World Responsible Tourism Awards 2013 newspaper

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their stories, and why they won EXCLUSIVE World Responsible Tourism Awards 2013

d by: Organise le ib s n o p res

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le b i s n o p es R d 13 l r 0 o 2 s W d r wa A m s i r Tou at WTM Travel like a local @RTAwards



elcome to The World Responsible Tourism Awards newspaper, packed with stories about this year’s winners from around the world. Our theme for 2013 is heroes and heroines - individuals and organisations that have displayed courage and innovation in developing tourism for the greater good of humanity and our environment. Breaking from the norm, doing things differently and taking responsibility for the wider impacts of our industry on all those it touches, does indeed take courage and persistence. The founding idea of the Awards was to surprise and inspire the industry and tourists through the stories of the winners, and 10 years later, we continue to draw and share inspiration from them. I am pleased to say that several local responsible tourism awards have started since our launch; most recently the Catalan Responsible Tourism Awards which have gained from our experience. To signal more clearly the global nature of our nominations and winners, we have renamed as ‘The World Responsible Tourism Awards’ this year. Over the past 10 years we have received over 12,000 nominations from members of the public, and awarded more than 280 organisations from over 50 countries through a six step nomination and judging process that runs from April to Octo-

ber. Vital to this process are alumni and associates from The International Centre of Responsible Tourism (ICRT), and our highly respected expert judge panel chaired by Professor Harold Goodwin from ICRT and Manchester Metropolitan University. We seek to make the Awards accessible to all sectors of the tourism industry, but we also seek to make them the hardest of all tourism awards promoting sustainability, to win. Given we require transparency from those nominated about their activities, we feel it is only right for the judges to be transparent with you about why we selected those that we have. I am extremely grateful to Harold for writing this up in some detail (see p20-23). If you would like to read more, a comprehensive article, which have sponsored, is available in the journal ‘Progress in Responsible Tourism’ at Over the years the type of winners has changed and reflected the development of responsible tourism to a global movement across all sectors of the industry. In the early years we saw many winners focused around poverty reduction and wildlife conservation in rural areas in developing countries and around beaches. I am pleased to say we continue to find outstanding examples of such practices, but

we have also seen the development of city-based responsible tourism through tours of London led by formerly homeless people (Sock Mob/Unseen Tours) and slum tourism in India (Reality Tours and Travel). We have also witnessed the emergence of Destination Managers bringing together key players to implement responsible tourism at destination level, with New Zealand and the New Forest as past winners. This year we see another big development with one of the world’s largest tourism businesses winning for tackling child protection issues in Brazil, which just goes to remind us that responsible tourism is about taking responsibility for all the impacts of tourism that it generates (not just sustainability), and that focusing on important local issues rather than standard checklists is what matters. Finally, a big thank you to all our sponsors but especially to The Sultanate of Oman Ministry of tourism, which has supported the Awards for many years, and decided this year to become our headline sponsor.

Justin Francis Managing Director Awards founders & organisers

travel like a local




The Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism is delighted to cement its commitment to responsible tourism development as the proud headline sponsor of the World Responsible Tourism Awards. Since 2010 the Oman Ministry of Tourism has sponsored a number of the awards each year but this year is special as it is not only the 10th anniversary of the World Responsible Tourism Awards, it is also the 10th Anniversary of our Office in the UK & Ireland. The Sultanate of Oman leads the way in the Gulf Region and Middle East for the development of responsible tourism and tries at every stage to remain a model example for others in the region to follow. Oman’s commitment to responsible tourism started in 2003, when the Ministry of Tourism adopted the Sustainable Tourism Principles developed by the UNWTO. In 2005, together with the UNWTO and UNESCO, we organised the conference of ‘Built Environments for Sustainable Tourism’. This acted as a catalyst for developing our policy for sustainable tourism, published in 2010. That same year, we hosted the 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, the first international responsible tourism conference to be held in the region.


We hope that Oman’s support of

the awards will inspire many more local and global responsible tourism projects and initiatives. Tourism initiatives in Oman are firmly ground in the protection of the natural world and our local communities and are aligned to our historical and traditional beliefs. For example at the Ministry of Tourism we have taken action to restore and manage 24 of our many, indeed nearly 500 forts and castles, as well as manage attractions, in order to create more opportunities for local communities to generate income and to develop nature reserves such as The Haya Waters Al Ansab Wetland - an outstanding wildlife area and a centre for environmental education. Oman’s brand is “Beauty has an address...Oman” and I would like to invite you to come to Oman and see for yourself why this is so appropriate - as they say “seeing is believing”! Shukran (Thank you)


Tui Nederland


s explained by Professor Harold Goodwin, “choosing an overall winner always creates debate amongst the judges as all the category winners are contenders. This year was no different but TUI Nederland emerged as the clear winner”. With 190 travel agencies, an airline and their own tour operators, TUI Nederland generates €1.7 billion turnover and sells holidays to over 1.5 million guests worldwide. Part of TUI Travel PLC, the Dutch company plays an important role in the global tourism industry. TUI Nederland has long been committed to ensuring holiday destinations have a sustainable future. They have worked proactively on drafting sustainable tourism and corporate social responsibility policies since 1998. Their current Sustainable Tourism Plan has already resulted in sourcing over 1,000 accommodation providers being sustainably certified whilst investing over Euros 500,000 in the sustainable development of holiday destinations. At the core of the company’s values lies a commitment to making a positive impact on society, and especially to promoting child safety in destinations where it operates. TUI Nederland considers that as an industry leader, they have an important role to play in protecting children against forced labour and sexual exploitation. Whilst it is true that most tour operators are equally concerned about such abuse, it is rare to find one that can evidence the level of positive impacts generated by TUI Nederland. It is even rarer to find a company that has so boldly chosen to make this problem central to their operations; and this is what impressed the judges most.

Their project titled “A collective ‘NO’ to child sex tourism in the Northeast of Brazil” was courageous and ground-breaking in confronting the issue of Dutch tourists travelling to Brazil to have sex with minors. It directly challenged abusers by denouncing their behaviour on posters placed in Dutch airports; crucially, tourists were also given enough information to identify wrong-doing and report it to the police (see p23 and above for pictures of posters). As a result, 27 complaints were logged between October 2012 and March 2013, resulting in 5 leads for criminal investigation. TUI also ran ads in destination booklets and catalogues to raise tourists’ awareness.

erland has demonstrated strong leadership in securing change by ‘recruiting’ an impressive range of stakeholders as key partners; these include leading children’s right charities, government agencies (local, regional and national), airport authorities, Crime Stoppers International and professional tourism associations.

This initiative is part of a much wider strategy which aims to eradicate the poverty that pushes some vulnerable under-18s from the northeast of Brazil in Northeast Brazil into prostitution. One objective is to facilitate employment through vocational training. So far, 104 young people have gained a qualification with one in three gaining long-tem employment. Furthermore, TUI Nederland has invested heavily in developing a set of programmes, delivered throughout towns and villages, designed to tackle sexual violence against children and adolescents. These programmes are noteworthy because they are jointly delivered by a group of 80 teenagers trained as “Youth Mobilizers” who can more effectively reach and connect with their audience. Importantly, TUI has also “mobilized” the industry, with 250 tourism professionals taking part in awareness - raising training on sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. TUI staff must also undertake such training.

TUI Nederland, a mainstream large scale tour operator, is showing real courage in trying to tackle this criminal activity. The judges hope that by recognising the significance of their contribution, other businesses, large and small, will be inspired to play their part.

In both Holland and Brazil, TUI Ned-

Prof. Harold Goodwin states: “In 2010, TUI Nederland refused to turn a blind eye when they witnessed a rise in the sexual exploitation of children in some of the regions of the northeast of Brazil; rather than ignore the issue, they worked with local organisations and authorities to address the problem”.



he Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism is committed to developing a range of quality tourism products that not only promote cultural integrity and environmental protection but that also lead to a diverse and sustainable tourism industry both at home in the Sultanate and overseas. By sponsoring the awards the ministry wishes to recognise and support the development of tourism products across the world that are internationally renowned yet mindful of their position within the natural eco systems and traditional communities from which they have grown. The protection of historic, cultural and natural heritage should always be developed so that it provides sustainable economic benefit for the surrounding local communities. By promoting ecologically sound tourism products we hope consumers will have the opportunity to assist in the economic spread of tourism whilst protecting natural ecosystems and communities.



Nam Nern Night Safari



am Nern Night Safari - Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Lao PDR Program is located in north-eastern Laos, in the Nam EtPhou Louey National Protected Area. It offers tours focussed on spotting a variety of rare mammal species in the wild. There are also many spectacular bird species to be observed. Nam Nern Night Safari’s goal is to conserve the area’s ecosystem and to increase the populations of these animals, with a focus on tigers and gaurs, Sambar deers, gibbons and otters. The area has the last known breeding population of tigers in Indochina and one of the largest known populations of white-cheeked crested gibbon in the world. Jointly managed with 14 local communities and developed with various agencies, tours have a unique and empowering approach to promoting wildlife conservation in this area where many species are endangered. Before commencing, the project held ecotourism and conservation awareness meetings in each village. Information on cultural do’s and don’ts was collected from each village and maps identifying any sacred areas off limits to tourists. A contract was drafted with each village regarding the distribution of ecotourism benefits, and was

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signed by every family in every village (1000+ signatures). A stakeholders’ meeting is held in each of the 14 villages once a year to summarise ecotourism benefits, discuss issues and decide how money raised is used. Nam Nern Safari mixes enjoyable cultural experiences inviting visitors to enjoy a Lao picnic dinner and Khmu ethnic folk tales told by village guides, with conservation activities carried out on a river night safari to spot wildlife under the stars, before staying overnight in bungalows, constructed with local materials. Customer feedback is unanimous in describing the experience as unique and thrilling. A group of students explain: “We had the opportunity to interact and learn from local people, participate in environmental education activities with pupils in the village primary school, visit a park substation to learn about tiger conservation, and see wildlife during a boat trip at night! We felt the experience was life changing”. Nam Nern is different as it involves tourists in wildlife conservation in a very creative and unique manner by asking them to keep a record of the animals they see. Each animal is allocated a specific value, according to its endangered status: the more

animals tourists see, the more money villagers get, which contributes to the community earning an income from conservation and to eradicating poaching. Average wildlife sightings per boat have doubled from two to four in four years of operation. Approximately 90% of the tours, revenues goes back to the communities; approximately 15% are also shared among the 14 surrounding villages (1000+ families). The project currently provides work to 38 individuals from 38 different families. John Goodrich, a Tiger Specialist Senior Director at Tiger Program Panthera says: “The effort has been very successful, helping to place a value on tigers and other wildlife for local people”. Nam Nern Night Safari developed by WCS is a model for ecotourism in Laos and the region through its inclusion of multiple villages in sharing tourism revenue in such a way that supports wildlife conservation and wildlife tourism. Paul Eshoo, Ecotourism Advisor for the project explains: “Although income and visitor numbers are still relatively low due to remoteness, the impact is very high”. The judges hope this initiative will be replicated in other similar areas.

Based in Surrey, South-East England, the Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) is a registered charity that aims to redress the balance between Man and Nature through the rescue, care and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned wild animals. WAF has a 24/7 veterinary centre and emergency rescue service. Visit



he Namibia Tourism Board takes Responsible Tourism very seriously, and this year we want to acknowledge and pay thanks to those bringing this subject to the foreground. Not only is Namibia one of the only countries in the world to have conservation written into its constitution but over 40% of the country’s surface area is under conservation management. There is still an education task to be done but with a growing following and awards such as these we hope to turn more people to our way of thinking and help preserve the environment for generations to come.

REEF CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL (CI) ReefCI offers expert diving and marine conservation holidays in Belize (Caribbean). Polly Alford, sole Founder & Managing Director What types of tourists do you cater for? The aim of ReefCI is to give our guests a unique holiday whilst at the same time helping put something back into the environment but our trips are not just attracting scientists or gap year students; we cater for families, young and older people too. Most guests stay with us for up to one to four weeks. What activities do tourists engage in? We teach our guests about the marine wildlife and they help us with our conservation initiatives. Using simple methodology, non-scientists can collect data to be disseminated to various scientific bodies for analysis. It is widely known that coral reefs and their inhabitants are in danger and deteriorating. However, scientists cannot provide proof without data for scientific analysis. Our guests play a pivotal role in collecting that data. The conservation initiatives are informative and fun but there is also plenty of opportunities to simply relax and embrace island life, and


to dive! Guests can chill in a hammock, have a game of volleyball, swim or immerse themselves in a good book. How do you ensure visitors have memorable experiences whilst also benefitting the local community? We are proud that ReefCI is the number one attraction in our district on Trip Advisor. Our staff/guest ratio is high. The average number of guests per week is six - eight and we have a regular staff of nine - ten local staff. We provide excellent freshly cooked and seasonal food, all sourced here and 80% of our income is spent locally. Guests also leave having formed lifelong friendships, feeling totally included in the ‘ReefCI family’, and its surrounding, which is viewed as a main highlight. In the end, guests leave with a much better understanding of the marine wildlife environment and of a local community less financially privileged than their own.


THE GREAT PROJECTS The Great Projects operates in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe, and works with organisations worldwide to establish high standards in animal welfare and conservation within the tourism sector. Andrew Starbuck, Managing Director What is the Great Projects about? The Great Projects originally started with The Great Orangutan Project in Malaysian Borneo. We took eight years to create a sustainable, progressive and effective project based on our experiences and knowledge to expand our expertise to other species worldwide. We believe in using sustainable tourism as a tool to positively impact local communities and at-risk environments for the conservation of endangered animals and fragile ecosystems. Tell us about projects.




Our very popular Great Gorilla Project in Uganda has been designed to help local communities that were displaced when national parks were established in order to protect mountain gorillas. Following their eviction, local communities resorted to poaching both fauna and flora from the national parks

for both food and fire wood; through education and sustainable community development programmes we focussed on creating a livelihood for local communities to stop national park encroachment. How do you raise awareness of wildlife conservation issues amongst tourists? Most of our sales team has worked in conservation and guides our volunteers from the moment they enquire with us. Our website informs clients of important issues related to human behaviour guidelines with animals. Throughout their trip, fully trained and experienced staff educate volunteers on the importance of wildlife conservation and demonstrate how tourism, conservation and community development work together. Feedback and pictures provided by volunteers help illustrate and inform others about positive impacts generated for communities and wildlife. We pride ourselves on offering the best experience to our participants, on maintaining strong relationships with villagers to ensure the preservation of local customs, and on contributing to the welfare of endangered, mistreated and injured animals through our conservation schemes.



Chepu Adventures EcoLodge



ocated in Chepu, Chiloé Island (Insular Patagonia at the south of Chile) Chepu Adventures EcoLodge specialises in kayaking excursions at dawn through forests. The owners, Amory Uslar and Fernando Claude are former city people who in their early fifties left the big city looking to live a more sustainable life. Their venture started in 2000, and since has been growing mainly by word of mouth. During the last season, they received 1,000 visitors. The judges were very impressed with this eco-lodge located on an island that increasingly suffers from water shortage. To achieve water sustainability, the owners custom-designed and constructed an automatic water collection system, which can store 20,000 litres of rain water for use in the summer. Tanks installed on a hill are filled using wind energy which feed water in a constant supply and pressure. All stored water is monitored to manage water levels after the rains. Each water source is controlled to reduce water consumption by adjusting water flows in order to keep within eco-limits set according to local water availability. To further limit water usage, the owners have invented a shower equipped with automatic

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water mixture set to 39°C and a controlled push button that has reduced consumption to 21 litres of water per wash. Significantly, it has also contributed to increasing customer satisfaction, showing that ecotourism does not come at the expense of comfort.

tems”. They are incredibly creative and their approach to preserving the environment is truly comprehensive, going beyond the expected (e.g. solar panels). For example, to reduce paper consumption, they have designed a digital check-in system, which only uses fingerprint signatures.

The owners have also designed and implemented an interactive water monitoring system for guests. All the information on water (but also electricity) consumption is send via wifi to each lodge where visitors can see online how much water they use, and how much is left (they are also provided with tablets). This interactive approach has helped drastically reduce water consumption levels and contributes to visitors gaining a much more grounded understanding of how they impact on the environment. Uniquely, visitors are given a discount equivalent to their savings in carbon footprint if they limit their water consumption during their stay. Alternatively, they can opt to plant a tree in a carbon offset project of the Chilean Patagonia.

The EcoLodge is also heavily engaged with local communities. For example, it sources all fresh produces from local organic farms and green houses; this has led to a doubling of their production. Using technology, the owners publicise local craftsmen’s work on tablets and on PC screens in the lodge, whilst also displaying artefacts in rooms. Boats are rented from local fishermen and local guides hired for hiking tours. Last year, they extended their efforts and established Chepu Adventures’ scholarship to support local students.

As explained by Ken and Teri Pulvino from, “in addition to Water Management excellence, the owners have also incorporated the most advanced renewable energy sys-

Armory Uslar, Director of the EcoLodge explains: “We feel proud to have developed a very reliable and interactive monitoring system that controls and inform about water consumption. During their stay, guests become increasingly conscious of their habits, and through their eco experience learn and change their lives for good, protecting natural resources whilst also saving money”.

Hello from Dorset! We make unadulterated breakfast cereals that are honest, tasty and real. All our recipes are created here in Poundbury, Dorset. We don’t chuck our ingredients together, we balance and blend them using our knowledge of what tastes delicious. We don’t scrimp, our recipes are stuffed full of fruit, nuts and seeds. Visit



ou are aware of our skyscrapers, hustle, bustle and bright lights but our iconic city is in a state that is about half the size of England, where dominant features include spectacular lakes and mountains, rolling hills, pastoral farmlands, and rushing rivers and streams. Did you know that the Adirondack Park covers an area that is larger than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, the Grand Canyon and the Great Smokies National Parks combined? I Love New York’s commitment to green and responsible tourism is highlighted in our new Responsible Travel Guide, revealing not only compelling ways of enjoying our outdoors, but also pinpointing to numerous individuals, communities, companies and groups that are pursuing socially and environmentally responsible practices that you may experience while visiting New York. The guide helps you easily combine nature and is a real inspiration to a NYC vacation revealing clearly that New York State is the Responsible Travel destination of the North East USA. Visit the brand new guide at

CHUMBE ISLAND CORAL PARK (CHICOP) Chumbe Island is located off Zanzibar and is an award-winning uninhabited private nature reserve, which remains one of the last pristine coral islands in the region. Sibylle Riedmiller, Director How do tourism facilities contribute to water conservation? The Visitors’ Centre and small eco-lodge were designed to harvest rainwater that is collected on palm-thatched roofs, filtered through gravel and sand, and stored in large integrated cisterns. Shower water is heated by solar energy and consumption reduced with water-saving installations. Composting toilets save water, recycle human waste and protect the highly diverse fringing coral reef sanctuary from any sewerage runoff and pollution. Vegetative grey water filtration systems remove nutrients from shower and kitchen water. What else do you do to raise awareness about water conservation? For over 20 years, CHICOP has raised awareness in local communities, among government officials, teachers, students and the tourism sector about the critical importance of water resources management and proper san-


itation, in particular by promoting available low-cost technologies in the teaching curriculum. What is the biggest threat facing CHICOP today? We are in a race against time. All around Tanzania and Zanzibar, coral reefs suffer from overexploitation and destruction by unsustainable fishing methods. Other threats include coral mining, pollution by coastal development and intensive agriculture, the effects of climate change, as well as exports to distant Asian markets. The absence of proper garbage disposal systems, for plastic bottles, bags and packing materials, which litter beaches, is another major concern. How successful have you been in your efforts to conserve the marine environment? We have been very successful in conserving biodiversity and have evidence to prove it. In fact, the coral reef has become one of the most pristine in the region and fish as well as endemic species now abound too. With the park growing in popularity and water requirements increasing, we are planning to expand our rainwater catchment system by adding surface area and water storage capacity.


JUDGING PROCESS Nominations — Rather than handpick our nominees, we rely on travellers and the industry to nominate those tourism ventures with exciting stories to share. This makes our Awards unique – we don’t pre-decide the winners, we let you tell us who should be in the running. Longlisting — Once we have taken nominations from the public, a team of expert researchers at the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) process your nominations, conducting preliminary research into their responsible tourism policies and eligibility for the Awards. Questionnaires — Longlisted organisations are invited to complete a comprehensive questionnaire designed in conjunction with the ICRT and our judging panel of experts in the industry. References - A minimum of 2 independent references are provided by the nominees.

Professor Harold Goodwin: Professor of Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and Founder of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Justin Francis: Managing Director, Dr Rebecca Hawkins: Managing Director, Responsible Hospitality Partnership (rhp) Debbie Hindle: Managing Director, Four bgb Fiona Jeffery OBE: Founder and Chairman, Just a Drop Simon Press: Senior Exhibition Director, World Travel Market Dr Michael Pritchard: Director-General, Royal Photographic Society Lisa Scott: Travel Editor, Metro newspaper John de Vial: Head of Financial Protection, Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Dr Matt Walpole: Head of Science, Economics, Policy and Partnerships, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Mark Watson: Chief Executive, Tourism Concern Nikki White: Head of Destinations and Sustainability, Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA)

Judging Day — Our panel of judges meet to debate which organisations, individuals and destinations should be recognised for an Award. In a discussion chaired by Professor Harold Goodwin our experts from across the tourism industry use their considerable experience and knowledge in a round-table debate to choose the most innovative and inspirational nominees.



Village Ways



n 2009 Village Ways won an award for Best Tour Operator for Cultural Engagement. Since then the company has grown and now operates in two regions across India but also in Ethiopia, and this autumn is set to start tours in Nepal. Distinctively, the company works in partnership with rural villagers to establish, develop and manage a very special kind of tourism, whereby ownership is in the hands of the community.

to tourists. After paying for international marketing and support, and other administrative costs, nearly half of tourist income is given back to village committees and to other local people (e.g. guides, porters, local taxi drivers, small family hotels etc.) Guesthouse Committees also source food and services from most households in their village, creating a spread of new income, and generating employment for many women.

This business model ensures that villagers are fully prepared to host and manage tourism. Guesthouses are built: these can be new-builds in traditional style, or renovations of existing buildings but also houseboats. Guides, cooks and porters are trained; interesting itineraries and excursions planned, walking routes created. The different community groups are all encouraged to get involved, with the creation of village committees to oversee the management of guesthouses at local level, and to ensure income is distributed broadly and fairly.

Through its efforts to alleviate poverty, Village Ways also aims to combat the issue of rural depopulation. Today, many traditional farms are being abandoned as younger people have moved to cities for work but their projects have helped reverse this trend, strengthening small communities and helping sustain vital services such as local schools attended by an increasing number of children.

Revenues created by tourism are truly significant to these poorer rural areas struggling against poverty. New direct and indirect employment income is being provided to 80% of the households involved in catering

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The core principle of Village Ways lies in facilitating meaningful cultural exchange between villagers and tourists. Maheshan, who has worked on a houseboat since 2011 explains: “I am a multi-tasking team member, acting as Cook in the galleys and also as Captain. In my last job, tourists only spent one night on the boat. With Village Ways, guests stay longer and we get to know them as much as

they get to know us. We become a family. They arrive happy with smiles but leave sad with tears. We have a close involvement with them!” Sustaining and enhancing the values of village life and traditions is also achieved by ensuring that tourism is kept ‘low key’. For example, guest numbers are small with parties of two or four, easing integration into village life. Guest reservations are rotated so that no one community receives too many guests. Environmental impacts are minimised by using solar panels to heat water, wood-burning stoves to generate heating and solar lamps for night-time lighting. Communities also now have a ‘vested interest’ in wildlife conservation, which has improved sightings in some areas. Judges always expect past winners to provide evidence of real progress since they last won. Here, Village Ways has grown to operate in more regions and countries, and is currently planning projects in Kenya and Georgia. By successfully targeting initiatives in poorer villages which really need it, Village Ways continues to demonstrate that responsible tourism works and has a business model that can be replicated worldwide.

ActionAid is one of the UK’s leading anti-poverty charities, working in 5,000 communities across 43 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, fighting for the rights of the world’s poorest people. Founded in 1972 as a child sponsorship charity, ActionAid now changes the lives of more than 15 million people around the world. Visit



outh Africa’s most vibrant city is proud of its green credentials, its most recent accolade garnered being the 2012 Arbor Award - bestowed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to mark National Arbor Day on 2 September 2012. Johannesburg’s 10 million trees keep the city green, shady and attractive. They also help to clean the air of carbon monoxide emissions from cars and trucks, industrial gases and dust from mine dumps. Added to this are the 17 nature reserves and 12 river systems running throughout Joburg, making it ideal for outdoor sport and leisure activities throughout the year. Apart from boasting the world’s largest, urban, man-made forest, it is significant that Johannesburg is also the only South African city that is part of the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group. Created in 2005, the Group is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally.

BASECAMP EXPLORER KENYA Basecamp Explorer Kenya operates three camps in the Masai Mara ecosystem in Kenya. It is a tourism business that is deeply committed to conservation and community development. Victoria Giglio, Account Executive Can you describe your camps in more detail? Our Basecamp Masai Mara is a Gold Eco Rated Camp, operated on an eco friendly model while Eagle View and Dorobo Camps operate in a Conservancy that Basecamp Explorer Kenya and Basecamp Foundation have helped to develop in partnership with the Maasai community. The conservancy model includes the participation of 500 Maasai families who have leased their land and in return receive a monthly income. This ensures the communities are able to derive a long term benefit from their land, whilst biodiversity is protected. What is the main purpose of these camps? Our camps operate to offer guests an extraordinarily intimate and authentic safari experience, sustain the livelihoods of our community partners, and protect biodiversity.


How do you contribute to growing the local economy? Lease fees are paid to individual Maasai families holding title to their land, and are paid regardless of tourist numbers. Our Basecamp Masai Brand is a craft brand that has provided 118 local Maasai women, who visit weekly to make their products in one of our camps, with a direct income, which is estimated to have reached £200,000 (KSH 27 million) to date. Basecamp Foundation Kenya, in collaboration with the Olare Orok Trust, is spearheading a campaign to mobilise 1,000 women into micro-finance saving and investment groups. The women who have joined the programme are entrepreneurs who, among other things, own grocery shops, sell beadwork, trade livestock, keep bees, and lend money with interest. For the first time, they are able to build savings independently, without having to consult their husbands. Establishing the camps and setting up all the necessary infrastructures to ensure so many families benefit financially from tourism has been a challenge. We now look forward to developing and implementing alternative energy solutions, particularly solar energy in the conservancy.



n a bid to spread the responsible tourism word and amazing businesses that take part in the awards we have partnered up with a number of consumer and trade publications. Our consumer media partner is Metro.


Metro is a publishing phenomenon. The paper was launched in March 1999 as a free, colour newspaper for morning commuters. At first it was only available in London, but now commuters in 50 UK cities can pick up a free copy of Metro as they travel to work in the morning. Every weekday morning some 1.3 million copies are distributed across the UK making Metro the world’s largest free newspaper and the third biggest newspaper in the UK. Metro is a perfect mix of national and international news wrapped around local information – entertainment previews, listings, weather and travel. Metro’s news stories are tightly written, so that the reader can take in all the key facts quickly. And Metro has no political axe to grind. As well as giving you a 24-hour rolling news and sport service, also has all the latest showbiz gossip, the funniest and oddest stories from around the world. Visit

TTG UK TTG Media is the leading travel trade media brand for the UK travel industry. Currently celebrating 60 years since the founding of Travel Trade Gazette in 1953, TTG now stretches from the weekly print magazine to a fast-moving travel trade website, and an events business including the TTG On Tour national roadshows and the TTG Travel Awards. Visit

TTG mena TTG Middle East & North Africa (TTG mena) is the premier travel trade publication for the region. Read by 34,000-plus trade professionals, TTG mena features comprehensive coverage of 20 regional countries and up-to-date global travel industry news. TTG mena is supported by a weekly enewsletter disseminated to 27,000-plus travel professionals. Visit



Travel Trade Gazette Nordic – the most important information and news tool for the NORDIC Nordic travel industravel trade gazette try. With a circulation of 19 000 copies in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Baltic countries, ttg NORDIC is the most widely read magazine coverS w e d e n H D e n m a r k H N o r way H F i n l a n d H I c e l a n d

ing the Nordic travel industry. Visit

Cosmopolitan – for smart, spirited women

Green Hotelier

Cosmo is the life b i b l e for sassy young women who want to be the best they can be in every aspect of their lives. The travel section is packed full of inspirational ideas, from weekend breaks in the UK to diving with sharks in The Galapagos. Whether it’s a funky hostel for £13 a night or a luxurious penthouse in New York, there’s something to suit every price point plus lots of advice about how women can travel safely too. Visit

Green Hotelier is the leading source of information on the sustainable and responsible agenda within the hotel industry. As the key communication tool of the International Tourism Partnership, which works with global hotel chains to drive the responsible agenda, Green Hotelier has a serious commitment to delivering accessible, expert and honest content. Visit

Selling Long Haul S e l l i n g Long Haul is the UK and Ireland’s leading travel trade monthly and since its launch in 1990 has provided travel retailers with the tools, information and inspiration they need to sell more travel. The team behind Selling Long Haul is among the most well-known and well respected in the travel industry and travels extensively visiting destinations and attending travel conferences and trade shows. Visit greentravelguides. tv is the world’s first internet TV channel showing viewers how to keep travelling without trashing the planet. Films cover the most innovative and sustainable tourism projects on Earth. The website is run as a non-profit making service by Wildside UK Productions Ltd, a television production company specialising in conservation, science and education. Programmes are broadcast globally. In 2013 alone, Wildside has filmed for BBC Countryfile, Spain’s TV2 and Sweden’s TV4. Wildside is also a regular film unit for the RSPB. Visit



people and places



eople and places are not new to the Awards and like our previous winner, was awarded in 2009 as Best Volunteering Organisation. Describing themselves as “offering a service of integrity to thinking people”, they specialise in matching volunteers’ skills to specific projects which have all been identified by local communities. They work with 15 local partners in 43 projects around the world. So what is campaigning about? It is essentially about three things: first, standing up and having the courage to say that something is ‘wrong’; second, actually doing something about it, and third, ensuring that this ‘something’ leads to real change. With their campaign titled Better Volunteering, which in the words of the founders Kate Stefenko and Sallie Grayson aims to “raise standards in a sector beset with bad practices”, people and places showed the judges they had identified wrong-doing, taken action to raise awareness, and implemented solutions that have led to behaviour change. Instead of merely just advocating, they insist on ‘leading by example’, which impressed the judges. They put a lot of effort into involving their

Brand Partner:


local partners, without whom the campaign would not have been so successful in places such as Cambodia and South Africa. One of their volunteers, Anke Winchenbar explains: “They really understand what ethical and responsible volunteering means, both for the local project and for the volunteer. They are campaigning by example in all aspects and stages of their work. They deliver what they say, thus contributing to Responsible and Ethical Tourism practices in the industry”. This year people and places ran a highly effective campaign to bring the issues surrounding irresponsible volunteering to the attention of would-be volunteers, voluntourism tour operators and to the wider general public. They made expert use of twitter (@bettervolunteering) and their social-media driven campaign has provided a mine of information to raise awareness and educate volunteers so they can differentiate between good and bad programmes. For example, ‘orphanage tourism’ is a major focus of their campaign, as many children are emotionally scarred by the repeated abandonment of volunteers once their placement is over. There are also issues with companies not running Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for volun-

teers, which puts children at risk. One of people and places’ major achievements has been to convince well established tourism groups (e.g. SAGA, ABTA, and TribesTravel) to adopt/ promote better standards. This year, they have worked with The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and Tourism Concern, to develop codes of conduct for volunteers, and this is leading the way to effective behaviour change in the industry (not only amongst volunteers). Sallie and Kate identified several challenges to running their campaign; for example, people and places needed to build sufficient profile to get their message across, which was hard as they own a small organisation with minimal resources. Sallie writes: “This campaign is far from over! people and places was founded to campaign by example. We will continue to show true leadership and to ensure that all volunteering placements become a win-win experience for volunteers and local communities”.

Green People are in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society, helping to support marine wildlife and raise awareness of the effects mainstream sun lotions can have on aquatic life. Alongside existing charitable link-ups, Green People has found a new ally in its commitment against the use of chemical ingredients in personal care products. Visit



he Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of over 30 governments and a myriad of private sector entities.The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination by 2017, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism - One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean. The organisation provides specialised support and technical assistance to members in the areas of sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, research and information technology. The CTO has been staging its Annual Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC) since 1997. This Conference is part of the information dissemination and regional awareness component of CTO’s Strategy for Sustainable Tourism.


SNOWCARBON Snowcarbon is based in London and campaigns in the UK and in the Alps for the sustainability of ski holidays by encouraging, enabling and inspiring skiers to travel to ski resorts by train instead of flying or driving. Daniel Elkan, Co-founder



Why did you select this campaign? Currently, only around 9% of ski holidays originating from the UK involve travelling by train. I found this surprising as surveys amongst skiers show that they would prefer to travel by rail because it is judged more convenient than flying; in most cases, it ends up being actually quicker too! How did you campaign?



We wanted to educate but also help consumers plan their holidays. First, we created an entertaining, informative film that ‘explodes’ the myth that flying is faster. The film titled “Train versus Plane” also shows what the journey is actually like - this helps skiers realise that rail travel is also more comfortable. Our second action was to create a website where you can find our “Snowcarbon Journey Planner” which provides train timetables to

skiers in a clear format. For years, UK-based skiers have complained about poor train timetable information and the difficulty in assessing the suitability of rail travel options to the Alps. How do you know that campaign is working?


This is very difficult to assess but we have some idea of how popular our film has been so far. It has been viewed 947 times on Rail Europe; 3,660 on Ski Club and 5,601 on YouTube. Viewers are enthusiastic and comments include “great film”, “brilliant piece capturing the alternative transport so frequently overlooked”. Crucially, it has generated widespread coverage in the travel media, including The Mail on Sunday, Travelmole, TimesOnline and PlanetSKI. Our campaign has taken a very positive approach, avoiding negativity and guilt-mongering. We have helped tour operators and resorts provide more informative rail travel; and since the Alps represent 4-11% of global tourism, our campaign could make a real impact on reducing pollution.



e are proud to announce that the World Responsible Tourism Awards has dedicated supporters who help us raise the profile of the awards and winners and the practices they promote.

ABTA ABTA is the UK’s leading travel association; they have been at the heart of travel for over 60 years. Their purpose is to help their members grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers – the travelling public – have confidence in their travel experience. The ABTA brand stands for expertise, reliability and fairness. ABTA is committed to supporting responsible tourism and promoting sustainable business practices among travel businesses at home and abroad. Visit

ANTOR ANTOR is the principle organisation for the world’s tourist offices. Its UK membership comprises of over 60 national and regional tourist offices represented in Britain. ANTOR

celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012. ANTOR’s objectives include providing a fraternal forum for its members to meet and exchange ideas, to forge close relationships with all other sectors of the travel industry, to be recognised as one of the foremost advocates of responsible tourism and to comment on a wide range of issues affecting worldwide travel and tourism. Visit

advocacy, human resource development, research and information technology. The CTO has been staging its Annual Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC) since 1997. Visit

Our Land - holidays, activities and short breaks in National Parks and The Caribbean Tourism AONBs Our Land Organisation (CTO)

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of over 30 governments and of a myriad of private sector entities. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination by 2017, and its message is “Leading Sustainable Tourism - One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean”. The organisation provides specialised support and technical assistance to members in the areas of sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications,

is a collaboration between National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to develop and market rural responsible tourism in UK protected landscapes. It is the first time Our Land protected landscapes have worked together on a shared tourism initiative and is the only place online for a visitor to find a holiday in a collection of National Parks and AONBs. All Our Land accommodations, activities, tours and attractions put the stories of the landscape at the heart of the tourist experience to provide visitors with a distinctive landscape holiday that can compete with the lure of international short breaks. Holidays on Our Land include

staying in characteristic buildings, sampling home grown food and drink, hearing folk stories, and watching local wildlife - all involve meeting people who are passionate about their landscape. Visit

The Tourism Society The Tourism Society is the professional membership body for people working in the tourism and travel industry, whether directly or indirectly, in the UK and overseas. Existing members represent tour operators, hotel chains, PR, marketing and representation companies, tourist attractions, national, regional and local tourist boards, restaurants, trade media, charities, consultants, academics, students and educational establishments, among others. Their regular meetings held around the country, as well as their quarterly journal ‘Tourism’, and active social media groups keep members up to date with industry developments and key discussion topics. Why not join? Visit

PATA The Pacific Asia Travel Association UK Chapter (PATA UK Chapter), originally formed in 1962 with just 12 members, belongs to the PATA international network of 39 worldwide chapters. Formed over 50 years ago with headquarters in Bangkok, PATA is a global organisation with over 2,500 members comprising 42 Member Destinations and their airlines, hotel groups, tour operators and travel agents. PATA is the leader, advocate and catalyst for developing Asia Pacific’s travel and tourism industry. PATA UK organises a nationwide calendar of events to put members in direct contact with UK travel agents and tour operators. Please visit for more details and keep up to date on twitter @pacificasiauk.



only three 1. Oman is one of d ates in the worl an lt Su ng ni ai m re

2. Oman is the same s ize as Germ any

ees in the 3. 80% of employ e Omani tourism sector ar

gion the re in y r ount en first c e h t or wom f s a s w t h n 4. Oma uce equal rig od to intr

5. Oman is not diverse range just about desert - it has a of landscape s, including canyons, bea mountains, ches and we tland areas

10 things you didn’t know about Oman 1.

The country is one of only three remaining Sultanates in the world; this November, the Sultan celebrates his 43rd year anniversary.


Oman is the same size as Germany with a population of only 3.83 million; 1.15 million people reside in and around the Capital City of Muscat.


“Omanisation”, a policy introduced in 1988, ensures that local or foreign companies doing business in Oman provide work to a maximum of Omani employees; in the tourism sector, the average target is of 80%.

4. 5.

Oman is the first country in the region to introduce equal rights for women, with two female assembly ministers since 1997.

The country offers an incredibly wide diversity of landscapes: Oman does not only have stunning deserts (e.g. Wahiba sands and the Empty Quarter) and 3,165 kms of pristine Indian Ocean beaches but also the tallest mountains in the region, the Hajar Mountains (3000m). It boasts rich green hills in Dhofar, fdjords in Musandam and the second largest underground cavern in the world, Majlis Al Jinn. There are also canyons that rival the Grand Canyon, wadis, waterfalls and wetlands with over 300 species of birds (including flamingos) and 900 species of fish.



6. Oman has 10 s p includin g the h ecies of whale umpback

7. You can see Frankincense growing on the Boswellia Sacra tree

8. Turtle nes ting at the Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserv e

any Oman’s m f o e n o ryx is n see 9. The O s you ca ie c e p s l anima

10. One of th e 500 forts in Oman


Off the coast of Dhofar, in the South of Oman, you will find the only whale that does not migrate: the Arabian Whale. Nine other species of whales (including humpback and Brydes) and dolphins (spinner and common) can be spotted along the coast.

Beauty has an address‌.Oman


The Sultanate is one of only two places in the world where you can find Frankincense and see it on the Boswellia Sacra tree.


The country is home to five species of turtles and the Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserve where turtles can be observed nesting and hatching in a preserved and managed environment.


It is also home to the rare Arabian Leopard, protected since 1976 and many other indigenous species including the Oryx, the Arabian Wolf, the caracal lynx, gazelles and ibex.

10. Its 6,000 years of history and over 500 forts and castles, as well as culture and heritage that include legends such as Sinbad the Sailor, the lost city of Ubar and the Queen of Sheba, have contributed to many attractions gaining UNESCO Heritage Site status.






his municipality often branded as “the eco-tourism model for Brazil” or “the Caribbean of the Central-West” is famous for its crystal clear blue waters, caves, mountains and forests with diverse wildlife, and is also part of UNESCO’s Global Geopark Network. Last year, Bonito welcomed approximately 190,000 tourists. The key to Bonito’s success has been to pre-empt rather than react to tourism impacts (both positive and negative). The municipality has spearheaded an inclusive approach to tourism planning, involving both private landowners and public institutions in deciding how the region should develop as a destination. Bonito’s popularity with tourists came as a surprise to its residents. Despite its name meaning ‘beautiful’, it was not until 1990 that its tourism potential was ‘discovered’, following a television programme on Brazilian National TV, which suddenly put the city on the ‘tourist map’. Faced with hundreds of new arrivals and little infrastructures to accommodate visitors, Bonito took the pioneering and immediate action to limit visitor numbers and prevent overcapacity, in order to preserve its natural and cultural heritage whilst ensuring tourists have a great experience. The judges were most impressed by the effectiveness of this visitor management strategy, which is key to sustainable growth. All tourism activities in the Bonito region are within private land owned by cattle


farmers. These farmers got together and decided how many tourists they could accommodate each day. The journalist H. Castro writes: “Every of the 38 attractions went through an environmental impact study, which led to stipulating a maximum number of daily visitors”. This was followed by the creation of a central reservation system which guarantees all activities take place at the advertised time, and only in group sizes that each attraction can manage. To ensure each attraction keeps within its limit, tourists are issued with a voucher, which means that visitor numbers are indeed effectively controlled. Whilst preserving natural assets, this also guarantees that tourists have a better experience as they visit sites in small groups. But as explained by Ayako Ezaki, who as part of her work for The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) audited Bonito, “this ‘Single Voucher System’, also facilitate the fair distribution of tourism income locally”. This quality rather than quantity-centred approach forms an essential component of responsible tourism destination management. Various other steps have been taken to protect Bonito’s natural heritage: the municipality has invested in training 23 local guides and 30 young people to become Environmental Leaders; they now all work in local tourism facilities. In addition, the city runs an annual fair that raises awareness of environmental issues amongst its communities, and is working closely with landowners to restore native vegetation.

Tourism now accounts for 56% of the region’s revenue. Economic impacts are wide-spread among the community as tourism provides direct and indirect employment in a wide range of professions (e.g. local guides, hotel/restaurant and museum staff, excursion operators - more than 30 tours are available in the area – but also taxi drivers, national park guards, farmers and government auditors).


According to Juliane Salvadori, Bonito’ s Secretary of Tourism, Trade & Industry, next year the city will continue to engage with the community but the focus will be to optimise the sourcing of local produces and skills, this time in order to promote indigenous cultural heritage.


ersey may be only 45 square miles in size, but it’s a small island with lots to shout about. Its diverse attractions and natural beauty offer something for everyone and make it an ideal destination for short breaks, romantic weekends, active experiences, foodie getaways and family summer holidays. The 48 miles of breathtaking coastline set the scene for a whole host of beach activities including scuba diving, surfing, wakeboarding and sailing for all ages. On land, the island is made for scenic cycle rides and long walks. For daredevils, Jersey’s beaches are ideal for ‘Blo-karting’, a form of on-land sailing where you’re whisked across the beach at up to speeds of 90kms an hour. Kids will adore the Durrell’s conservation centre. For something more unusual, The Jersey Museum and Mont Orgueil Castle both organise treasure hunts and storytelling sleepovers. Jersey was the first holiday destination in the world to be given Green Globe status back in 1997.

MARA NABOISHO CONSERVANCY The Conservancy comprises 50,000 acres of wilderness on the North Eastern border of the Masai Mara National Reserve. It forms a large and integral part of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, maintaining and conserving a critical wildlife dispersal area for the National Reserve. Dominique Berger, Administrator Why did you apply to win an award? The private conservancy is a ground breaking tourism project benefitting conservation and communities. We successfully promote, preserve and develop land resources for livestock, wildlife and tourism. We also manage issues of land-use and human-wildlife conflict together with residents, and ensure economic growth through increased community participation in the planning and development of projects. So far, all camps in Naboisho employ between 85%-95% local Maasai staff. Also +95% of conservancy staff (e.g. rangers) are local Maasai

HIGHLY COMMENDED community members. We also provide education to young Maasai, facilitating local employment in tourism. What kind of experience can tourists expect? Visitor numbers and camp sizes are strictly controlled to ensure visitors have an ‘exclusive’ experience because they are away from the very high vehicle numbers so prevalent in Masai Mara National Reserve. Guests sometimes drive around all day without seeing another vehicle. The Conservancy is a new model for Kenya and is playing a big role in influencing the policies that are being put in place at national level.

NATURE PARK & GLACIER REGION KAUNERTAL The Kaunertal Valley lies in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria and forms a natural border with Italy.

walking difficulties is increasing yearly and currently stands at about 15 % of all room nights.

Florian Van der Bellen, Director Kaunertal Tourism

How do you manage the valley responsibly?

Can you describe the destination?

We look after nature, culture and people. We have our own drinking water, and a hydroelectric power plant, providing clean and very cost efficient electricity. We promote our local culinary heritage (e.g. herbal schnaps, alpine cheeses, venison products, herbs) and craftwork in local shops and hotels. To attract employees to the valley, the municipality has built ecologically friendly flats and rents them out at low prices.

The valley is surrounded by more than 60 mountain peaks and is littered with small villages, alpine meadows and waterfalls. It is a quiet place where adventure-seekers can relax in the heart of the most beautiful landscape. What makes it a unique destination? We focus on making the valley accessible to all. The region offers “barrier-free” holidays and activities at very high altitude. We have many paths and this makes the destination a paradise for families with prams and other people limited in their mobility, especially those who have to use a wheelchair. The proportion of our guests in wheelchairs or with

VALLEYS REGIONAL PARK (VRP) VRP is situated in South Wales. It covers an area of over 200,000 hectares and is home to over 1 million people, approximately a third of the Welsh population. The region has a recent history of economic downturn and neglect but is blessed with beautiful landscape, diverse natural environment, fascinating history, rich industrial heritage, distinctive culture and welcoming communities. Joseph Newbury, Community Tourism Development Officer Who manages the destination? VRP is managed by an informal partnership involving over 40 organisations, led by the Welsh Government. The overall aim focuses on utilising the park’s natural and historic environment as a driver for socio-economic regeneration.



ities, work across VRP to promote tourism as a tool to regenerate local communities. In total, they have helped 400 individuals to improve their customer service skills, whilst enhancing their knowledge of attractions in their own communities. How does tourism contribute to the region’s economic growth? The central challenge facing VRP is regeneration of post-industrial communities experiencing economic decline and social deprivation as a consequence of economic restructuring. Whilst Community Tourism Ambassadors cannot single-handedly address this challenge, they contribute significantly towards improving the lives of local residents by increasing skills, awareness and pride in their communities.

How are local communities involved? We have Community Tourism Ambassadors, who through a range of activ-



TUI Nederland - WINNER


UI Nederland (part of TUI Travel PLC) is a market leader in the Dutch tourism sector. Each year, the company carries over 1.5 million guests to 75+ destinations worldwide. Many of these holidaymakers will interact with children in destinations. Most encounters are harmless (seeing or meeting local children on excursions). However, tourists might also come across children being forced to work, and at worst, encounters can be all together more sinister as some tourists will sexually exploit poor children. As explained by Elise Allart, TUI Nederland’s Sustainable Tourism Manager: “Any form of child exploitation is a fundamental abuse of a child’s human rights and dignity. As a leader in the industry, TUI has an important role to play in protecting these children’s rights and has zero tolerance for any form of child abuse.”

Brand Partner:

Brand Partner:


To demonstrate their commitment, the company has implemented several strategies that have addressed child safety on all fronts. Fully aware of the role that staff play in selling holidays, one of TUI’s first and most impactful initiatives in 2002 was to develop (with other partners), a compulsory online training programme on child labour and child sex tourism. TUI has also long been committed to immediately terminate business with any person or company that is engaged or associated with any form of exploitation. Crucially, TUI Nederland had the courage to recognise that some of their clients travelling to Brazil visit, on their own account, local bars to find children they sexually abuse. To deal with this problem, the company organised a campaign entitled “A collective NO to child sex tourism in the Northeast of Brazil”. As part of their actions in Brazil, TUI

contributed financially to providing formal employment through vocational education, thus offering young people an alternative route to a safer future. By training 80 adolescents as “Mobilizers”, whose role is to raise awareness, TUI ensures that young people are fully conscious of the dangers associated with child sex tourism (this initiative has already reached 2,000 young people across the targeted region). In addition, high-impact posters targeting tourists have been displayed in Dutch airports (see picture above), making abusers less likely to offend and the general public more likely to report them. This comprehensive approach to such a sensitive issue is a testament to TUI’s genuine commitment to child protection.

ECPAT UK - Is a leading children’s rights organisation campaigning against child exploitation and trafficking, including sexual exploitation of children by travelling British sex offenders. Last year, ECPAT UK successfully persuaded the UK Government to close the ‘three-day loophole’; this means registered sex offenders must notify authorities of any travel they plan abroad. Visit www.

Baby Teresa - Sells a line of gorgeous 100% organic cotton baby clothing and accessories. For each baby outfit they sell and also donate another to a child in need. For each accessory item they sell, a portion of the sales go to purchasing formula for babies in need. Visit



orway powered by nature.

Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty: dramatic waterfalls, crystal clear fjords, majestic mountains, captivating wilderness and spectacular glaciers. Nowhere else will holidaymakers feel so close to nature. Norwegian tourism relies on this unspoilt and beautiful landscape to encourage people to visit. “This is why we are constantly working to improve and increase sustainable tourism”, says the Norwegian tourism director Per Arne Tuftin from the NTO Innovation Norway. Innovation Norway deliver the brand VisitNorway. Sustainable tourism is a smarter way of doing business and at the same time it give tourists a better and more responsible holiday experience in Norway. This is why we find it important to take part in the awards and to take this opportunity to celebrate the many fantastic responsible tourism initiatives happening around the world.


FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL Friends-International (FI) is a social enterprise working with children and their families by providing education and training to assist them in becoming productive members of their society. It directly manages programmes in Cambodia, Lao, Thailand & Indonesia and also works with NGO partners in Honduras, the Philippines and Egypt. Heidi Bain, Corporate Liaison & Social Awareness Manager How do your activities relate to tourism? Friends-International is the pioneer of the ChildSafe Network, a child protection programme involving grassroots community members, the tourism industry, and travellers themselves. The programme provides education on best behaviour practices, hotlines for emergency action, and training for local community members on child protection and actions to take to immediately protect a child at risk. Can you describe some of your main achievements?

hotel staff, etc.), we have more eyes; we know that 7,984 children have been directly protected as a direct result of members’ actions. Since we started, we estimate to have educated 4 million tourists on child protection issues, also providing access to a hotline across Asia for immediate assistance in relation to a concern for a child. It shocks me to say that in 2011 and 2012 we received respectively 3,453 and 2,896 calls; this shows how serious an issue this is. We are also very proud of our vocational training programme, which since 2011, has enabled 1,131 students to gain the necessary skills to work in the restaurant business. Friends-International works with marginalised urban children and youth, their families and communities to become productive, independent citizens. We do this by listening to, and being guided by those who matter the most to us: the children and youth we work with everyday.

We have grown membership to the ChildSafe Network by 30% in two years; today it has reached a total of 4,200 members. With more members directly linked to the tourism industry (e.g. tour guides, local transport employees,


INTREPID TRAVEL Intrepid Travel is a global small group adventure tour operator. For many years it primarily offered tours in Asia but now it sells more than 1,000 tours in over 100 countries. Nicola Frame, UK & Ireland PR Manager, Intrepid Group How long have you been engaged in child protection activities? Intrepid has been active on this issue for more than 20 years. Whilst working across many destinations in Asia, the company’s first tour leaders observed children working in a number of vulnerable situations, for example selling postcards and trinkets in tourist areas, begging on the streets, working in nightclubs in renowned prostitution areas, and performing shows for tourists in ‘orphanages’. This raised concerns for their welfare and a desire to understand what Intrepid could do to help protect such children. How do you translate these concerns into actions? We have four main objectives which guide all our activities:

child protection issues so they can make informed and responsible holiday choices 3) we ensure that all our suppliers protect children from abuse and exploitation, and only employ workers over the age of 18 4) we raise funds to support the work of effective NGOs and community-led projects that are working to protect and support children How hard was it to stand up for children’s rights? When Intrepid first began advocating on child protection in the early 1990s, sharing information with tourism partners, there was resistance from some businesses, which believed that these issues were nothing to do with them – that, for example, paedophiles would not book through their agency, use their airline, or stay in their hotel. Our reaction was to prove them wrong and to hope that through good practice, other companies would see that taking a strong stance on such issues brings direct benefits to their business and of course to the communities where they operate.

1) we train our Tour Leaders to identify and report child abuse 2) we educate travellers on



Tanushree Singh

Macy Anonuevo



The picture shows the interaction between the host community member and a guest - the potter who is semi-literate interacting on equal terms with the guest who is educated, from France, and has travelled all the way to India. She learns because she respects his skill - one which she has to struggle to gain. He teaches her with humility because she is everything he is not. Both interact with mutual respect to gain from each other.

Christopher Willan - HIGHLY COMMENDED

This picture was taken in El Nido, on Palawan island, in the Philipines. The beach clean-up crew consisted of volunteer staff from El Nido Resorts. These staff members volunteered their off-duty hours to clean up El Nido’s beaches during Earth Day 2013 because they believe that they need to keep El Nido clean not just for themselves, but for the community and visitors as well.



ithuania is a Baltic jewel with a refreshing and sustainable tourism growth plan. The Ethical Traveler recently listed Lithuania in its 2013 list of The World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations. Lithuania’s protected sites cover 15.3 per cent of the country and one third of Lithuanian territory is covered by forests. As well as approximately 6,000 lakes the country also has some of the largest underground fresh water reserves in the world. Lithuania’s coastline has had Blue Flag status awarded to three of its beaches, Nida, Juodkrante and Birutes Parkas in the seaside town of Palanga. Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, is one of the greenest cities in the world and in terms of air quality surpasses all other capi-

Brand Partner:

Dikwella (south coast of Sri Lanka), is famous for traditional Beeralu Bobbin lace making. Women in the area have been working in this industry for generations. Hitorically, most have earned very little income from this occupation. Badly affected by the tsunami, over 10,000 families are in a low income bracket, earning less than £20/month. A lace making centre was set up in 2008 to protect the livelihoods of these traditional lace makers.


tal cities in Europe. The city ranks 13th in the European Green City Index making it the best performing city in Eastern Europe. Vilnius has taken the initiative in several areas to improve policies and invest in environmental infrastructure, city bikes and park and ride options.

The Royal Photographic Society is a membership organisation and a registered charity. It exists to promote the art and science of photography and to help photographers develop their skills. It has an extensive programme of workshops, exhibitions and competitions which are open to non-members. Visit


Huilo Huilo-

WINNER In 2012, Huilo Huilo won the Best for Conservation of Wildlife and Habitats category. It offers numerous accommodation options in Patagonia, including lodges, hotels or cabins of striking eco-architecture (really innovative wooden structures) that ‘melt’ into the landscape.

To generate social positive impacts, it not only runs workshops focussed on family health and care which ultimately aim to improve the quality of life of local communities but also works at empowering members in the communities (e.g. women or craftsmen) to earn more money from tourism.

Huilo Huilo this year was chosen to represent best practice in forest-based environments as part of a wider selection of former winners of the World Responsible Tourism Awards. Huilo Huilo received a total of 2,187 votes (an impressive 45% of all votes).

Runners up:

Since 2000, the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve has conserved over 100,000 hectares of Patagonian temperate rainforest. The owners have changed the way in which they, and the local community, secure a living from this large piece of Patagonian forest, moving from logging to conservation and sustainable tourism. Through its Foundation, the Biological Reserve targets not only environmental protection (e.g. it runs scientific studies) but also heritage conservation, especially through various educational projects that promote indigenous knowledge and art.

Battlesteads Hotels, UK Originally an 18th century farmhouse, this net zero carbon neutral, threestar hotel has implemented a range of initiatives over the last six years, including: a biomass boiler supplied by a sustainable forestry, solar thermal panels providing all heating and hot water, charging points for electrical vehicles, and enough rainwater collection to supply water for 2 acres of land, including the two polytunnels used to grow their own food. Reality Tours & Travel, India This company uses tourism to raise awareness of the reality of slum life, good and bad, and to raise money from its business and its customers to assist the communities it works with. They donate 80% of post-tax profits to fund educational programmes and support a number of micro-enterprise

and community initiatives including sports, beekeeping, and youth empowerment programmes. 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, Nepal Owned and run by the Chheti sisters, 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking train and employ women as high-altitude guides and porters, a break from tradition in the male-dominated Nepalese trekking industry. Women’s wages can lift whole families out of poverty and allow the women themselves to continue their education, a rare opportunity in a country where just 2% of female school leavers go to university. Whale Watch Kaikoura, New Zealand This 100% Maori-owned whale watching operator has demonstrated the ability, at scale - they carry an impressive 90,000-100,000 passengers per year- to offer a very high quality whale watching experience from energy-efficient craft: these have a very low impact on the marine environment, and provide ground breaking interpretation which enables passengers to understand what is happening below them.

Brand Partner: Yelp connects people with great local businesses. Founded in San Francisco in July 2004, Yelp communities have taken root in major metro police across 16 European countries, the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore. Yelp acquired its leading European competitor, Qype, in October 2012. Yelp had over 100 million unique visitors in January 2013. Visit


From the stunning gateway city of Vancouver on the Pacific Ocean in the west to the breathtaking Canadian Rockies in the east, British Columbia has something for everyone. Our visitors take home lifetime memories - viewing grizzlies, catching salmon from a riverside retreat, taking a glimpse of the rare Spirit bear in the Great Bear Rainforest, or maybe seeing the magnificent, breaching orca whale. As custodian of some of the world’s last remaining wilderness and most fragile ecosystems, British Columbia takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. Indeed the City of Vancouver has pledged that by 2020 it will be the world’s greenest city. BC’s green energy initiatives include a hydro-electric project powering the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, an organic golf course on Salt Spring Island, and villas on Vancouver Island supported by a geo exchange system. Secluded wilderness lodges are some of BC’s most treasured experiences.


THE JUDGES’ VERDICT Kindly written by Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism and Chair of the Judges of the World Responsible Tourism Awards This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Responsible Tourism Awards with the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism, run previously with First Choice (2004-6) and more recently with Virgin Holidays (2007-2012). In the last 10 years, the Awards have come of age. They have been rebranded as the World Responsible Tourism Awards, the headline sponsor’s recognition no longer extends to their name being included in the Awards’ title and 2013 has seen a much more extensive and diverse range of partners and sponsors.

THE CATEGORIES The categories were substantially changed this year to reflect changes in Responsible Tourism. For the first 10 years the Awards tended to focus on businesses (tour operators, accommodation, transport), environments (marine, mountains, cultures and architecture) and a limited number of issues (carbon pollution, poverty reduction, volunteering and conservation). This year we have maintained the Best Destination category, broadened the poverty reduction category of previous years to Best for the Local Economy, refocused the wildlife conservation category to look at the tourist experience and concentrated on two issues: water conservation and child protection. Also new this year are the campaigning and photography categories – part of our purpose in organising the Awards each year is our intent to raise awareness amongst holidaymakers and travellers. The People’s Choice category was introduced to provide an opportunity for “the people” to engage and they did in substantial numbers. This experiment is likely to become a permanent feature of the Awards.

THE OUTCOME Since 2004 we have awarded 12 Overall Winners, 113 winners and 179 Highly Commended across the globe. Details of the categories, winners and highly commendeds for each year since 2004 can be found on the Awards’ website.1 As the Awards have grown in stature we have begun to receive nominations from a growing number of countries and we have seen the launch of other Responsible Tourism Awards; most recently the Catalan Responsible Tourism Awards which were launched as part of the 7th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations in Barcelona, in October this year.2 The Catalan Awards were consciously modelled on the process used for these Awards, organised by and this has been fully acknowledged.

THE FUTURE As the Responsible Tourism movement grows, Awards schemes based on the concept of Responsible Tourism will proliferate; something to rejoice about. Responsible Tourism recognises, indeed celebrates, the cultural and natural diversity of our world which will be reflected in the diversity of Awards generated by it. That diversity should be celebrated so long as Responsible Tourism Awards are genuinely competed for and judges explain their decision making-process openly. It is for this reason that each year the reasons for the judges’ decisions are written up in some detail and are published in “Progress in Responsible Tourism”. This section is a briefer version of the paper which will appear 3 later in the year in this journal.

THE SELECTION PROCESS The organisers of the Awards, with their partners, actively encourage nominations and this year we received just short of 1,000 nominations. The judges do not select the organisations which they regard as the most responsible. They are actually constrained to and limited to shortlisting from amongst those which have been nominated, although we expect the judges to encourage nominations. Colleagues from the staff, alumni and current students of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism4 (ICRT) work through the nominations undertaking some preliminary research on the internet and applying their specialist knowledge of both Responsible Tourism and the sector. Under the supervision of the chair of judges and the organisers, they then draw up a long list of between 15 and 25 organisations in each category. Inevitably some Award categories are less strong than others. The Judges’ Questionnaire is then sent to all those organisations which have reached this stage of the process. In one case this year5 all of those nominated were sent questionnaires and the ICRT expert worked though 36 questionnaires to provide a long list of 11 for the judges to consider. Table 1 Nominations, long listed and returned questionnaires by category Category

Unique nominations



Best for Responsible Wildlife Experiences




Best for Water Conservation




Best for the Local Economy




Best for Responsible Tourism Campaigning




Best Destination for Responsible Tourism




Best for Child Protection




Best Photography for Responsible Tourism




The judges, in pairs, then look at the longlisted organisations and together agree on a shortlist for consideration by all the judges on Judging Day. On the judging day the recommendations of each pair of judges are considered and debated, often at length, until a consensus is reached. Very rarely is a vote taken.


THE JUDGES Last year, Ian Reynolds retired because of ill health from the Judging Panel of the Responsible Tourism Awards. Educated at the London School of Economics (LSE), and with 25 years experience as a manager in IBM, Ian brought a grasp of the detail and his personal integrity to the judging process. He served as Chief Executive of ABTA from 1994 to 2005 and was one of the founding judges of the Awards, contributing his wide knowledge of the tourism sector and his sharp mind to the judging process. Ian had a strong social commitment, he was Chairman of the Family Holiday Association from 1995, until his illness and untimely death in October 2013. Ian was greatly missed during judging this year and will be for many years to come. He was involved in the selection of the winners that we chose to put before the public for the People’s Choice category. There were two new judges this year. Simon Press, the Exhibition Director for World Travel Market at Reed Exhibitions with a wealth of international experience, and Dr Michael Pritchard Director-General of the Royal Photographic Society joined the panel to strengthen the judges’ capacity in judging the Best Photography for Responsible Tourism category.

THE JUDGING PROCESS The Awards are not an accreditation scheme; they are not about certifying an organisation as responsible. The judges seek to identify and celebrate innovation, to inspire change in the industry, and to recognise organisations that demonstrate best practice. The judges and the organisers want the Awards to be the place to share stories about those organisations leading the way in Responsible Tourism. The judges can only consider those organisations which have been nominated and which take the time to complete the extensive questionnaire necessary to the judging process. These need to be returned along with details of at least two independent referees. The references are followed up and considered in the judging process. There are no site visits; it was one of the founding principles of the Awards that we will consider any business or organisation which is nominated and which returns the completed questionnaire and for which we can get the necessary references. To send at least one judge to visit all the shortlisted businesses would be expensive, precluding some more remote places from being considered. It would also mean that the essential parity of the judges would be jeopardised with some becoming advocates for the businesses which they had visited. The judges look for examples of responsible practice which will excite interest and help us to drive the Responsible Tourism agenda forward. We particularly look for examples which will inspire and which are replicable. The judges look for examples of Responsible Tourism in practice that have some, or all, of the following characteristics: • Demonstrate the application of Responsible Tourism in taking responsibility for making tourism more sustainable across the triple bottom line, addressing economic, social and environmental issues. • Credible evidence of having exercised responsibility based on the questionnaires we send out to all those who make the longlist and the references that we take up. • Innovation – we want organisations with original ideas, innovative approaches to solving problems in sustainable tourism, and unique initiatives that drive the Responsible Tourism agenda forward. • A track record – proven results, demonstrable achievements illustrated with real data, well recorded metrics and detailed information about investment of time, effort and resources in Responsible Tourism initiatives. • Replicability – practices and initiatives that are inspirational and have the potential to be applied elsewhere, adaptable concepts and ideas that could have an impact beyond their own business. • Local focus – Responsible Tourism is not limited to a tick list of key requirements, we are interested in practices that address local issues and provide solutions with the local community in mind. To win a second or third time is tough as previous winners and highly commendeds are required to demonstrate that something significant has been achieved since the last time they were recognised in the Awards. The judges are independent volunteers, they have no knowledge of the sponsorship arrangements and they are not recompensed for their time and effort in judging the Awards. As Simon Press of World Travel Market commented: “As a first time judge, for the World Responsible Tourism Awards, I found the judging process enlightening, uplifting and very thorough”.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The debate around the judging table is extensive, it took seven hours this year to agree on the winners and highly commended. There is considerable expertise around the judging table from across the tourism industry and they deploy their experience and knowledge in a robust round-table debate to choose the most innovative and inspirational nominees as shining examples in Responsible Tourism. The range of knowledge and contacts amongst our judges is very broad - many of the candidates are known to the judges and in a surprising number of cases - to multiple judges. If all of the judges who know the candidates being considered leave the room there would, in some cases be very few judges left. More seriously the judges would be deprived of the knowledge of those who do know the candidates. Before discussion of each category, each judge is required to state openly any relationship with, and the basis of any prior knowledge of, each candidate being considered in the category. If any additional candidate is later suggested as a potential winner then the judges are again asked to declare their relationship and the basis of any prior knowledge. The judges then collectively decide who can vote, if the issue comes to a vote, and they have the opportunity to ensure that they are aware of any bias, in favour or against, any particular candidate by any judge. Everyone then takes part in the discussion and can be questioned about the candidates – only the non-conflicted can vote. This ensures that the judges have the benefit of all of the knowledge around the table and are able to take account of biases. It is not unusual for organisations with which judges have close relationships, not to be considered. It is arguably harder for those with which one or more judges had a relationship or close knowledge to win because of the additional scrutiny from other judges.


This year we focussed on finding organisations that are committed to wildlife protection and to providing the memorable experiences that tourists will share with friends and family, whilst raising awareness of responsible approaches to wildlife experiences. We sought to select businesses with models that could easily be replicated.

Winner: Nam Nern Night Safari,6 Lao PDR

Nam Nern Night Safari has been designed to create direct incentives for conservation. It is located in Nam Et – Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL), the last stronghold for tigers in French Indochina, and the only place in the region where visitors can hope to see a tiger or its pugmarks along the banks of the Nam Nern River. Nam Nern Night Safari supports the conservation of tigers and their prey, as well as other wildlife, by placing a monetary value on tigers and other wildlife for local people. Each reported sighting of wildlife by a tourist results in a financial reward for the villagers who live with the wildlife, and this includes people who might otherwise poach. Since 2010 there have been 370 visitors in 142 groups, and the revenues have been shared by 1000+ families in the 14 surrounding villages. The village development fund generated $2,860 this year, roughly $200 per village. It has been used by villages to improve their well-being through small projects such as purchasing medicine for a village medicine bank, building a bathroom at a primary school, or purchasing benches for community meeting halls. Although the numbers are small, the initiative has been very successful in increasing the number of wildlife sightings per boats – they have doubled from an average of two per boat trip to four, and visitor satisfaction is high averaging 4.4 out of 5. The judges felt that this approach should be replicable and would contribute to creating a more positive relationship between local communities, wildlife and tourism.

Highly Commended: ReefCI,7 Belize

ReefCI has been in business for ten years based out of Punta Gorda town, a small fishing community. It offers experiences of the marine wildlife from the Caribbean Caye, 36 miles from the mainland on the Great Barrier Reef, and operates with a high ratio of staff to guests. The judges recognised the contribution which ReefCI makes to conservation both through the quality of the guest experience and the data which they collect on species and number. The quality of the data on contribution to the local economy through employment and local sourcing was also noteworthy. ReefCI is working with the department of Fisheries in Belize to help protect the marine life and sustain fish stocks and fishing. The data they collect assists fisheries with their allocations of open and closed season regulations, which helps conserve commercial species such as conch and lobster.

Highly Commended: The Great Projects,8 Africa, Asia, South America & Europe

This is the third time that The Great Projects has been Highly Commended in the Awards. In 2009, it was rewarded for conservation of wildlife and habitats and in 2010 for volunteering. The judges wanted to recognise the success of The Great Projects in extending its range of volunteering holidays to four continents. People who volunteer on one of their projects have the opportunity to work with, and help some of the most endangered animals. Tourists have the opportunity to work up close with orang-utans, cheetahs, lions and make a donation to conservation. Great Projects carefully manages the interactions between tourists and wildlife to ensure a good experience, and where they do not allow hands on contact or close encounters with animals, they explain why so that it does not diminish the tourist’s experience.


2013 was declared by the United Nations as the International Year for Water Conservation prompting the Awards to create this category. Although water consumption by the travel and tourism industry is of increasing concern amongst environmentalists and policy makers, there is still very limited awareness of the problem. This category attracted the smallest number of unique nominations, a mere 26, of which only five completed the necessary questionnaire to be considered for an award.

Winner: Chepu Adventures EcoLodge,9 Chile

Chepu offers lodging and kayaking at dawn, “in silence, surrounded by morning mist, the reflections of sun rays and the song of birds giving thanks to a new day”; and kayaking in “the sunken forest escorted by river otters.” One of the owners is an engineer and the lodge uses only rain water in the bathrooms and kitchen, harvested from the roofs of the lodge and stored in a well and large water tanks. Chepu uses solar water heaters to provide hot water for showers and the kitchen; its electricity is provided by wind and solar energy. Chepu offers “comfortable beds and soft white linens with the aromas of nature after they have been dried out to the fresh air, and home cuisine with organic and natural products provided by local green houses and family farming”. Chepu demonstrates that the frugal use of water does not have to mean a spartan experience. The judges were particularly impressed by the way in which Chepu engages the visitor enabling them to monitor their own water consumption by providing them with electronic feedback on the amount of water they are using. If customers keep within their “eco-limit” they can choose to have a tree planted in Patagonia or a reduction on their bill. There is sophisticated shower control: every time the button is pressed the shower starts and stops, allowing clients to get wet, stop the shower, soap, rinse and so on for three effective minutes, using a total of 21 litres of water. Clients can prolong the shower time by reducing the water flow and the shower delivers at 39°C so that guest satisfaction remains high.

Highly Commended: Chumbe Island Coral Park,10 off the coast of Zanzibar/Tanzania

Chumbe Island Coral Park is the first marine park in Tanzania; and the first private marine park in the world fully funded through eco-tourism. Water pollution is a direct threat to coral and the management of fresh and waste water has been a priority from the original conception of Chumbe. The judges were impressed by the care which has been taken to manage the whole water system in an ecologically benign way. Each eco-bungalow has its own rainwater catchment system, which collects the seasonal rains on all roof surfaces, feeds it through sand and gravel filters and then stores it in underground cisterns under each building. Sewage is avoided by the use of composting toilets; shower water and other grey water from the kitchens is filtered through a reed system and through garden plots using specialised vegetation to ensure that there is no pollution of the environment.


Much is made of the contribution which tourism makes to economic development globally. For this category, the judges looked for evidence of commendable and significant benefits to the local economy and local people through employment or local sourcing.

Winner: Village Ways, India and Ethiopia 11

Village Ways was recognised in 2009 as the Best Tour Operator for Cultural Engagement. This time the judges were impressed by their innovative and distinctive business model. In order to discourage out-migration and to create additional livelihoods in marginal rural areas, Village Ways has developed a business strategy based on Village Tourism Enterprises: tourists walk from village to village accompanied by local guides, eating locally grown and prepared meals and enjoying local traditional singing,

music and dancing. Walking from village to village, guests travel “like a local” and have the opportunity to interact with villagers; and if they wish, to participate in village activities. Village Ways has brought significant income to rural households struggling against poverty. The Village Ways Partnership11a is a social enterprise, established to support and benefit culturally rich, but economically poor rural communities through the development of viable village enterprises capable of generating both community and household benefits. The Partnership provides the technical expertise and the marketing and distribution support necessary for the development of a network of profitable village enterprises. The Founders’ Charter commits Village Ways to its social purpose: “developing responsible tourism in partnership with poorer rural communities, in order to sustain village life and culture, improve livelihoods in remote rural areas and reduce the need for outward 11b migration”. Village Ways seeks to create self-reliant local Village Tourism Enterprises (VTEs), each of which is sufficiently profitable to benefit the wider community by creating additional sources of community, household and individual income. Fundamental to Village Ways are the principles that good businesses, to be sustainable, must be profitable and that “all business units are profitable from the grass roots up”; this is ensured by providing a targeted route to market, offering travel experiences with a true essence of people and places.

Highly Commended: Basecamp Explorer Kenya12, Masai Mara, Kenya

Basecamp Explorer Kenya operates three camps in the Masai Mara ecosystem and they have won many awards for their work on wildlife and conservation. Basecamp Explorer was previously recognised in 2005 when it won the Protected Area category. This year, the judges wanted to recognise two particular initiatives which, in their opinion, are highly replicable: the Basecamp Masai Brand and the Community Managed Micro-Finance (CMMF) programme launched in 2010. The CMMF created 17 savings groups of women, doing beadwork, bee keeping and livestock fattening. The CMMF now involves some 400 women and the programme has been replicated for example in the Olonana project. The Basecamp Masai Brand creates livelihoods for 118 women; only recycled raw materials are used and the women themselves design and price the products. They have also been very active in the creation of the Mara Naboisho Conservancy highly commended in Best Destination this year.


The judges were looking for examples of campaigns where a problem had been identified by an individual or group, where they have been successful in establishing that there is an issue which needs to be addressed by the industry, in originating markets and/or destinations. In addition, industry practice needs to change. Successful campaigns are those where an issue is raised and the first stage of the campaign establishes that something must be done about it; then solutions are proposed and argued for, support is secured and practice changes. Both of the campaign organisations recognised here are small and have achieved success with very few resources.

Winner: people and places,13 UK

Highly commended in 2007 in the Best Volunteering category, they won this same category in 2009. The judges were impressed by their campaign for responsible volunteering; they have also been active in campaigning for child protection whilst running their small business. Their campaign has been funded entirely through their business. Making extensive use of the social media the two directors have given their time freely to fight for change in the industry. One of their independent referees wrote of them “setting the Gold Standard in Responsible Volunteering… people and places are not an NGO that preaches from the rooftops – they are a frontline organisation developing best practice by mixed channels of communication, discussion, sensitive listening, and, most of all by practical application of the concepts in the field.” Over the last few years practice in volunteering has improved, although there is still much to be done; people and places have been at the heart of that movement tirelessly to raise awareness and demand action, working with many partners in the UK and abroad.

Highly Commended: Snowcarbon,14 UK and the Alps

Snowcarbon was highly commended in 2010 in the Best for Low Carbon Transport & Technology category. Owned by two travel journalists, it campaigns to increase the sustainability of ski holidays by encouraging, enabling and inspiring skiers to travel to ski resorts by train instead of flying or driving. Snowcarbon’s journey planner provides an easy means for skiers to book their journey to the slopes and they have partnered with the Ski Club of Great Britain to promote rail travel to ski resorts. The introduction of the Journey Planner and its associated iframes on other ski websites coincided with a 125% increase in visits to Snowcarbon over 12 months. Their plane versus train film14a has so far been viewed over 950 times on Rail Europe, 3,700 on Ski Club and 5,700 on YouTube. They avoided ‘guilt mongering’ about flying (some skiers have no viable alternative but to fly), instead they concentrated on the advantages of rail travel and the idea of “taking the train whenever possible”.


The Best Destination for Responsible Tourism recognises a village, town, city, region or country that strongly promotes responsible tourism practices to tourists. Previous winners have included St Kilda in Scotland, Roros in Norway, Aspen in the USA, and New Zealand – each has something to offer that others might replicate.

Winner: Bonito,15 Brazil

Bonito was launched as a tourism destination when its natural beauty was revealed on Brazilian television in 1990; in 2012 it received 190,000 tourists. Bonito is located on a plateau in the Serra do Bodoquena, south of the Pantanal. Bonito is famous for its crystal clear waters, caves, mountain and forests with diverse wildlife to be found in a national park and ten private reserves. As tourists began to arrive several concerns emerged: there was fear that unregulated tourism could impact on the environment and particularly the crystal clear waters; questions were raised about the effects of heightened competition if each business sought to maximise its arrivals, and about the impact on Bonito’s reputation if tourists travelled 30 miles to a ranch only to find that it was full. The private sector businesses and the public authorities realised that tourism development in Bonito needed to be managed within the carrying capacity of the natural environment and the tourism facilities available. All the operators in Bonito use the same voucher system, known locally as “Vale Cash”. The voucher confers the services of a guide, the activity and the accommodation. The voucher system also ensures tax revenue for the municipality, and businesses are unable to under-report their business volumes. The judges were impressed by the voucher system and keen to recognise its contribution to ensuring the sustainability of the destination. As a successful tourism destination able to protect its environment and offer high quality tourism experiences, with a strong tax base, Bonito has good social indices and low crime.

Highly Commended: Nature Park & Glacier Region Kaunertal16, Austria

Kaunertal is the gateway to a glacier ski area, at 2,200-3,000 metres in the Tyrolean Alps. The judges were impressed by the work which has been done in Kaunertal to enable wheelchair users, people with reduced mobility, families with small children and strollers, to enjoy unrestricted barrier-free active vacations throughout the year. Kaunertal has been working for over 30 years to make the destination accessible and the work continues, with local entrepreneurs managing to create a unique and comprehensive Alpine product accessible to all - starting with appropriate accommodations, cable cars, local attractions and transport, and extending to public facilities and accessible travel adventure


facilities. The judges were impressed by the sustained commitment to make Kaunertal as accessible to people with limited mobility as it is to the able-bodied. Today, 12% of overnight stays are by people

Highly Commended: Mara Naibosho Conservancy,17 Masai Mara Kenya

The Mara Naboisho conservancy, Kenya’s first conservation social enterprise, was established in 2010 with, rather than for, the community. The Maasai word Naboisho means ‘coming together’ and the judges were impressed with the transparency of the partnership arrangements between the tourism investors and Maasai landowners. The purpose of the conservancy was to secure livelihoods for local people. Tourism was not the purpose although it is a means. Naboisho became the first conservancy to get a 15 year lease from landowners with rent payable monthly directly to the owners’ bank accounts. $700,000 is paid annually as land rent by the tourism partners regardless of their occupancy. All the camps in Naboisho employ between 85%-95% local Maasai staff and 95% of the conservancy staff are local Maasai community members. Naboisho has set up a community development programme, which provides a range of benefits including clean water points, clinics, solar energy, classrooms and scholarships for girls.


Communicating Responsible Tourism is one of the purposes of the Awards. We have previously recognised writing which has communicated the difference which Responsible Tourism can make to local communities and their environment; and to enhancing the quality the travellers’ and holiday makers’ experience. This year we decided to look for examples of photographs, which communicate the idea of Responsible Tourism. We invited Michael Pritchard, Director-General of The Royal Photographic Society since 2011, to join the judging panel. An active photographer with a particular interest in landscape and travel photography, Michael kindly provided a selection of top tips for those wanting to submit their photographs. We were looking for pictures that communicated something about the Responsible Tourism approach.

Highly Commended: Valleys Regional Park,18 Wales

There are other tourism ambassador programmes in the UK but the judges wanted to recognise the Valleys Community Tourism Ambassador Programme, for developing, what one of its independent referees described as “passion filled tourist destinations”. The referee continues “one can’t help but be moved by the warmth of the welcome and the feelings expressed by the Ambassadors when guiding visitors through the history and legends of the locations, including ancient castles and ruins, industrial heritage, modern activities and the natural beauty of the spectacular landscapes.” The Valleys Regional Park sits between the Brecon Beacons National Park and the coastal cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, home to one million people, a third of the Welsh population. Over 40 organisations including Natural Resources Wales, 12 Local authorities, Groundwork, wildlife trusts, Keep Wales Tidy and a host of others have come together to reverse the area’s recent history of economic downturn and neglect. Tourism has been used to contribute to community regeneration on a large scale.


The protection of children from labour and sexual exploitation in tourism is a serious problem, far too rarely mentioned in the press. This results in many holidaymakers lacking awareness about the issue. This year, we are trying to address this problem and this is why we have created the Best for Child Protection category. 30 different organisations were nominated for this category reflecting the many groups, businesses, international and local NGOs, which are actively tackling this scourge. Unfortunately the travel and tourism industry can unwittingly facilitate child trafficking, the sexual exploitation of children and other abuses.

Winner: Tui Nederland19

The judges were impressed by the scale of TUI Nederland’s response to the challenge of child protection and its holistic approach. They have developed policies and trained staff to identify child abuse, whether amongst the families for whom they provide holidays or abuse perpetrated by travellers in the destination. They have been working to protect children from abuse since 2002 when they signed the Child Protection Code with ECPAT Nederland. They have worked to embed child protection into their routine business operations and have extended this commitment through their network of supplier and partners. Realising that child sex tourism is silently growing in the Northeast of Brazil, TUI Nederland and its Brazil local partners, Childhood Brazil, RESPOSTA and Plan Brazil together with partners in the Netherlands (the Dutch tourism association ANVR, Travel Counsellors, Fly Brazil Nederland, Plan Nederland and ECPAT Nederland) launches a campaign to say “a collective ‘NO’ to child sex tourism in the Northeast of Brazil”. TUI Nederland has contributed over €100,000 since 2008; 80 adolescents from 14 to 17 years of age, studying in public schools, have been trained as ‘youth mobilizers’, for the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, reaching over 2,000 people. Their vocational training programme has 104 graduates of whom 39 were employed throughout 2012. (more can be read about TUI Nederland in the section “Overall Winner”).

Highly Commended: Friends International20 for ChildSafe Network in Cambodia, Lao, Thailand & Indonesia

Friends-International (FI) is a social enterprise working with children and their families by providing education and training to assist them in becoming productive members of their society in Cambodia, Lao, Thailand & Indonesia. It works with NGO partners in Honduras, the Philippines and Egypt. FI works with families to provide vulnerable children with access to informal education, preparing them for a school environment, then integrating them into their local public school system. They also offer vocational training to youths up to 24 years old. The judges were particularly impressed by FI’s ChildSafe Network, a child protection programme involving grassroots community members, the tourism industry, and travellers. The programme provides advice about how best to behave with children, hotlines for emergency action, and training for local community members on child protection and what to do to protect a child at risk. Their regional campaign, “seven tips”, has been translated into more than five languages advising on how to behave with children; on the detrimental effects of giving money to children or buying things from them; and on the scams all too often hidden behind orphanage and school visits, which have become a tourism commodity.

Highly Commended: Intrepid Travel21

The judges recognise the contribution which Intrepid has made since the 1990s in addressing child protection. When Intrepid first began advocating child protection matters and sharing information with tourism partners, there was resistance from some businesses who believed that these issues were not of concern to them – that, for example, paedophiles would not book through their agency, use their airline, or stay in their hotel. Intrepid’s response was to redouble its efforts, and hope that other companies would see the benefits that action on child protection would bring to their business and the communities where they operate. Leadership is vital if the industry is to face up to its responsibilities. Intrepid has been actively engaged in ensuring that in its recruitment processes and training, child protection is a priority. It also strongly supports charities and NGOs working to counter child abuse in the wide range of destinations in which it operates.


^ Highly commended winners for Best Photography for Responsible tourism category Top left photo by Tanushree Singh Right photo by Macy Anonuevo Bottom left photo by Christopher Willan We knew that to capture the idea of Responsible Tourism in a photograph was difficult, many of us have tried. Part of our purpose was to have a range of photographs which could be used to promote Responsible Tourism. We received 215 photographs and Michael shortlisted 10 for the judges to consider. There was a long debate about the merits of the shortlisted pictures which demonstrated convincingly that people see very different things in photographs, and in responsible tourism. We finally agreed on three which we wished to Highly Commend, none of which was thought by a substantial majority of the judges to communicate Responsible Tourism more than the others. There was therefore no overall winner. But there are three great Highly Commendeds.


One of the purposes of the World Responsible Tourism Awards, perhaps our primary purpose, is to spread the idea of Responsible Tourism. We want to engage those involved in travel and tourism around the world, whether producers or consumers, to debate about what makes for a better kind of tourism. In the words of the Cape Town Declaration22, it is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit”.

This year, a panel of judges selected five previous winners for the People’s Choice category. We chose from amongst recent winners to ensure that the practices and achievements for which they were recognised were still current as we also sought to present the diversity of Responsible Tourism. Battlesteads23 is an English hotel, pub and restaurant which demonstrates the full-range of Responsible Tourism practices and delivers an enhanced guest experience. 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking24 train and employ women as high-altitude guides and porters, a break from tradition in the male-dom25 inated Nepalese trekking industry. Whale Watch Kaikoura in New Zealand, is a Maori-owned whale watching operator which has demonstrated the ability, at scale, to offer a very high quality whale watching experience from energy-efficient craft, which have a very low impact on the marine environment. They provide ground-breaking interpretation which enables passengers to understand what is happening underwater. In India, Reality Tours & Travel26 uses tourism to raise awareness of the reality of slum life, good and bad, and to raise money from its business and its customers to assist the communities it works with.

Winner: Huilo Huilo,27 Chile

Huilo Huilo addresses all three pillars of sustainability. It works to conserve the forest and endangered species including the Patagonian Huemul and the Darwin Frog; it has worked with local people to ensure that those who used to make their living from logging and timber are now able to live off tourism and this biological reserve has been a catalyst to creating opportunities for local people to create their own businesses, fostering music and poetry workshops and the Ethno-Mapuche Route. Huilo Huilo won the Best for Conservation of Wildlife and Habitats category in 2012, the same year that Reality Tours and Travel was the overall winner. This demonstrates that the People’s Choice may well differ from that of the experts; that businesses which are not in significant UK outbound destinations can win; and that the People’s Choice also recognises the prowess of the Responsible Tourism businesses in the use of social media in gathering support across the world: Huilo Huilo got twice as many votes as Reality Tours and Travel which also got twice as many votes as the next business.

Footnotes: 1. 2. 3. This is a shorter version of the paper which will appear in Progress in Responsible Tourism Vol 3 (1) and which will be available on line at www. 4. 5. Best for the Local Economy 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 11a. 11b. 12.

13. 14. 14a. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28.


TUI Nederland was chosen as the overall winner because of the scale of its achievement in child protection, an area of Responsible Tourism which many businesses are reluctant to address. The judges were impressed by TUI Nederland’s willingness to campaign on the issue of child protection and its holistic approach. Increasing numbers of businesses are raising awareness amongst their staff and working with their suppliers to engage them in addressing all forms of child abuse. In 2011, TUI initiated, with the Ministry of Safety and Justice, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, the Dutch tourism association ANVR, and the NGOs ECPAT and Plan Nederland, a campaign at the three main Dutch airports to raise awareness about child protection issues. The campaign was targeted at departing passengers to raise their awareness of the prevalence of child sex tourism in Brazil, and to encourage them to report incidents if they suspected that children were being sexually exploited. The judges were impressed by the willingness of TUI Nederland to raise the issue with their clients and Dutch travellers in general and to urge them to take action, to report their suspicions. The campaign was launched in October 2012 and in six months, five of the reports contained sufficient details for a full investigation whilst three are being followed up in The Netherlands and two abroad. In 2013 the campaign has continued with adverts in destination booklets and 40,000 campaign folders in brochures. That is leadership. The judges felt that this approach was highly replicable and that operators were too rarely willing to raise this sensitive issue with travellers and holidaymakers. They hope that others would emulate TUI Nederland’s example. This is an abridged version of the paper which will be published on the Awards in Progress in Responsible Tourism Volume 3 Issue 1. The journal is freely available; it is open access and published on-line. Publication will be announced in Responsible Tourism News – if you are not already a subscriber, subscribe at If you are reading this and thinking that you know of other, or better, potential winners for the Awards, please nominate them next year; only those which are nominated and commit time and effort to completing the required paper work, can be winners.

LINKS: Published on license and with the permission of Goodfellow Publishers Ltd. The online Progress in Responsible Tourism journal and Harold Goodwin’s latest book Taking Responsibility for Tourism are both available from

SHORTLIST: Best for Responsible Wildlife Experiences - sponsored by Namibia Tourism African Impact, Southern and East Africa @African_Impact Global Vision International, worldwide @GVIWorld Great Plains Conservation, Botswana & Kenya @GreatPlainsCons Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays, Europe Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa @KwandweReserve Marine Dynamics Shark Tours, South Africa @Marine_Dynamics Mark Thornton Safaris, Tanzania Nam Nern Night Safari, north-eastern Laos Naankuse Foundation, Namibia @Naankuse Nutti Sámi Siida, Sweden Orangutan Odysseys, Sumatra & Indonesian Borneo Quest Overseas, South America & Africa @QuestOverseas ReefCI, Belize @reefci The Great Projects, Africa, Asia, South America & Europe @greatprojects Best for Water Conservation - sponsored by I Love New York Chepu Adventures Ecolodge, Patagonia @chepuadventures Chumbe Island Coral park, off Zanzibar/Tanzania @ChumbeIsland Nurture Lakeland, England @nurturelakeland Spier, South Africa @SpierWineFarm The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, Malaysia @frangilangkawi Best for the Local Economy - sponsored by Johannesburg Tourism Asian Oasis, Thailand Azafady, Madagascar Basecamp Explorer, Kenya Bloom Microventures, Vietnam Fundacion En Via, Mexico G Adventures / Planeterra Foundation, worldwide @PlaneterraCares Lapland Vuollerim, Swedish Lapland @laplandvlm Sumak Sustainable Travel, Latin America @SumakTravel Sun International, Zambia @MillionThrills The Travel Foundation for the Jungle Jams project, Mexico @travelTF Village Ways, India & Ethiopia @villageways Best for Responsible Tourism Campaigning - sponsored by Caribbean Tourism Organisation Nurture Lakeland, England @nurturelakeland People & Places, worldwide @pandpvolunteer Snowcarbon, The Alps @snowcarbon The Travel Foundation, worldwide @travelTF Tourism Concern, worldwide @tourismconcern Best Destination for Responsible Tourism - sponsored by Jersey Tourism Bonito, Brazil Bhutan @tourismbhutan Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, Ireland @BurrenGeopark Nature Park & Glacier Region Kaunertal, Austria Lithuania Loop Head Peninsula, Ireland @LoopHeadTourism Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya @MaraNaboisho Valleys Regional Park, Wales @VRPvalleys Best for Child Protection - sponsored by Visit Norway Friends International for ChildSafe Network, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand & Indonesia @Friends_ Intl Intrepid Travel, worldwide @intrepid_travel Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa @KwandweReserve Ol Tukai Lodge, Kenya @Ol_Tukai_Lodge People and Places, worldwide @pandpvolunteer The Code, worldwide @TheCodeOrg Thomas Cook Group plc, worldwide @ThomasCookUK TUI Nederland, Brazil @Arke World Vision for Project Childhood Prevention Pillar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand & Vietnam @ childsafetravel Best Photography for RT - sponsored by Lithuania Tourism Alicia Ng Cheryl Mvula Christopher Tafuri Christopher Willan Francis Minien Kelly Little Macy Anonuevo Michael Bader Randy Kerr Tanushree Singh

Words by: Carole Favre Edited by: Justin Francis and Krissy Roe Designed by: Lisa Joanes Printed by Newspaper Club Images: Reprinted with the permission of the respective copyright holders

People’s Choice - sponsored by Destination British Columbia Whale Watch Kaikoura, New Zealand @WWKaikoura Reality Tours & Travel, India @RTT_Mumbai Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile @RB_HuiloHuilo Battlesteads Hotels, England @Battlesteads 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, Nepal


Congratulations from Oman... Beauty has an address The Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism has cemented its commitment to responsible tourism development by becoming the proud headline sponsor of the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. We would like to congratulate the winners of these prestigious awards which are judged against strict criteria, and all those who have been shortlisted as they all deserve recognition for their dedication to responsible tourism.

For more information on Oman please contact: Oman Ministry of Tourism UK & Ireland Representative OďŹƒce Tel: 0208 877 4524 | Email: | Visit: Study:

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