The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), an Australian Government statutory authority, won the Destination Award at last year’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, held during the WTTC Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
The GBRMPA manages the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest UNESCO recognised world heritage area, which welcomes nearly two million tourists and 4.9 million recreational visitors each year. The future well being of both the marine park and the tourism industry are inextricably linked, and the realisation of this interdependence led to the development of a partnership between the GBRMPA and the Marine Park tourism industry.
This partnership helped to achieve a well managed and sustainable industry as well as an improvement in the environmental, cultural and business outcomes of the Marine Park.
The Conservation Award went to Aspen Skiing Company, which operates the four mountains of Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, hosting 1.4 million skiers and employing 3,400 people each winter. It demonstrated a rare example of large scale tourism operating on a sound environmental management plan.
It was the first US ski resort to buy wind power, use bio diesel, build certified green buildings, and comply with the ISO 14001 standard. In addition it had 100 percent of its electricity use coming from renewable energy through the largest purchase of renewable energy certificates in the ski industry.
The Investor in People Award went to the island resort Nihiwatu Resort on Sumba Island, Indonesia. It is a wild, remote destination for the adventurous, consisting of 14 exotic villas and bungalows which are sculpted onto the cliff’s edge using thatch, bamboo and wood. The humanitarian story which enabled it to get this award came from its owners, who camped on one of Sumba’s isolated beaches for several years with no electricity or running water while developing friendships with local people and gradually building a luxury resort that has dramatically improved the health and education of the island’s local communities.
The Global Tourism Business Award went to Lindblad Expeditions (LEX). In 1958, Lars-Eric Lindblad pioneered the style of expedition travel known as eco-tourism. Today, Sven Olof Lindblad, his son, extends that vision through innovative expedition travel programmes in Galapagos, Antarctica, Baja California, Alaska, the Arctic and beyond.
LEX focuses on sustainable and innovative tourism practices.
The 2007 Tourism for Tomorrow Award winners were selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Costas Christ, world expert in sustainable tourism. The judging process included on-site evaluation visits of all award finalists by a team of sustainable tourism experts around the world.
He will continue to lead at this year’s award ceremony, as chairman of the judges.