Four international organisations were recognised for their work in leading sustainable tourism initiatives in the glittering Tourism for Tomorrow Awards ceremony, held on Tuesday night during the 13th annual World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit.
“The world is a complex place and travel and tourism is a complex industry. Travel and tourism is a huge potential for good on this planet; it delivers economic benefits in the most remote places. It’s not the answer to the world’s problems, but it can play a huge role in making the world a better place,” Costas Christ, Founder and CEO, Beyond Green Travel LLC and Chairman of the Awards said at the ceremony.
The Destination Stewardship award was won by Peaks of the Balkans –Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. This award is bestowed on organisations that have implemented a sustainable tourism programme at a destination level. This incorporates social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits, as well as engagement amongst multiple stakeholders. Robin Tauck, Co-owner Tauck, Inc, and President, R. Tauck & Partners, presented the award.
The second award of the night, the Conservation Award, was won by &Beyond, South Africa. Recognising organisations that have made a direct, tangible contribution to the preservation of nature, this Award includes companies that help protect wildlife, support the conservation of biodiversity and conserve and extend natural habitats.
“This award belongs to the 1,800 ‘&Beyonders’ who lie behind every one of our success stories. Conservation lies at heart of the &Beyond DNA. For us this is just the beginning, we aim to remain at forefront and act as an industry torchbearer,” a representative of &Beyond said at the ceremony. He added that the first ever donation of rhino from a private company to a Government entity would be taking place the following day; &Beyond will present a number of rehabilitated rhino from its reserves to the President of Botswana. “What better reason can there be to travel?” the representative asked the packed Emirates Palace auditorium. The award was presented by Khalid Al Zarooni, Senior Vice-President, CBG banking unit, Emirates NBD.
The third category is the Community Benefit Award, and was won by Ten Knots Development Corporation/El Nido Resorts, the Philippines. This Award recognises companies and organisations whose actions directly benefit local people, support community development and also enhance cultural heritage. A total of 90% of the staff at the winning company are from the local area. It actively supports staff development, for example providing micro-finance support to its staff; and it has always believed in the wisdom of local partnership.
“The story began 30 years ago when we opened with a vision of achieving harmony with nature and the local community. This award is a tribute to my forbears who had a vision – it was so sustainable that it’s lasted until today. We have been witness to some of the enormous wealth of our planet here in Abu Dhabi and how to unlock that wealth; sustainable tourism is showing us how to realise that wealth,” Mariglo, head of environmental initiatives at the company said at the ceremony. Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman, presented the award.
The Global Tourism Business Award was won by Air New Zealand, New Zealand. Nominees in this category represent international companies with a minimum 500 employees and eight tourism enterprises, with marked achievements that combine corporate success with sustainable tourism practices and principles. In the past eight years, the company has realised a 15% reduction in carbon emissions. This has been achieved by investing in a more fuel efficient fleet and being involved in the development of sustainable aircraft. Julia Kemp, Director, Leisure, Sales and Partnerships, Avis Budget Group, presented the award.
David Scowsill, President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council, applauded the Awards’ judges at the ceremony. He then honoured Costas Christ as a leading sustainable tourism expert in the industry. Dr Michael Frenzel, Chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council, Chairman of the supervisory board, TUI Deutschland AG and TUlfly GmbH presented a commemorative plaque to Christ.
The World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit was held on the 9th and 10th April 2013, at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi. Keynote speakers included His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and former US President Bill Clinton.