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The search for the world’s most enduring and inspirational examples of responsible tourism in action has begun. Entries are now being accepted into five categories spanning issues across the tourism industry. This year the event is supported by the Belize Tourism Board.
The announcement of the 2016 winners, at World Travel Market London, will form part of the celebrations marking 10 years of World Responsible Tourism Day – the largest event for responsible tourism action globally. Furthermore, this year marks 20 years of the global responsible tourism movement, with the South African government publishing a tourism white paper in 1996 putting responsibility at the centre of its strategy.
New categories for 2016 include the ‘Best responsible tourism campaign’ which aims to celebrate the most successful marketing or advocacy campaigns in encouraging and promoting a more responsible style of travel.
Justin Francis, founder of the Awards and managing director of organisers Responsible Travel said, “I am truly excited by what we will discover through the World Responsible Tourism Awards this year.
The organisations, initiatives and businesses we uncover each year have the power to shape the future of tourism, to be catalysts for change in an industry which will have a huge impact on global climate and development.
”I want to encourage any tourism business or organisation around the world, big or small, to submit an entry. We want to hear your story”.
The importance of the Awards in assessing how far responsible tourism has developed, and how much has been achieved in the last 10 years is key for chair of the judging panel, Professor Harold Goodwin of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism. “Through the Awards winners every year we see the standard of what is being achieved by people taking responsibility for tourism getting higher and higher,” he says. “And every year we see more and more countries represented in our entries.
“Tourism, if sold, enjoyed and organised responsibly is of global importance; something that has been recognised in the new Sustainable Development Goals, and our winners this year will set the standard to which all tourism businesses should aspire.”
Awards Judge Simon Press, senior exhibition director for World Travel Market London, hosts of World Responsible Tourism Day says, “The World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM London are a central pillar of the success of World Responsible Tourism Day.
“The awards winners and shortlisted companies act as a benchmark and inspiration for what the global travel and tourism industry can achieve in responsible tourism practice.”
Headline sponsor, the Belize Tourism Board states; “Belize aims to be a world leader in sustainable and responsible tourism. We understand that the world’s beautiful and fragile natural and cultural heritage must be protected if we want to be able to enjoy it in years to come. We have developed a National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan that stipulates how to strategically grow tourism in a sustainable manner. This is why this sponsorship with responsible tourism is one step forward in that direction. We are proud to work with businesses and organisations worldwide who are the driving force for the future of tourism.”
To submit an entry into the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards go to http://www.responsibletravel.com/awards/submissions