Positive Travel: Responsible Tourism award winners announced

Looking for a holiday that will do your destination as much good as it will for you? The World Responsible Tourism Awards highlight the best sustainable tourism initiatives of the past year.

The World Responsible Tourism Awards represent the very best of positive travel experiences. These organisations, voted for by a team of independent sustainable tourism experts, are leading the way in how travel can help to reduce poverty, protect wildlife, preserve the environment and more. If you’re searching for an ethical holiday that will do as much good for your destination as it will for you, then look no further than these 12 winners.

Adventure Alternative takes tourists into extraordinary landscapes in developing countries and, by doing so, helps pull the local people who host them out of poverty and into wealth creation. Their approach has, for the last 20 years, helped build self-reliant locally-owned businesses in Nepal, Tanzania, Morocco, Russia and Malaysia.
www.adventurealternative.com / Tel: 04870 831258

There are two winners in this category this year. South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA) is a model of how animal sanctuaries should practice conservation, providing environments where previously abused animals that can’t be returned to the wild can live healthy lives free from abuse and exploitation. They currently have three sanctuaries in their alliance, all of which are in South Africa: Monkeyland, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary and Birds of Eden.
www.saasa.org.za / Tel: +27 (0) 44 534 8906

Joint winner World Animal Protection (WAP) has spent the last 50 years campaigning to protect both wild and domestic animals, but is now hitting the tourism industry directly and helping to stop the unnecessary use of wild animals in tourism. If you are travelling abroad this year and want to know more about animal welfare in places you love to visit, read World Animal Protection’s free-to-download Animal Friendly Holiday guide.
www.worldanimalprotection.org.uk / Tel: 0800 316 9966

Thomson Airways is the third largest UK airline with 57 planes and is now Europe’s most carbon efficient airline having reduced carbon emissions by 7.4% over the last three years. The judges were impressed with the potential for Thomson’s sustainable agenda to inspire other airlines to follow suit.
www.thomson.co.uk / Tel: 020 3451 2688

Chole Mjini Conservation & Development, a tiny island on an equally diminutive archipelago, south of Zanzibar, with no roads, no cars, no electricity, no computers and no mobile phones, is leading the way in responsible beach holidays. Here there are just seven tree houses, open to the elements, with nothing but the luxury of time, space and sheer natural beauty.
www.cholemjini.com / Tel: +255 784 520 799

Hotel Verde, in Cape Town, aspires to be Africa’s greenest hotel despite being just 400m from the international airport. In dramatically reducing their energy and waste consumption, utilising a grey water recycling plant, wind turbines and more, they’re helping to prove what all hotels, irrespective of their situation, can do to reduce their environmental impact.
www.hotelverde.com / Tel: +27 21 380 5500

Festivals of Puebla, located in east central Mexico, highlights the unique cultural heritage of the state, which is home to five major indigenous groups. As well as preserving important cultural events they also provide substantial economic benefits to local communities and help to refuel the region’s pride in their history and traditions.

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Winner Kutch Adventures puts the celebration of local people and their cultures at the heart of its tourism experiences and is helping to revive the desert landscapes of Gujarat in India following the devastation of the 2001 earthquake.

Joint winners Campo & Parque des Sonhos, in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Cavon Town and Environs, in Ireland, go far beyond ramps and accessible toilets to push forward an agenda on inclusive and accessible tourism for all.
www.campodossonhos.com.br / Tel: + 55 19 38953161
www.thisiscavan.ie/fun / Tel: +353 49 4331942

V&A waterfront, in the historic harbour area of Table Bay, Cape Town, is leading the way in sustainable green business practice in the region, including a refurbished craft market that has had a huge knock-on effect for local craft producers, and a food market that uses only local suppliers.
www.waterfront.co.za / Tel: +27 (0) 21 408 7500

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours offers trips around southeast Australia that are helping to change the attitudes of their visitors to conservation while at the same time funding Koala Bear research and habitat conservation in the area.
www.echidnawalkabout.com.au / Tel: +61 396 468 249

This award celebrates short films or documentaries that help inspire travellers to holiday responsibly. The winner, John Day River Travel by Travel Oregon, documents the story of a strong network of individuals who are using responsible tourism to tackle the effects of youth emigration and unemployment in the region.

Nam Nern Night Safari is a model for eco-tourism in Laos involving tourists in wildlife conservation by asking them to keep a record of the animals they see. The more animals tourists see the more money the villages get, which has led to a big reduction in poaching and increased prosperity for the local communities.
www.namet.org/namnern.html / Tel: +856 (0) 64 810008

This final award, the winner of winners, recognises the most inspirational organisation that has shown true leadership in the way it is implementing responsible tourism. This year there are two winners: South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance and Campo & Parque des Sonhos.
The judges were impressed with how SAASA has demonstrated that animal attractions can liberate previously abused wildlife without exploitation, and still be commercially successful. While Parque des Sonhos has shown that truly inclusive tourism can enhance the adventure experience for everyone, regardless of their physical or mental challenges.

Congratulations to all the winners from the Positive Travel team.

The World Responsible Tourism Awards are organised by www.responsibletravel.com

Positive Travel is edited by Aaron Millar. He writes about adventure travel, and personal development through exploring the world, at The Blue Dot Perspective

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