Several hotels around the world have been long-listed in the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards.
The 2016 longlist for the World Responsible Tourism Awards  at WTM London sponsored by the Belize Tourism Board includes 75 organisations from 30 countries worldwide. The applicants which include ITP’s youth employability programme the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) make up this year’s collection of some of the most inspirational, innovative examples of responsible tourism in practice globally. Competition this year is fierce; the standard of entries across all 5 categories has been particularly high and according to Professor Harold Goodwin, the Awards this year will be “harder to win than ever”.
Now in their 13th year, the vision for the most rigorously judged awards for Responsible Tourism, which are open to any organisation anywhere in the world, is to surprise and inspire tourists and the tourism industry by what it is possible to achieve with Responsible Tourism, and to shine a light on the best of the best.
A number of hotels, lodges and resorts are in the list including !Xaus Lodge - South Africa; Bahia Bustamante Lodge – Argentina; Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Resort & Wellness Retreat - South Africa; Fogo Island Inn – Canada; Banyan Tree - Seedlings Phuket – Thailand ; Guludo Beach Lodge – Mozambique; La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm – Panama; magdas HOTEL – Austria; Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort – Canada; Nkwichi Lodge – Mozambique; Serena Hotels – Kenya ; Shangri La Barr al Jissah Resort – Oman; Simien Lodge PLC – Ethiopia; The Haven, Uganda – Uganda; The Lemon Tree Hotel Company – India; Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge – Nepal; Tongabezi Lodge – Zambia
Several of the hotels have been featured in Green Hotelier for their responsible business practices and clear focus on sustainability, conservation and the environment.
Organisations in the long list cover a diverse range of issues from campaigning and innovation to poverty reduction and the inclusion of marginalised people, from hotels with exemplary employment initiatives to wildlife and habitat conservation.
Representing a huge diversity of work in 30 countries worldwide, the longlist includes; a hotel in Dubai rescuing, rehabilitating and re-releasing turtles and educating guests and local children about conservation; an association of hotels and restaurants in Kerala working together to ensure food isn’t wasted and that no-one in their community goes hungry; a tour operator in India making heritage sites, street food markets and festivals accessible to all through sensory tours and tailored assistance; a campaign to stop child abuse in tourism in Cambodia; and a hotel offering employment, training and empowerment to refugees in Austria.
Justin Francis, managing director of Responsible Travel and founder of the Awards says “This is an exciting time of year - it’s when we get our first real glimpse into diversity of the stellar work being done in responsible tourism worldwide.
“There are a few things which have really got me excited this year and one is seeing representatives from destinations such as Dubai, places we don’t usually associate with responsible tourism, included in the longlist for the first time. For me this is a clear indication that the wider tourism industry is really recognising the importance and benefits of operating in a responsible way.”
Commenting on the standard of the entries, Chair of the Awards judging panel, Professor Harold Goodwin, says “We have an extremely strong field across all five categories and our judging panel will have some difficult decisions to make later this year. Each of the 75 longlisted organisations will now be invited to complete an in-depth review, and provide us with evidence and references to support the impact their work is having.” He adds, “It is going to be harder than ever to win this year.”
Simon Press, Awards Judge and Senior Exhibition Director at World Travel Market in London, where the 2016 winners will be announced in a special ceremony as part of World Responsible Tourism Day is looking forward to celebrating the eventual winners “The 2016 Longlist is a real indication of the calibre of winners we will have this year. I’m looking forward to celebrating 10 years of World Responsible Tourism Day in November by sharing the stories of some of the most innovative, inspirational and effective responsible tourism initiatives we’ve ever seen.”
The full longlist is available at: http://www.responsibletravel.com/awards/media/longlist.htm