This year, in the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Awards have focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals reflecting the Awards’ position as the leading scheme for responsible tourism in the world.
On the list of finalists this year is a game lodge in Botswana, a fynbos protected area in South Africa, a social enterprise in Vietnam, a tour operator working to benefit local communities in Limpopo, a European city, a group of guest cottages in Kangaroo Valley in Australia and a company enabling travellers to walk from village to village in rural India. The 12 finalists now need to wait until the Awards ceremony at WTM London to discover who this year’s chosen leaders are.
Six “Leaders in Demonstrating Responsible Tourism Impact” will be announced at WTM London on World Responsible Tourism Day. They will each represent the company, organisation or destination that the judges consider has shown the most significant impact across five categories, each of which is tied to one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
For 2017, these categories are: Best for Carbon Reduction, Best for Accommodation, Best Community Initiative, Best for Communication, Best Tour Operator, and Best for Poverty Reduction.
2017 is the first time that the awards have been run by WTM, which takes over from responsibletravel.com after thirteen successful years. This year, the awards will be presented by Tanya Beckett, who presents Talking Business on the BBC News Channel.
Commenting on the standard of the finalists, Chair of Judges, Emeritus Professor Harold Goodwin said:
“This year we have discovered some new and innovative approaches to demonstrating the contributions which tourism makes to sustainable development.
“I was chair of the judges for the 13 years of the World Responsible Tourism Awards organised by responsibletravel.com. When they decided to cease running the Awards I was delighted that WTM London stepped up to continue them.
“This is a major year of change with a new organiser and a focus in the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development on the UN’S Sustainable Development Goals – we shall be publishing some great examples of how businesses have met the new challenge of transparently reporting their impacts and communicating them to stakeholders”.
The winners will be announced on Wednesday 8th November 2017 at a ceremony at WTM London, where over 500 tourism professionals, tourism ministers and media representatives are expected to attend.
WTM London, Senior Exhibition Director, and fellow judge Simon Press said: “Once again the World Responsible Tourism Awards will be a key part of the opening of World Responsible Tourism Day at WTM London. The stories of the winners andtheir achievements act as a benchmark and inspiration for what the global travel and tourism industry can achieve in responsible tourism practice.”
The WTM Responsible Tourism Day – Opening and Awards takes place from 11:00-13:00 on 8 November in WTM Global Stage – AS1050
The full list of 2017 finalists is:
* Chobe Game Lodge
* Crystal Creek Meadows
* Green Tourism Business Scheme
* Ol Pejeta
* Marine Dynamics
* Sapa o Chau
* Transfrontier Parks Destinations
* TUI Cruises
* Village Ways