National Geographic Traveller (UK) is the exclusive media partner for the People’s Choice category in the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015. Below we reveal why World Animal Protection has won our vote, and highlight the rest of the well-deserved winners
People’s Choice in Responsible Tourism in association with National Geographic Traveller (UK), sponsored by the Catalan Tourist Board
Winner: World Animal Protection
When Responsible Travel founded the World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM, their aim was to surprise and inspire the tourism industry with what is possible to achieve through responsible tourism. The People’s Choice in Responsible Tourism recognises nine previous Awards’ winners, all of whom have been judged to be leading the industry, inspiring examples for the other tourism organisations and tour operators to follow. The People’s Choice Award looks to find which of these leading organisations has inspired the travelling public and National Geographic Traveller (UK)’s readers voted in force for World Animal Protection – a UK NGO whose ‘Compassionate Travel’ campaign has successfully lobbied tour operators to remove elephant trekking, elephant shows and other abusive animal attractions from their itineraries. They also educate tourists, and by winning this award have shown they have won over the people who can really make change happen.
Overall winner: LooLa Adventure Resort, Bintan, Indonesia
LooLa sells a package in Singapore that includes accommodation, activities and food, but the staff operate their own shop and sell drinks, extra menus, massage, wake-boarding and more. Guests are encouraged to pay a bit extra to participate in community projects such as the building beds, roads, and waste water processing systems.
Best Animal Welfare Initiative supported by the Born Free Foundation
Gold winners: Campaign Against Canned Hunting & Hetta Huskies
The Campaign Against Canned Hunting raises aising awareness of the commercial exploitation of lions and has found that travel agents, tour operators and volunteering agencies discourage clients from visitng such facilities when they know the truth. Hetta Huskies based in Finland carry some 4,000 clients per year at their husky sled dog farm, which is recognised for its high standards of sled dog welfare practised.
Silver winners: Lotus Travel & the Donkey Sanctuary
Best for Beach Tourism sponsored by Visit Jersey
Gold winners: LooLa Adventure Resort and Soneva Fushi
Soneva Fushi is a luxury resort in the Maldives with significant success in reducing its carbon footprint and benefitting local people. LooLa, an adventure resort in Bintan catering for family and educational groups, has rainwater collection systems, green aircon and waste water gardens.
Silver winners: andBeyond and Turtle Bay Beach Club
Best Cultural Heritage Attraction sponsored by Wightlink
Gold winner: Loop Head Peninsula, Ireland
Loop Head Peninsula shares local people’s heritage with tourists for the benefit of both, with sites of interest identified through a heritage audit undertaken by local people.
Silver winners: Cnoc Suain and Bushmans Kloof
Best Destination for Responsible Tourism sponsored by Visit Norway
Gold winner: Gansbaai, South Africa
Two hours from Cape Town in the Overberg, Gansbaai is home to a cluster of responsible tourism businesses – and these businesses have come together, cooperating with each other and the local authority to make Gansbaai a better place to live for local people.
Silver winners: Aruba and Cyprus
Best Accommodation for Disability Access sponsored by Enable Holidays
Gold winners: Endeavour Safaris and Scandic Hotels
Running mobile tented safari camps in southern Africa, Endeavour Safaris demonstrate that it is possible to enable people with a wide variety of disabilities to enjoy the same safari experience as their families and friends. With specially-adapted mobile camps, Endeavour Safaris prove that tourism accommodations, even in the wildest of environments, can be enjoyed by nearly all tourists, no matter what their needs. Scandic Hotels are applauded for their top-down, all-encompassing approach to inclusivity, integrating accessibility into all parts of their hotel business from floor to board level.
Silver winner: RuralSuite Hotel Apartamentos
Best for Engaging People & Culture sponsored by Audley Travel
Gold winner: Urban Adventures
Part of Intrepid and established in 2009 Urban Adventures offers an alternative to the standard city tour offering the opportunity to visit local neighbourhoods with a passionate, knowledgeable, enthusiastic local guide or friend, not only supporting local entrepreneurs, but empowering them too.
Silver winners: Felin Talgarth Mill, Connemara Wild Escapes
Best Hotel for Local Sourcing sponsored by Colorado Tourism Office
Gold winner: Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge
By offering guests local experiences such as cooking and craft classes, and starting up an organic food basket scheme with deliveries in Agadir and neighbouring villages, Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge has successfully developed wide a range of economic activities with the local Berber communities to their mutual advantage.
Silver winners: Shangri La’s Villingili Resort & Spa and Matava, Fiji
Best Innovation for Carbon Reduction sponsored by Visit Gozo
Gold winner: TUI UK & Ireland
By working with staff to change behaviour and with investment in new technology TUI UK and Ireland have achieved a 40% reduction in carbon emissions in their offices between 2010 and 2014.
Silver winners: Airport Authority Hong Kong and North Sailing
Best for Poverty Reduction sponsored by the Tobago House of Assembly
Gold winner: Agri Tourism Development Company Pvt Ltd
Recognising that farm incomes in India have become stagnant in recent years, the Agri Tourism Development Company has worked with 750 farmers in 218 locations across the state of Maharashtra to empower them to diversify into tourism. These farmers are now offering packages which give families in India’s urban areas the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of activities from animal feeding and farm walks to festivals, folk dancing and music.
Silver winners: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, OneSeed Expeditions and Uakari Floating Lodge
Best Responsible Tourism Blog sponsored by Fair Trade Tourism
Gold winner: Uncornered Market
rue to their motto ‘driven by curiosity, guided by respect’ Uncornered Market is a blog with a goal to create a movement of respectful travellers. People, not just place are always at the centre of its content, dispelling fears of the unknown and assuring readers that travel can be a force for good.
Silver winner: Travel for Wildlife
Best Sea or River Cruise
Gold winner: Ullswater Steamers
Since 2011 Ullswater Steamers have begun to monitor their performance in reducing water and carbon emissions, and work with other local public transport providers, and the Lake District national park, to encourage people out of cars.
Best for Wildlife Conservation sponsored by the Florida Keys & Key West Tourist Development Council
Gold winner: Honko Mangrove Conservation & Education
Based in the southwest of Madagascar, Honko is working with coastal communities to improve livelihoods by restoring and protecting the mangrove environments on which they are dependent. Honko empowers these communities to take charge of their mangrove resources and use them to secure sustainable and resilient livelihoods.
Silver winners: Coral Cay Conservation, North Island Seychelles and Tiger Trails Jungle Lodge