2017 is a transition year. responsibletravel.com has decided to pursue other priorities and to pioneer creative projects to deliver change through our business; our activism and Trip for a Trip scheme. They are pleased that WTM London has decided to continue with the global Awards and that the others in the family in Africa, India and Ireland. responsibletravel.com ran the Awards from 2004-2016, thirteen years during which we saw the Responsible Tourism movement grow. The bar rose every year as more and more businesses, destinations and tourism organisations, saw that there were issues locally – and some like plastic and greenhouse gas emissions globally – that they could address through tourism. Over those thirteen years, the judges witnessed a remarkable blossoming of examples of people using tourism to make a better world across a broad agenda for change stretching from waste and carbon emissions to disability and child protection.
2017 was designated the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) coming up to two years old we decided this year to challenge the sector to report their progress against one or more of the SDGs. As we said when we announced the Awards: “The judges are looking to recognise a range of approaches to reporting impact and communicating it to consumers, local people and governments. “
Through the Awards this year at WTM London we want to recognise those who are making a difference. The change makers, those leading the way to make tourism more sustainable by taking responsibility for driving down the negative impacts of tourism and increasing the positive ones. Since 2004 we have seen some very innovative and transparent ways of reporting impacts, we have moved beyond Awarding for outputs, the funding of an initiative. This year we sought examples where people were able to report on the outcomes of their initiatives, the number of children completing a stage of education, and on the impacts, the difference that makes to their livelihoods.
Many submissions reported against a wide range of SDGs way beyond those which specifically mention tourism (SDGs 8, 12 &14). The Awards this year focus on the SDGs but they will be announced in the following categories, Best for Accommodation, Best for Carbon Reduction, Best for Communication, Best Community Initiative, Best for Poverty Reduction and Best Tour Operator.
The 12 finalists now need to wait until the Awards ceremony at World Travel Market London to discover who this year’s chosen leaders are.
The 2017 finalists are:
- Chobe Game Lodge
- Crystal Creek Meadows
- Green Tourism Business Scheme
- Ol Pejeta
- Marine Dynamics
- Sapa o Chau
- Transfrontier Parks Destinations
- TUI Cruises
- Village Ways
We shall, as usual, be publishing the judges’ reasons at the same time as the Awards are presented at WTM London on November 8th.
This year there will be an opportunity to hear more about the ways some of the finalists are reporting against the SDGs in panel sessions in South Gallery 7 & 8 from 14:00 -17:00.