Who are all the gold and silver winners of the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016?

WRTD Awards Winners
World Travel Market 2016, ExCeL London – World Responsible Tourism Awards: Justin Francis, World Responsible Tourism Awards, Karen Bevans, Belize Tourism Board

This year the World Responsible Tourism Awards was reduced to five categories, with gold and silver winners in each category. The full list of 2016 winners is as follows:

Joint-Overall Winners:

Lemon Tree Hotels

Tren Ecuador

Best Accommodation for Responsible Employment

the-lemon-tree-hotel-company-autismGold:  Lemon Tree Hotels, India

The judges said that: “The third largest hotel chain in India, Lemon Tree Hotels are recognised for creating a socially inclusive work environment, employing people with disabilities and those from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The company ethos is that people with disabilities must be provided the same opportunities as others to realize their full potential. Currently 25% of its staff ‘opportunity deprived Indians’ and they hope to increase this to 49% in the next 5 years. The judges are delighted to see a large major successful corporate with progressive employment practices at the heart of the business.”

Read our interview with Lemon Tree Hotels or check out our Essential Resources for Accessible Tourism.

Silver:  Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, South Africa. (Read our interview with Bushmans Kloof.)

Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation

sam-veasna-logoGold:  Sam Veasna Center, Cambodia

The judges said they recognise the Sam Veasna Center for its highly replicable approach, whereby rural communities are trained in ecotourism, and contributions to community development funds are tied to tourist sightings of endangered species, creating an incentive to protect habitats and not to hunt. Overall Sam Veasna Center’s wildlife tours to eight community ecotourism sites have generated over two hundred thousand dollars in income for rural communities, over one hundred thousand dollars to wildlife conservation activities, including nest protection for endangered large birds, and over sixty thousand dollars in conservation contributions to community development funds. (Read our interview with Sam Veasna.)

Silver: Misool Eco Resort, Indonesia. (Read our interview)

Silver: Burj Al Arab Aquarium, Dubai. (Read our interview)

Silver: East African Safari & Touring Co., Tanzania. (Read our interview)

Best Innovation by a Tour Operator

elevate-destinations-bikingGold: Elevate Destinations 

The judges were impressed by Elevate Destinations “Buy a Trip, Give a Trip” innovation, which using proceeds from clients payments, Elevate gives groups of children in the developing world a daytrip to access and experience the natural and cultural heritage of their homes. They have organised 13 trips in 12 destinations for 500 disadvantaged young people and the judges recognise that this is a simple, scalable idea, and one which democratises the travel experience. They hope that many more tour operators will follow their lead. (Read our interview with Elevate Destinations.)

Silver: Viaggi Solidali, Italy. Read our interview with Viaggi Solidali or check out our tips for how tourism can work with refugees.

Best for Poverty Reduction & Inclusion

tren ecuadorGold: Tren Ecuador, Ecuador

The judges were impressed by the way in which Tren Ecuador has reversed the traditional approach of heritage and luxury train travel, a model where the guests remain cocooned on the train, isolated for the places they pass through. They instead have created shared value with 23 station-cafes, 14 artisanal squares, 13 local museums, 2 lodges, 9 folklore and historical recreation groups and several community-based tourism operations – all included as part of a tourist’s journey. The result is a family of associated enterprises which creates 5000 livelihoods for people in local communities along the tracks. (Read our interview with Tren Ecuador.)

Silver: Sapa O’Chau, Vietnam. (Read our interview)

Silver: !Xaus Lodge, South Africa. (Read our interview)

Best Responsible Tourism Campaign

ChildSafe MovementGold: Friends International – Childsafe Movement

The judges were impressed by how the Childsafe Movement has addressed a broad range of issues including child sexual abuse, trafficking, child labour, begging and unnecessary institutionalization among others and more recently orphanage tourism and voluntourism. Praised for its holistic approach and its growth since its Silver at these awards in 2013, the movement now works in 18 countries and over 9,000 children have received support directly from Childsafe. The judges hope this award will encourage still more individuals, destinations and businesses to engage with the ChildSafe Movement. Read our interview with ChildSafe or see our Special Focus on Orphanage Volunteering

Silver: World Cetacean Alliance, UK. (Read our interview)

Travindy is an independent website featuring news and opinion on all issues to do with tourism and sustainability. Written primarily for an industry audience, our aim is to support the transformation of the sector into one that is regenerative, restorative and fully inclusive.

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