Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tourism for Tomorrow winners unveiled

SINGAPORE, April 18 — The Norwegian town of Røros has been handed a prestigious sustainable tourism award by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The town, a former mining centre, was recognised April 17 by the WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, one of the most high-profile events in responsible travel.

The judges, an international team of travellers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists and academics, concluded that Røros’s tourism efforts have been monumental in reversing the area’s environmental degradation, awarding it the ‘Destination Stewardship’ gong.

The Conservation award, which requires winners to have made a direct contribution to the preservation of nature, wildlife and biodoversity, was given to Inkaterra in Peru, a biodiversity research company which doubles as a luxury travel experience.

Guests at Inkaterra’s five hotels are promised a carbon-neutral stay, along with the knowledge that their vacation is helping the group to work with local people on projects designed to underline the importance of the fragile habitats in the Andes and Amazon.

The Community Benefit award went to the Saunders Hotel Group, a chain in the US which supports local charity and non-profit groups with financial backing, volunteer time and other in-kind help.

The Global Tourism Business Award went to luxury chain Banyan Tree, which beat US-based adventure holiday specialist REI Adventures and South Africa-based conservation tourism firm Wilderness Group.

The hotel chain was praised for its sustainability monitoring across its businesses, as well as for being one of the first global hospitality companies in the world to ban the sale of shark’s fin in all of their hotels, an example only just beginning to be matched by competitors.

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