The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced the Finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2017, who this year range from individual ecolodges to entire countries. They work in cities and in the most remote wilderness, offering volunteer trips or helping to prepare street children to work in hospitality. We will be profiling each one of the fifteen Finalists over this and the following two newsletters, before announcing the Winners at the annual WTTC summit in April.
Each of the five categories has three Finalists, who are all now put forward to the next stage of the judging process, where they will receive on site visits from an expert in sustainable tourism, who will assess their credentials in practice compared to their original written application.
Awards Lead Judge and Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, Graham Miller said the 2017 Finalists illustrate how widespread the notion of sustainable tourism has become.
“While sustainability used to be focused around the preservation of nature, this year, the organisation’s missions are, amongst other things, centred around innovative value creation for societies, travel technology for those with accessibility needs, and empowerment of the young workforce,” Miller said.
Each of the five categories has three Finalists, who are all now put forward to the next stage of the judging process, where they will receive onsite visits from an expert in sustainable tourism, who will assess their credentials in practice compared to their original written application.
The Finalists this year are: For the Community Award, which is given to those companies whose work has done most to improve the lives of local people in the locations where it operates, the Finalists are Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon Wild Yala, small group tour company G Adventures, and the Kenyan conservancy Ol Pejeta.
For the Destination Award, presented for exceptional stewardship at destination level be it a country, region, state, town, or national park, this year’s Finalists are the Botswana Tourism Organisation, the Polish city of Bydgoszcz, and Finland’s oldest national park, Pallas National Park.
The Environment Award recognises companies or organisations who have utilised tourism to make significant improvements to the natural environment. The Finalists this year are the conservation volunteer company Biosphere Expeditions, the Brazilian Caiman Ecological Refuge, and the ecoresort Misool from Indonesia.
The Innovation Award is given each year for a project that has shown the most ground-breaking innovation at addressing an environmental or social challenge where tourism can play a significant role. For 2017, the Finalists are the Dutch based Soel Yachts, Spain’s Native Hotels and The Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative led by the Nature Conservancy, based in the USA.