Tourism for Tomorrow Awards: a few surprises

tourism for tomorrowThe World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced the winners of its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. There are four different categories and the winners were a refreshing surprise…

The ‘Conservation Award’ went to an airline – not an entity you’d usually associate with environmental excellence! But NatureAir is not your usual airline. The Costa Rica-based airline offsets all of its greenhouse gas emissions by preserving and restoring tropical rainforests, and uses biofuel for its company road vehicles. It also gets involved in community outreach programmes.

The ‘Destination Stewardship Award’ went to a company in the Dominican Republic which has built an airport, a holiday resort, and lots of other infrastructure. But Grupo Puntacana has also set up two local schools and a college, and provides free medical services to local people.

The ‘Community Benefit Award’ went to the fascinating Zakoura Foundation for Micro Credits in Morocco. Women are given small grants so they can set up businesses including rural tourism projects.

In fact, only the ‘Global Tourism Business Award’ went to a company I had heard of – Marriott International. I’ve stayed in a few Marriotts in my time and never been particularly conscious of any efforts in the way of sustainability, but the hotel group has in fact been working with Conservation International to preserve a massive 1.4 million acres of Amazon Rainforest.

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