermined. The Awards are different from other tourism Awards in that winners are Dr. Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University. Chair of the Judges.

nominated by tourists. In 2006 we had 1200 nominations from readers of The Times, & Geographical Magazine. Nominees under consideration are sent a detailed questionnaire and required to provide references. Independent of the references, opinions are solicited from a range of informed individuals relevant to each country. A list of those under consideration is then put forward to a panel of 13 expert judges who review the detailed responsible tourism questionnaires, and take up references.

For more information visit or call 01273 600052.

First Choice Holidays PLC

With thanks to the judges

First Choice is delighted to be headline sponsor of these Awards for the 3rd consecutive year. Tourism can be a tremendous force for good, but the challenges of operating tourism sustainably remain significant. The Awards serve to showcase inspiring examples of companies and individuals who have achieved this tricky balance.

Harold Goodwin, Chair of Judges, and Professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University Cath Urquhart, Travel Editor, The Times Fiona Jeffery, Managing Director, The World Travel Market Neel Inamdar, Ecotourism Business Advisor, Conservation International Tricia Barnett, Director of Tourism Concern Sue Hurdle, Director of The Travel Foundation Debbie Hindle, Managing Director of BGB Andy Cooper, Director General, FTO (Federation of Tour Operators) Frances Tuke, PR Manager of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) Ian Reynolds, formerly of ABTA Graeme Gourlay, Publisher, Geographical Magazine Richard Hammond, Guardian Columnist and Media Consultant Justin Francis, Managing Director,

Over the past year we have seen increased interest and engagement in responsible tourism amongst our own colleagues as well as across the wider industry: this is no longer the domain of just the niche market. At First Choice we explain how we are working towards improved management of our own impacts in our on-line Environment and People report:

With thanks from to Our partners The Times, The World Travel Market, Geographical Headline sponsor

Photographs courtesy of Danielle Colvin and Marke Synder


Category sponsors

why they won

joint overall winner 2006

As well as being committed to ensuring their tours are enjoyed in an environmentally, culturally and socially responsible way, Intrepid stood out for its efforts and foresight in empowering the local communities it works with by establishing local businesses in its destinations, using and training local operators. The judges were particularly impressed by the way in which Intrepid facilitates interaction between tourists and the host community, providing extensive guidelines to their travellers on how to travel responsibly both prior to and during travel. Intrepid Group Leaders (50% of whom are now locally-born) communicate these values to travellers during trips while local area guides aid understanding of local culture and etiquette. Intrepid groups remain small (average 9 travellers) and this enables them to actively discourage negative impact aspects of tourism such as prostitution and drug use.

Intrepid Travel Photograph courtesy of Ian Jones

About Intrepid Travel Intrepid is an Australia-based small group adventure tour operator established in 1989 which offers travellers the opportunity to get off the beaten track while conserving the areas they visit and bringing positive benefits to local communities. In 2002, Intrepid seeded The Intrepid Foundation and in the past 2.5 years, over ÂŁ325,000 has been distributed to a variety of charitable programs, from health and education projects to human rights and environmental protection.

To make sure that this work is carried out as efficiently and effectively as possible, they have submitted themselves to a rigorous external audit. Intrepid was also notable for thoroughly thinking through the work of its foundation, The Intrepid Foundation, over and above what others have done, creating an endowment to help the local people through a disaster on the scale of the recent tsunami. Intrepid Travel have set the bar very high this year.

Leveraging change with partners & suppliers From the recycling and renewable energy used at Head Office, Intrepid’s environmental policy filters through to their overseas operations. In many countries they provide travellers with a locally-made cotton bag that says ‘say no to plastic bags’ in both English and the local language, and they have set up water bubblers along their routes to minimise plastic bottle use.

Benefiting local people In 2001 and 2002, Intrepid, in association with Victoria University and the government body Aus Industry, conducted a two-year research project to assess the impacts of Intrepid trips to sensitive rural communities. Results of this can be viewed at or Intrepid trips benefit local people at every level, from employing local guides/drivers in the towns and sites they visit, to using locally-owned accommodation, homestays and eateries, to encouraging their travellers to buy souvenirs directly from the artist and small locally-owned shops, rather than big foreign chain stores. They also promote the initiatives of local NGOs. Where Intrepid Travel have multiple trips in one town Group Leaders communicate to ensure they rotate the sellers, shops, homes and eateries that benefit from the income they bring to the community. Intrepid have also started local companies in Vietnam, Thailand and India to allow a better community focus and provide employment for more local people and services.

Intrepid requires all its local suppliers to comply with their responsible tourism policies and, most importantly, takes time to explain the reasons behind this philosophy to build up understanding and awareness within the local community. All outsourced trips are assessed through the Leader Trip Report, Traveller Feedback and Annual Trip Evaluation used for Intrepid’s own product.

joint overall winner 2006

Photograph courtesy of Tjeerd Hellinga

Intrepid monitors its responsible tourism impact in three ways: via a Trip Report completed by Group Leaders after every trip raising any concerns or ideas on the responsible tourism aspect of the trip; online feedback from Intrepid travellers assessing the same (current average rating 4.55 out of 5 for responsible tourism); Annual Trip Evaluations on every trip with 6 or more departures per annum, assessing the safety, environmental and social impact of everything from using local transport to local accommodation.

why they won

joint overall winner 2006

Ol Malo’s key achievement is the establishment of The Ol Malo Eye Project which focuses upon the eradication of Trachoma - a cause of painful blindness in 82.8% of adults over 30 – from the Ol Malo area. This is an infectious and preventable disease, the root of which is poverty.

Ol Malo About Ol Malo Ol Malo Eco-Lodge is situated in the deserts of Samburuland, Northern Kenya, on what was an overgrazed cattle ranch. The 3,000 acre holding has been transformed into a prime, and beautiful, conservation site. The Ol Malo Trust, run in conjunction with the Eco-Lodge was established during the drought of 1999-2000, when the surrounding Samburu communities lost over 80% of their cattle. It has grown into a pioneering community charity.

In just 3 years of this 5 year project, Ol Malo has undertaken over 200 simple ‘bilamellar tarsal rotation’ surgical procedures to return sight and remove pain; established nurse-led community education in facial cleanliness, basic hygiene and environmental improvements; begun the provision of clean water less than 30 minutes walk from every homestead; and, perhaps most importantly to achieve longlasting results, they have developed links with, and training of, Kenyan Ophthalmologists. Such is the success of this project that they are now looking to extend it to other areas. Ol Malo monitor closely the success of their community based projects, ensuring that prevalence and feasibility studies are carried out by professionals and Ol Malo volunteers in every instance, surveys of the area are undertaken and reports on the community to see how Ol Malo can improve its projects and which should take priority, and professional medical audits following the surgical camps. At the same time, they value most highly their interaction with the community through the local women and children who come to Ol Malo to produce beadwork and paintings. This is an opportunity for Ol Malo to assess whether they are achieving their aim for the community: to contribute to the preservation of the Samburu people in such a way that the Samburus are independent, strong and empowered to live their lives in the way that they strongly desire and choose.

Leveraging change with partners & suppliers Ol Malo has created the ‘Ol Malo Wilderness Concept’ to reduce the cultural impact of tourism. Ol Malo guests have the opportunity to visit the local Samburu people in their manyattas but by invitation from the Samburu only and on a strictly non-commercial basis.

Benefiting local people The Ol Malo Eco-Lodge has been built and is run by the Francombe Family and the Samburu and all lodge employees are local Samburu. The Lodge itself is made with local materials and has its own water source. Ol Malo has also established a profitable arts workshop: The Sampiripiri Arts Workshop. This is the heart of Ol Malo, where 50 women gather every day to produce traditional beadwork in modern designs for which they are paid, and over 400 children come to paint for fun. This is an opportunity to receive food, water and medical attention. The products are sold to Ol Malo Lodge visitors, with profits going to the Trust. Thus the women and children support themselves and their families, and ensure the continuance of their traditional skills, along with their community’s way of life, through ethical fair-trading. In addition to the Ol Malo Eye Project, Ol Malo’s is also working on the Ol Malo Water Project: to develop a safe and reliable water supply less than 30 minutes walk from every manyatta in the area. They have already built two water developments and from 2007 aim to build one dam per month for a period of 10 years for the general health of the people and their livestock, to create a microenvironment of small mammals, flora, fauna, birds and insects, as a stop-off for migratory wild flowl and to provide water for migrating elephants, predators, and other wildlife.

joint overall winner 2006

Guests are taught not to infringe upon the Samburu’s privacy and culture in any way. Ol Malo works with established tour operators who believe in the philosophy of responsible tourism, such as Tribes Travel (2005 Overall Winner), to bring guests to the Lodge and create a source of regular income for the community.


Intrepid is an Australia-based small group adventure operator offering travellers the opportunity to get off the beaten track while conserving the areas they visit and bringing positive benefits to local communities.

Intrepid Travel

In 2002, Intrepid seeded The Intrepid Foundation and in the past 2.5 years, over ÂŁ325,000 has been distributed to a variety of charitable programs, from health and education projects to human rights and environmental protection.

Best tour operator

Photograph courtesy of Michelle Ovcar

highly commended Wilderness Scotland Wilderness Scotland is an inbound tour operator based in Scotland which has created a successful and growing business founded on the principles of responsible and sustainable tourism. Of particular note in this respect are their efforts to ensure that all trips begin from a train station. Their commercial success has generated approximately £1.25m of direct economic spend into the fragile communities of the Highlands and Islands over the past 5 years and raised the profile and value of Scotland’s wild places.

About the sponsor - Haivenu Tours - Haivenu Tours is a wholly Vietnamese company based in Hanoi who offer high-quality tours in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for those wanting to combine the comforts of city hotels with responsible and authentic experiences in little visited areas. Haivenu fully supports the 2006 First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards.


The Orchid, based in Mumbai, was noteworthy in this category not only for being Asia’s first certified Ecotel hotel and the world’s only hotel to be both Ecotel and ISO 14001 certified, but also as a business hotel, a category until now little known for its responsible tourism initiatives.

The Orchid Hotel

The Orchid has created a responsible tourism model for other business hotels to follow. It is ‘zero garbage’ with multiple innovations for energy efficiency and was awarded the Institute of Environmental Architecture Award. The Orchid also stood out for their support of local artisans in the community manufacturing biodegradable products, creating a demand for these products over a difficult time until production costs reduced, and they are now widely available.

Bedruthan Steps Hotel

Hotel de la Paix is a deluxe boutique property located in Siem Reap Cambodia. Through their ‘Connect Program’ they provide an opportunity for international guests to interact with the local community and to provide assistance. A strong social element underpins the philosophy of the hotel: they provide training for local Cambodians, work with schools, and even supply bikes for children to get to school. They are making a measurable difference.

Bedruthan Steps Hotel is a family-owned individual hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall whose operations are built around its environmental policy. A ‘Green Team’ works throughout the hotel monitoring energy consumption, ensuring building and refurbishment work is environmentally-friendly, and encouraging guests to re-use and recycle. The hotel offers guests taking public transport a discount of up to 10%, provides a bus and bikes for staff , makes its facilities available to locals, and focuses its marketing on the low season to bring all-year round employment for the community.

Best large hotel /accommodation

Hotel de la Paix

(more than 50 rooms)

highly commended

About the sponsor - Rezidor SAS Hospitality - We are at a turning point in our industry, when responsible tourism is becoming a clear business opportunity for hotels, attracting companies and individuals who want to reduce their ecological footprint. Rezidor SAS and its 226 hotels in over 40 countries supports the First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards 2006, as we perceive this award to be an excellent way of encouraging the entire industry to adopt more responsible and sustainable business practices.


Il N’gwesi Community Lodge in Kenya was established in 1996 and is run and managed by the Ilaikipiak Maasai Il N’gwesi community. It is a successful cohabitation system of both wildlife and humans that live, ‘share’ and own the area. 40% of profits go to the 600 plus families that have a share in owning the lodge.

Il N’gwesi Community Lodge

The sizeable area (16,500 acres) is a secure environment for wildlife populations to live and migrate. The success of Il N’gwesi has served as model for other communities in Northern Kenya.

(fewer than 50 rooms)

Best small hotel /accommodation

highly commended Posada Amazonas Lodge

Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Posada Amazonas, based in south eastern Amazonian Peru, was built by and is owned by the Infierno Community, providing a direct investment for the future, a source of employment and with 60% of the profits awarded to the community, a sustainable, non destructive source of income. A continuous training program to encourage the development of skills such as lodge management, guiding services and tourist services works to establish an autonomous ability to run and maintain a high quality eco-lodge.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge in Malaysia offers guests the chance to experience the ecological paradise of Sukau, without impacting it. Completely self sufficient in water, its showers are heated by solar power. Electric motors and 4 stroke outboard motors are used for river safari tours to minimise air and noise pollution and reduce stress to the wildlife. At least 85% of staff including senior management are from the local village.


About the sponsor - Small Luxury Hotels of the World - As part of its commitment to responsible tourism, Small Luxury Hotels of the World has embarked on a “Caring Luxury” initiative. Through responsible tourism practices, SLH will demonstrate that luxury can be both enriching and rewarding, all the while enjoying the comforts and service of a luxury hotel experience.


The Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP) connecting Norwich with the north Norfolk coastal towns of Cromer and Sheringham has not only increased rail use by over 170% in 9 years (national annual average 6%), but also encourages visitors to small businesses through the TeaRail, AleTrail and CycleRail schemes where the outlets offer discounts and the Partnership small prizes for visitors completing the trails.

The Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership

highly commended SolarLab Research + Design SolarLab’s Serpentine Solar Shuttle is a solar powered boat for 40 passengers, on the waters of the Serpentine Lake in London’s Hyde Park. Through its striking design and use of cutting-edge solar technology, it unlocks the potential of solar energy for the public, inspired by the silent, pollution-free boat moving through the water. With over 40 boats on waterways throughout Europe, SolarLab is committed to using design to transform public interest and commitment to solar energy.

First Choice Airways aboutus/flightsaboutus.html With air travel in the spotlight regarding carbon dioxide emissions, First Choice Airways has published independently audited figures on its emissions – one of the very few airlines to do this – and is working to reduce emissions. It is in recognition of their transparency regarding emissions that this award has been given.

About the sponsor - Eurostar - Eurostar offers a greener way to travel from the UK to France and Belgium and is proud to sponsor the Best Transport Initiative category of the First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards.

Best transport initiative

The Partnership promotes rail access to Sheringham and Cromer carnivals, and encourages travel to local theatres by sponsorship of productions and free refreshments to train ticket holders. The number of car journeys through the major town of Wroxham is decreasing as a result of high profile marketing of the route.


Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Resorts Ltd

Whistler Blackcomb Mountains in British Columbia, Canada created an Environmental Management System addressing land stewardship, waste reduction, water quality and conservation and energy management in 1993 and it has been the guiding document to achieve the highest level of mountain stewardship in the resort group and industry. Through Operation Green UP they have spent over $1.5million on watershed restoration, their carpooling program transports 60 staff to work every day reducing C02 emissions, and their Whistler Blackcomb Habitat Improvement Team has aided in 64 restoration projects since inception promoting conservation of biodiversity and bringing the community together.

Best in a mountain environment

highly commended Ski Club of Great Britain's Respect the Mountain Campaign The Ski Club of Great Britain launched its Respect the Mountain Campaign in 2004 to raise awareness of climate change and its impact on the mountain environment amongst skiers, boarders and the industry. Their ‘’Green Resort Guide’’ educates skiers to choose resorts that are trying to be more environmentally friendly – increasing tourism to the resorts that are more proactive and directly benefiting the local communities who live there.

World Expeditions World Expeditions is a global adventure travel company with over 30 years experience around the planet. Their Nepal trekking operation, run by Nepalis for Nepalis, is notable for its pioneering Porter Protection Programme that has set the industry benchmark which many companies are starting to follow. All porters, above and below the tree line, are provided with generous insurance to protect their family while at work, all the protective clothing and footwear needed, all camping and cooking facilities as well as food. This provision not only protects the porters but also protects the environment from firewood collecting and burning.

About the sponsor - Bulgarian Dreams Bulgarian Dreams is the UK’s largest agent of Bulgarian real estate and is involved in projects designed to minimise the impact on the global environment in the construction of new holiday homes.


Wakatobi is located on the small island of Onemobaa in the Wakatobi archipelago in remote Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Its raison d’etre is to help the environment in an over-fished region where the reefs are being destroyed. Employing 150 people from the local community, they have created the Collaborative Community Based Reef Management Program whereby in exchange for direct payments to local villages, reef sanctuaries have been established.

Wakatobi Dive Resort

Today 12km of reef enjoys complete protection by the local community. Wakatobi has managed to improve the marine environment and, importantly, involved the local community while doing so.

Basata Ecolodge Basata Ecolodge, based in Sinai, Egypt, was established in 1986 and is now a beacon for how tourism should be managed in an area not known for responsible tourism. Key to their success is integration with the local Bedouin community, who work and sell their crafts in the hotel, and are involved in the shore protection programme, patrolling by boat to protect the reefs. Awareness raising initiatives are conducted with fishermen regarding over fishing and protected species and those who do not adhere to these policies cannot trade with them. Basata have established an NGO, Hemaya, specifically for environmental protection and social development programmes and they collect, sort, reuse and recycle waste for the whole gulf of Aqaba.

Dyer Island Cruises Dyer Island Cruises offers a boat based marine experience to view South Africa’s unique sea life, and the rare pelagic birds around Dyer Island (a bird sanctuary). Its ‘Clean Marine’ project, is educating the fishing industry and the public about the problems caused by litter on the coast: fishing wire, plastic bags and oil, that result in a high death toll in marine wildlife and sea birds. Together with various marine experts, this has lead to the formation of a charity - ‘Faces Of Need’ - which will finance the care of marine animals and ongoing coastal conservation projects.


Best in a marine environment

highly commended

Windows to Paradise is the world’s largest fully carbon neutral new-build development and represents Bulgarian Dreams’ determination to provide cutting edge Bulgarian property that is in line with popular worldwide initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol. Bulgarian Dreams is delighted to be supporting the Responsible Tourism Awards 2006 and believes that great holidays, highly desirable destinations and excellent accommodation shouldn’t compromise local people and the environment as a whole.


Ol Malo Eco-Lodge is situated in the deserts of Samburuland, Northern Kenya, on what was an overgrazed cattle ranch. The 3,000 acre holding has been transformed into a prime, and beautiful, conservation site.

Best for poverty reduction

Ol Malo Trust

The most significant achievement of this Trust and eco-lodge is the Ol Malo ‘Eye Project’ which focuses upon the eradication of Trachoma, a cause of painful blindness in 82.8% of adults over 30, from the Ol Malo area. Not only have they funded operations they are also training Kenyan ophthalmologists to undertake the operation themselves

highly commended Guludo Beach Lodge Guludo Beach Lodge is based in the north of the Quirimbas National Park, Mozambique. Their objective is to use tourism as a vehicle for relieving poverty and protecting the environment by developing lodges in areas of extreme poverty and great tourism potential. Their greatest achievement is creating a model for using tourism as a tool to sustainably relieve poverty and prove it is successful and replicable. As a result, their charity (SERF) has started numerous community and conservation projects and they are currently starting a new lodge using the same principles, working with new communities.

Shinta Mani Hotel & Institute of Hospitality Shinta Mani in Siem Reap, Cambodia funds projects to help people help themselves. Linking donors to families, it monitors progress closely – only providing funding where it is being used effectively. Through the Institute, students from the local community are trained in the hospitality industry with 100% of graduates finding employment within the industry, taking them out of the poverty which previously saw them scavenging in the local rubbish dump. Community projects supported by Shinta Mani have installed 158 water wells, donated 48 bicycles, supplied 8,890 kg of rice, 83 sets of school uniforms and supplies, 9 sewing machines, built 4 houses and purchased a minibus to transfer sick children to the free hospital in Siem Reap.

The Blue Yonder The Blue Yonder was set up to raise funds for the Nila Foundation that works to revive and regenerate a dying river in the southern state of Kerala. The river based programmes have brought about a significant change in the locals’ approach towards the river, which was once so much part of the cultural and social ethos of a Malayali (Keralalite). Sand miners and smugglers are encouraged to be part of the team as guides, boat owners and oarsmen, traditional martial arts schools are supported in the areas in which The Blue Yonder operates and local art forms such as “Kalam Varayal” are being revived as a feature of the trips to provide a source of income for musicians’ families. On seeing the results, the Kerala Government decided to declare River Nila as a new eco tourism destination.


About the sponsor - expert africa - Expert Africa has chosen to support these awards because we believe that excellence needs to be trumpeted, and to raise these issues still further. Travelling more responsibly needs to be the future for the whole industry. These winners are making that a reality today; they deserve recognition.


Napo Wildlife Center

The Napo Wildlife Center in Ecuador is a joint venture with the community and 90% of employees are local. It actively protects 82 square miles of pristine rainforest and works closely with Yasuni National Park to maintain the park’s integrity. An area this size is sufficient to maintain sustainable populations of even the top predators in the rainforest, and so in this case protecting local culture is the same as protecting biodiversity. The unexpected result of this project has been its impact on the entire region, and the Napo Wildlife Center has fostered the organisation of all of the communities that inhabit Yasuni National Park into a political unit that seeks to protect the park well into the future.

Damaraland Camp - Wilderness Safaris Damaraland Camp is a unique tourist establishment located within the Huab River valley in Northwestern Namibia. The camp is a highly successful and productive joint venture partnership between the Torra wildlife conservancy and Wilderness Safaris Namibia. Wilderness Safari’s policy of “Conservation through Tourism” shares the benefits of tourism with the local communities and this approach enabled the Torra Conservancy to become the first communal conservancy in Namibia to become economically independent with 10% of the net accommodation fees from each guest’s stay going to community shareholders.

Best protected area

highly commended

About the sponsor - Airport Parking & Hotels - APH is delighted to sponsor the ‘Best Protected Area' category in the 2006 First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards. We believe we have a duty to be responsible environmentally and have joined forces with the World Land Trust, which we work with regularly. In addition we have purchased the equivalent amount of acres of Belize rainforest to match the APH car parking acreage in the UK and carbon balanced the companies operation, again through the World Land Trust.


Best for conservation of endangered species

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in South Africa is primarily a conservation area which aims to restore an area of approximately 1000 square kilometres of Kalahari savannah to a pristine state. In 2006 they reintroduced cheetah and wild dogs to the reserve. Both are species which had become virtually extinct in this area. Black Rhino have grown from 8 to 24 in number and Roan (vulnerable), Sable (endangered), Tsessebe (endangered) and Mountain Zebra (largest single population in SA) have all been reintroduced and are now flourishing in the reserve. Tswalu also stood out for their involvement in Fair Trade Tourism, providing a combination of conservation work and community involvement which is all too rarely encountered.

highly commended Wildlife Worldwide Wildlife Worldwide is based in the UK and provides tailor made wildlife viewing holidays across the globe. They work very closely with a number of conservation organisations protecting endangered species around the world by helping to promote awareness and raising much needed funds for their work and provide an excellent business model for other tour operators in this respect. The organisations they support include The Galapagos Conservation Trust, Raincoast Conservation Society and The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).

About the sponsor - Peregrine Adventures - Peregrine operates tourism that fosters understanding, appreciation and conservation of the cultures and environments we visit. We operate in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. With the continual monitoring of our operations, we aim to operate beyond best practice guidelines, endeavouring to set the world-wide industry benchmark for responsible tourism operation.


Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN)

Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN), based in South Africa, runs Community-based Bicycle Tours in Cape Town – a new take on township tours – providing the tourist with many more opportunities to interact with the community than they would have from an air-conditioned bus. BEN facilitates the importation of discarded second hand bicycles to South Africa where they have helped to set up and provide ongoing support to locally owned bicycle workshops, training and employing members of the local community to renovate the bikes for the Community Bicycle Tours. As a result of this work, they have also been able to set up a restaurant providing further income for the community.

highly commended Fridays Place

The Trelowarren Estate

In Southern Kerala, India, a region with a bad reputation for uncontrolled tourism development, Fridays Place is the first eco-tourism lodge using renewable energy, environmentally sound building policy and – most innovatively – creating the ‘Tsunami House’, a building which will take the impact of a Tsunami. Hydro dynamically shaped, incorporating fifty thousand litres of water storage and an independent solar power source, it could set a benchmark for indigenous design and construction at an acceptable cost.

The Trelowarren Estate, based near Helston in Cornwall, offers a twist on the timeshare model. It fulfils the traditional role of providing higher occupancy and therefore increased spending in the local area but also ensures environmental considerations are taken into account at every level from a local / green build policy to sourcing 80% of its ingredients from within the 10 square miles of the Lizard.

Best for innovation /technology

About the sponsor - Blacks Online - Through their high-street retail presence of over 100 stores nationwide, Blacks promote the Great British Outdoors as a leisure destination and actively encourage their consumers to participate in outdoor activities which respect the environment. Blacks also supports some of the UK's most prominent outdoors groups, including the Duke of Edinburgh's Award (for which Blacks are an official kit supplier), Outward Bound Trust, Lake District National Park Authority and the Council for National Parks.

winner Biosphere Expeditions

Biosphere Expeditions, founded in 1999, takes teams of volunteers into areas that often see no or few other tourists and guarantee to spend at least two thirds of all of expedition income directly in-country on the project. They are extremely rigorous in their work, expedition reports are written after each expedition and include an Environmental Impact Assessment and these reports can be viewed online. One of their main achievements has been preventing the cull of 50 wolves in the Carpathian mountains through the data collected by their teams of volunteers.

Best volunteering organisation

highly commended Blue Ventures Blue Ventures is a UK-based not-for-profit organisation dedicated to working with local communities to protect marine resources for the betterment of human well-being and nature. Blue Ventures has brought more than 300 paying volunteers to project sites and trained them in research, community outreach and on-the-ground conservation. In the remote village of Andavadoaka, Madagascar, Blue Ventures not only worked with local people to create the country’s first community-run marine protected area (MPA) in 2004, but the project led to national legislation a year later that placed seasonal restrictions on fishing across Madagascar.

About the sponsor - i-to-i - i-to-i is committed to providing responsible travel placements which benefit local communities throughout the world, whilst minimising the negative environmental and social impacts of tourism. Since 1994, we have worked closely with people and organisations across the globe, to ensure that the volunteers and services we provide are those which are wanted and needed by the very communities with whom we operate.


Aspen, Colorado is a destination with a long list of ‘green firsts’: first use of biodiesel in snow groomers in the ski industry; first green building, and policy; first sustainability report; first use of renewable energy; first employee–run environment foundation; first ISO 14001 certified resort in the U.S.; first climate policy; first resort member of the Chicago Climate Exchange.


This impressive effort is coordinated by the Aspen Skiing Company who lead the field in environmentally friendly skiing as well as destination stewardship: pushing for affordable housing, investing in local farmland and subsidizing local buses. This is a widely replicable format that it is hoped will influence European destinations. Photograph courtesy of Aspen/Snowmass

The Green Box The Greenbox is an umbrella organisation whose role is to develop and promote a defined cross border region in the North West of Ireland as an ecotourism destination. As an initial step the Greenbox has set about putting in place recognised standards to cover all aspects of tourism activity in the region. The first step chosen was the EU Flower standard for accommodation providers. Over the past 2 years the Greenbox has worked with community groups, businesses and Regional and National Tourism organisation with a view to creating Ireland’s first ecotourism destination.

Travel Foundation Tobago, The Travel Foundation Tobago is a legally constituted subsidiary of the UK based Travel Foundation ( seeking to promote sustainable development of the tourism sectors in countries popular with UK visitors. The Travel Foundation Tobago’s main achievement is its active role as a liaison body between individual/group suppliers at the grass roots level; linking them to potential markets in the tourism sector.

The best example of this to date is the success of their longest running programme, “Adopt A Farmer”, which has created a formal supply chain whereby twelve farmers have been involved in supplying the hotels with over TT$260,000 (£26,000) worth of local produce. Assisted by The Foundation to sell directly to the hotels, farmers earn 30%-100% more for their produce which has allowed them to increase the size of their farms and the range of crops grown.


Best destination new for 2006!

highly commended

About the sponsor - Lonely Planet - Lonely Planet is delighted to sponsor the new Best Destination category at this year’s Awards. The Awards play a crucial role in raising awareness among the travel industry and helping travellers make informed choices about how and where they travel. Travellers are engaging with this issue more than ever, so operating along sustainable lines is something that really makes a destination stand out.


Best personal contribution

Mark Smith The Man in Seat 61

One man’s passion for trains has led thousands of others to discovering the potential of this low-carbon emitting method of transport at a time when we are all trying to cut down on flying. Mark Smith started as a hobby, on a home PC, but it now receives over 265,000 visitors a month and has been featured in national newspapers both in the UK and overseas. Before this website, train travel between countries was complicated and off-putting. Now provides easy-to-understand information on train times, fares, what the trains are like, and how to buy tickets, for journeys from the UK to every country in Europe and worldwide.

highly commended Ian Craig

Jake Grieves-Cook

Ian Craig’s family first came to Lewa Downs in 1922. With Ian Craig’s guidance, Lewa has been transformed from a family run cattle ranch to a property entirely devoted to the well-being of wildlife, the local communities, and the land, and become a conservation area that now incorporates, or influences, other regions for their benefit too. Ian Craig’s vision and drive have made Lewa the success it is. Without him, Il N’gwesi would not exist.

Jake Grieves-Cook has been involved in Kenya's tourism industry for over 30 years, working with local communities to create locally-owned wildlife conservancies that provide the community with an income from conserving wildlife. He has been instrumental in setting up three community-owned conservancies and establishing the Porini group of safari camps which operate according to the principles of sustainable tourism. Having served on the board of the Kenya Wildlife Service which runs Kenya’s national parks and been Chairman of the Ecotourism Society of Kenya for 4 years, he is the current vice-chairman of the East African Wildlife Society and Chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board.

About the sponsor - - is an on-line travel agent marketing responsible holidays, and organiser of the First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards. Through this Award we celebrate the power of passionate and determined individuals to make a difference.

a message from kate humble

"I am passionate about the environment, but I am equally passionate about travel, and these Awards are an absolutely fantastic idea. If I had not travelled as much as I have, I would never have learnt how special the world is. And if you travel with a company that cares about a country and its wildlife, you're going to go home caring a lot more about those things." +44 (0)1273 600052 Printed on sustainable stock / Designed by Lime Marketing