Native Hotels is Tourism for Tomorrow finalist

Native Hotels help make tourism accessible for all

Native Hotels help make tourism accessible for all

A group which promotes hotels which are accessible to people with disabilities is one of the finalists of the 2017 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

Set up by two journalists and with a network operating around the Mediterranean, Native Hotels promote accessible tourism, paying particular attention to ensuring accessible communication. Guests have access to vibrating watches with alerts and messages for deaf customers, while signage packs and door signs in Braille help the visually impaired navigate through the hotel, its rooms and bathrooms.

They have recently launched a new online platform for the travel industry, which Native says is the only to offer total accessibility, and allows users with any kind of disability to use a computer to make their holiday choices. It can be used by anyone, even if they are unable to see the screen, touch the keyboard or speak to the computer - so long as a person can blow onto a microphone, they can use the platform. For tourism to ensure it delivers its benefits to as many people as possible, everyone needs to be able to discover what is within their reach. Native’s new platform brings that world closer for many more.

Native are one of 15 Finalists for the 2017 Awards in the categories: Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation and People. The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, now in its 13th year, showcases business practices of the highest standards that balance the needs of ‘people, planet and profits’ within our sector. The 2017 Awards fall within the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, all 15 Finalists illustrate great commitment to “support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals”, as the International Year calls for.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said, “I am extremely pleased to once again see such inspiring business leadership amongst this year’s Finalists. This year saw a 36% rise of applications, which shows not only that more and more Travel & Tourism companies are looking to operate sustainably but also an increased interest to share company best practices and thereby educate peers and governments.

“As the Travel & Tourism sector continues to grow, WTTC currently estimates global Travel & Tourism to have grown by 3.1% in 2016, we have to ensure we safeguard the environment, local communities and cultural heritage, and our Awards programme calls on tourism businesses to showcase just that.”

Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, 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.”

The Finalists of the 2017 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which is Headline sponsored by AIG Travel for the second year, are:

Community Award Finalists, whose organisations are committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage:

Cinnamon Wild Yala, Sri Lanka G Adventures, Canada Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Destination Award Finalists, who show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations:

Botswana Tourism Organisation, Botswana City of Bydgoszcz, Poland Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, Finland

Environment Award Finalists, whose organisations and companies achieved environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change, and green operations:

Biosphere Expeditions, UK Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil Misool, Indonesia

Innovation Award Finalists, who provided innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced by Travel & Tourism in implementing sustainability in practice:

NATIVE Hotels and Accessible Tourism, Spain Soel Yachts, Netherlands The Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative led by the Nature Conservancy, USA

People Award Finalists, who are dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future:

Desert & Delta Safaris, Botswana STREETS International, Vietnam The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI), China

Last year’s winner of the People Award - the Youth Career Initiative - is also a beneficiary of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation which helps fund the programme providing employability skills training to disadvantaged young people around the world by partnering with global hotel groups.

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Chair, said: “Now more than ever it’s important to highlight how tourism positively connects people across the planet and brings great social and economic benefits to destinations. The 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Award Finalists demonstrate a commitment to long term vision in preference to short term gains and provide inspiring examples of responsible leadership in their businesses. The true value of the awards is the insight and learning which can be shared across the industry and I’m looking forward to hearing their stories during the WTTC Global Summit in April 2017.” The winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony taking place in Bangkok, Thailand on 26 April during WTTC’s Global Summit.

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