WTTC applauds sustainable efforts

The 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow winners

BUSINESSES and destinations that are leading the way in sustainable tourism were recognised for their efforts at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC’s) Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Ceremony in Abu Dhabi.  The four 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Award winners are:

Destination Stewardship Award winner: Peaks of the Balkans, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro.

Following conflict and civil war, representatives from the countries of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro united to create the Peaks of the Balkans transnational hiking trail, with the goal of opening both minds and borders. The initiative provides a framework for recovery, in an area once driven by conflict, by preserving the natural, cultural and spiritual heritage of the region as well as restoring mutual trust, collaboration, safety, and economic opportunities.

Community Benefit Award winner: Ten Knots Development Corporation/El Nido Resorts, Philippines.

El Nido Resorts plays a vital role in community development with 90 per cent of all staff, including senior level positions are from the local area. It actively supports staff development and the creation of community enterprises. Examples include micro-finance support to employees who now own and manage recycling facilities, provide boat transfers and excursions and produce a diversity of fresh, local farm products, among other businesses.

Conservation Award winner: &Beyond, South Africa & Beyond’s conservation efforts have been at the core of its company mission for nearly three decades, starting at Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, where they restored degraded farmland habitat and successfully re-introduced rhino, along with lion, cheetah and elephant, among other endangered species.

In India, & Beyond carried out a ground-breaking wildlife relocation of 50 Gaur (Indian bison) in collaboration with the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, aimed at stopping their local extinction in Bandhavgarh National Park.

These efforts are accompanied by scientific research and carried out in partnership with conservation organizations and universities, demonstrating the power of successful private-public partnership through tourism for protecting rare wildlife.

Global Tourism Business Award winner: Air New Zealand.

Over the past eight years, Air New Zealand has achieved a 15 per cent reduction in carbon emissions during a period when its business was also growing. Among other things, this impressive level of carbon reductions was achieved by investing in a more fuel efficient fleet, as well as improved operating practices such as reducing aircraft weight through the installation of de-humidifiers which remove 400 kg of water weight from an aircraft, using optimal routes, and enabling glide paths. They have also been active in supporting the development of sustainable aviation biofuel resources, and working with aircraft engine design companies to achieve greater environmental efficiencies.

David Scowsill, president and CEO, WTTC, said: “As the travel and tourism industry plans for the next one billion international travellers crossing country borders each year, it’s essential the growth is facilitated responsibly and sustainably, without destroying the planet in the process. These four awardees are shining examples of how businesses can balance people, the planet and profits effectively.”

Costas Christ, chairman of the Judges, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, added: “This year’s winners join a growing list of exemplary organisations, destinations, and businesses from around the world that are on the front lines of demonstrating that doing well and doing good is not only possible, but represents the future of business success in an emerging and greener global economy. They have shown that embracing sustainable tourism principles and practices is not a part time activity, but a fundamental responsibility of the travel and tourism industry to both current and future generations on this finite and fragile planet we all share.”