Responsible Travel Awards headline sponsor announced

Responsible Travel Awards Oman

The Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism has become the headline sponsor of the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards.

Already a leading light in the responsible tourism industry, the move strengthens the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism’s link with one of the biggest responsible tourism awards globally. Since 2010 the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism has sponsored a total of 11 categories in the awards.

Now in their 10th year, the World Responsible Tourism Awards were founded in 2004 to celebrate the most inspiring stories in responsible tourism. Responsible Travel believes that innovation can happen anywhere, from the smallest niche company to the largest mainstream multinational. This is reflected not only in the award winners, but in the diversity of the category sponsors.

The Awards are free for organisations to both nominate and enter, entrants are asked to complete questionnaires which are then reviewed by a panel of judges, chaired by Professor Harold Goodwin, ICRETH, Leeds Metropolitan University. The panel of judges includes Justin Francis – Managing Director and founder of responsibletravel.com, Dr Rebecca Hawkins – Considerate Hoteliers Association, Debbie Hindle – Managing Director, Four BGB and John de Vial – Director, ABTA.

Justin Francis, founder of the World Responsible Tourism Awards comments:

I'm really thrilled that our long term partner, the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism, has now become our headline sponsor. We're delighted to have a sponsor that has been so active in responsible tourism to help us celebrate the awards' 10th anniversary. We look forward to working with them to find the best of the best in responsible tourism and to showcase the winners to world.

Since 2003, when it adopted the UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Principles, the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism has been strengthening its support of responsible tourism. In 2005, together with the UNWTO and UNESCO, it organised the conference of Built Environments for Sustainable Tourism (BEST) and in 2010 it published its own policy for sustainable tourism, hosted the 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations.

Her Excellency, Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary for Tourism for the Sultanate of Oman, is hopeful their support of the awards will inspire local responsible tourism projects globally. She says, “The Sultanate of Oman supports the continued development of sustainable tourism initiatives across the world. Initiatives that are firmly ground in the protection of the natural world and its local communities and that are aligned to the Sultanate’s historical and traditional beliefs. By taking this small step in supporting these global awards we hope that we can inspire a range of new and exciting local projects”

In the last few years the Sultanate of Oman as committed to:

• Restore its heritage sites, in particular its forts and castles, creating opportunities for local communities to generate income from heritage tourism
• The 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, held in the Sultunate of Oman in 2010, was the first international responsible tourism conference to be held in Arabia
• Oman holidays on responsibletravel.com feature traditional desert camps owned and run by local communities, and tours led by local guides, supporting local businesses
• Other responsible tourism projects in the Sultanate of Oman include: The Haya Water’s Al Ansab Wetland - an outstanding wildlife area and a centre for environmental education, the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort & Spa which has installed an innovative reed bed water treatment system, which creates peat used to grow herbs and vegetables and the Shangri-La Al Jissah Resort & Spa's Turtle Care Project which aims to protect the Hawksbill & Green turtles which visit its beaches

Nominate a tourism company for the World Responsible Tourism Awards at www.worldresponsibletourismawards.com/nominations

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