WTTC announces 2015 Tourism for Tomorrow Award winners

Winner: Reality Tours give 80% of profits back to the community.

Winner: Reality Tours give 80% of profits back to the community.

Green Hotelier was delighted to be at this years' Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, and we were overwhelmed by the standard of the finalists.

The Awards, which were held as part of the WTTC 15th Global Summit showcase and celebrate sustainable tourism businesses and destinations around the world.  The judging process, where experts visit each of the 15 finalists, is the most rigorous of any awards process in the Travel & Tourism industry. ITP Director Stephen Farrant was one of the 20 independent experts involved in the judging process and Green Hotelier is a media supporter of the awards.

Having met and listened to presentations from most of the finalists, Green Hotelier would like to congratulate all those taking part. The commitment of these organisations, resorts and charities to leading the way in sustainable and responsible operations is quite overwhelming - especially when they are all in one room!

Watch this space for detailed features on each winner, but for now here's a brief run through of each category winner:

Community Category: Reality Tours & Travel, India

In Mumbai’s Dharvi slum, Reality Tours & Travel is showing the world that slum tourism can be a good thing. The company is reaching the poorest in the community and offering them the opportunities that tourism can bring.  Reality Tours & Travel is careful to show respect for the privacy and dignity of inhabitants through well-planned tours, and 80% of profits go to development projects in the slum. This includes a community centre, computer and English classes for 400 students, English language support for 900 pupils, evening computer classes for 450 youths, a girl’s football programme, a cricket academy and a pioneering scheme where women can turn old saris into designer products. Their projects have broadened the opportunities of more than 2,500 local people since 2009.

Destination Category: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city has been completely redesigned with sustainability in mind. Extensive pedestrian spaces, an ecological zone and state of the art under-street recycling systems have greatly improved the city. Central to Ljubljana’s success is the partnership between Tourism Ljubljana and the Municipality, engaging not only local businesses but also residents to input into and influence policy. This really is a shared vision for the destination which means that tourism growth has been central to Ljubljana’s development, reviving cultural activity, restaurants and the entertainment sector. Now tourism and city life are inextricably linked, with sustainability principles at the heart.

Environment Category: Soneva Group, Thailand and Maldives

ITP member, the Soneva Group is pioneering environmental sustainability in its two properties in The Maldives and Thailand. At the operational level, bottled water is banned, they have set up the Maldives’ largest solar installation and raised 5.5 million dollars for carbon mitigation projects through a climate levy on room revenue. But Soneva is also a global influencer. They have pioneered the development of their environmental profit and loss tool in order to measure & further reduce the environmental impact of their supply chain. Soneva’s leadership is actively driving global sustainability discussions.

Innovation Category: TripAdvisor GreenLeaders, USA

TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders programme is using its massive influence and technological capabilities to bring sustainability awareness to millions of consumers across the world. The programme promotes green practices to Trip Advisor’s 280 million unique monthly users and is the first large scale green hotel programme to be truly accessible for all types of accommodation properties. It is free to use for all businesses and users can access a complete list of a property’s green practices, reviewing them and providing feedback.  This impactful programme has the potential to mainstream sustainability amongst consumers and create a sea change in our industry.

People Category: Confortel Hoteles, Spain         

Madrid-based Confortel Hotels truly has people at its heart. It is dedicated to providing employment and career opportunities for people with disabilities and is also leading the way in accessible tourism 10% of its staff have disabilities and work across all hotel operations, from floor supervision to senior management – in fact, at some hotels as many as 75% of employees have a disability.  Confortel is ensuring career options in tourism for people who struggle to find opportunities elsewhere by providing a fully integrated service for people with disabilities – from hotel design and equipment to staff training available on site.

For more information go to www.wttc.org/tourism-for-tomorrow-awards/ 

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