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A quick reminder that there's only one week left to nominate tourism organisations for the World Responsible Tourism Awards. Set up in 2004, the award winners are announced each year at World Travel Market, during Responsible Tourism Day. Last year's winners include Reality Tours and Travel, Soria Moria Boutique Hotel, Song Saa Private Island and Green Tomato Cars. We know there are heaps of hotels and accommodations out there that more than qualify and so hope to see some in the list of 2013's winners.
Here's a quick overview of the categories you can nominate tourism organisations for:
Best for Water Conservation
This is for organisations that reduce their own water consumption levels and/ or inform tourists of ways they can save water on holidays. Water conservation is about using alternative water sources for irrigation, rainwater or treated water for toilet flushing, installing low flow showerheads and water-saving fittings, or training staff to use water more efficiently. The best organisations are those that share the benefits of their initiatives with their local communities.
Best for Child Protection
This is for organisations that help prevent child abuse, work to increase child protection or contribute to child protection in some way. This also includes organisations that make efforts to increase access to a proper education.
Best for Responsible Tourism Campaigning
Sometimes, tourism developments create very negative effects on the environment and deteriorate the quality of life of local communities too. This category is all about finding those organisations that help to ensure that responsible tourism is paramount. For example, you can nominate a community group fighting against irresponsible tourism developments in their village or town. The potential winner could also be a community trying to eliminate rubbish generated by tourism activities or an organisation concerned with addressing children abuse in orphanages visited by tourists, or an individual actively working to protect wildlife in touristic areas.
Best for Responsible Wildlife Experiences
This category is on the look out for organisations that manage to both protect wildlife and provide great experiences for holidaymakers. For example you could nominate a hotel, safari camp or eco lodge that protects its local environment and educates guests about the importance of the wildlife in the region.
Best destination for Responsible Tourism
Destinations can promote holidays that supplement farm incomes to ensure young people have job opportunities in remote rural areas; they can invest in maintaining valuable landscapes and heritage sites; they can also support small entrepreneurs set up businesses focused on promoting local historical heritage, making tourists discover local food or introducing tourists to nature by using carbon-free transports. This category is looking for nominations of the most proactive destinations when it comes to these activities throughout the world.
Best for the Local Economy
This category is on the look out for organisations that have made a real impact on poverty reduction and job creation, resulting in improving the standard of living of the communities where they operate. Positive action might also be evidenced through initiatives that involve sourcing local materials, food and drinks or craft.
Best Photography for Responsible Tourism
Photos that portray and celebrate excellent responsible tourism practice is what this category is all about. For example, you could submit a photo of tourists engaged in helping local communities cleaning a beach, or participating in a tour taking you to less tourists areas and led by a local guide or taking part in activities that involve members of the community (e.g. cooking lessons, market tours). You could also submit pictures showing how hotels, attractions or other tourism organisations implement environmentally-friendly initiatives (e.g. recycling, building with local material) or economic and socially driven projects.