Responsible Tourism Awards celebrate 10 years
Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 - 10th anniversaryIt's that time of year again when I find myself being wrestling on and off the DLR to muscle in with thousands of fellow travel people visiting World Travel Market at London's Excel. And can it be really true that we are indeed celebrating 10 years of the responsible tourism awards, organised at WTM? Where has the time gone!
I want to celebrate how far the movement has come, a collective of individuals, organisations and destinations banging the drum for better places for people, treating communities we visit with respect, conserving and protecting the environment as well as the animals in the countries we travel to - making travel matter.
This year the judges of the Responsible Tourism Awards awarded two very different category winners:
Lemon Tree Hotels who are recognised for creating a socially inclusive work environment, employing people with disabilities and those from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The judges were delighted to see a large major successful corporate with progressive employment practices at the heart of the business.
The joint winner was Tren Ecuador , who have created an experience for tourists with shared value including 23 station-cafes, 14 artisanal squares, 13 local museums, 2 lodges, 9 folklore as well as several community-based tourism operations. The result is a family of associated enterprises which creates 5000 livelihoods for people in local communities along the tracks.
As Justin Francis, founder of the awards said “As an activist you are never happy,” However, reflecting on the 20 years he has worked to make the industry take responsible tourism seriously, he did see signs of progress.
I agree with Justin on that - there are many more companies, hoteliers and destinations who have seen sense that sustainable and responsible business practice is the right way to go. Our finite world needs good stewardship. There are pressures facing our planet and its people which are too important for us to compromise. Let us look ahead to the next 10 years, especially with 2017 being the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
We've got some Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to meet and tourism is included as targets under three of them.
SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all;
SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
We here at Travel Matters will endeavour to play our part and promote responsible and ethical travel practices, helping travellers make better choices, enabling a positive contribution to the communities and countries they visit.
Karen Simmonds is the owner of Travel Matters.