Once again, the Skål International Ecotourism Awards Ceremony was a great success; the trophies of the 9th annual Ecotourism Awards were presented by the President of Skål International, Nik Racic and Director of Communication & PR, Karine Coulanges, during the Opening Ceremony of the 71st Skål World Congress held in Sydney, Australia, on 8th October 2010 at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre.Skål, an international association since in 1934 is the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world. It is the only association which embraces all sectors of the travel and tourism industry, in five Continents, 90 Countries and at over 500 locations, with 20,000 members from hoteliers to travel agents; airline, maritime, waterways, railway and coach transportation companies, tourism media, tourism academies and official tourism promotion bodies, etc.
Skål International is aiming at quality in tourism and values sustainable development in Tourism as the key to the industry’s future success and considers Ecotourism but one area of the various components of sustainable development and responsible tourism. To encourage the conservation of the environment and help to promote the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, Skål International initiated an awards program in 2002, during “The Year of Ecotourism and the Mountains” as declared by United Nations.
While the purpose of these awards was to highlight best practices in ecotourism around the world, they were also created with the aim of acquainting the world with this new concept that puts emphasis on the importance of the interaction of the physical, cultural and social environment, the traveler’s responsibility and the need for active community participation for Ecotourism.
In their ninth year, the awards have received continued support worldwide and this year 30 entries were received originating from 19 Countries; four from Asia, six from the Americas, eight from Europe, nine from Africa and three from Oceania.
The Awards show the true implication of Skål International towards the protection of the environment in conjunction with sustainable tourism. Ecotourism, together with other alternative forms of tourism strengthens the local economies and contributes to sustainable development.
All the projects received were evaluated by three independent judges and the scores given by each separately, were added up to find the winners in each category. The primary criteria for the evaluation is based on such points like, contribution to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, community involvement, educational features, business viability and innovation.
Skål International is grateful for the meticulous and hard work conducted by the three judges in their evaluation:
- Luigi Cabrini, Director Sustainable Development of Tourism, UNWTO
- Guido Bauer, C.E.O., Green Globe Certification
- Ed Roberts, EMA Sustainability Leader, Diversey
Our main sponsor, Diversey Inc., is committed to a cleaner, healthier future. Its products, systems and expertise make food, drink and facilities safer and more hygienic for consumers and for building occupants. With sales into more than 175 countries, Diversey is a leading global provider of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions. The company serves customers in the building management, lodging, food service, retail, health care, and food and beverage sectors. Diversey, Inc. is formerly JohnsonDiversey, Inc. To learn more, visit www.diversey.com.
This year, the ten hotels of Marriott Group in Paris-Ile de France have also contributed with sponsorship to the Ecotourism Awards. Marriott’s environmental vision is to be the global hospitality leader that demonstrates how responsible hospitality management can be a positive force for the environment and create economic opportunities around the world, and by example, inspire personal action in the communities where the company operates. Some of their initiatives are “Protecting the Rainforest”, “Water, Waste and Energy Reduction”, “Supply Chain”, “Green Buildings”. For more information, please visit www.marriott.com/marriott.mi?page=environmentalInitiatives.
The winners were announced as follows:
1. In the category of Tour Operators – Travel Agents:
BUNGLE BUNGLE BUSHCAMP – Australia
2. In the category of Urban Accommodation:
THE WORLD’S GREENEST HOTEL – Denmark
3. In the category of Rural Accommodation:
HACIENDA TRES RIOS RESORT, SPA & NATURE PARK – Mexico
4. In the category of General Countryside:
!KHWA TTU – SAN CULTURE CENTRE – South Africa
5. In the category of City and Villages:
STREETSMART SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa
SIERRA DE LAS NIEVES – STRONG COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – Spain
6. In the category of Educational Programmes – Media:
REISEPAVILLON – Germany
7. In the category of Global Corporate Establishments:
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL GREEN ATTITUDE – France