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   Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2006 Showcases the World’s
Leading Examples of Best Practice in Tourism Development
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London, UK, 26 January 2006 - Today the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced the 12 finalists for the 2006 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The prestigious Awards represent the highest accolade for best practice in tourism development around the world.  
 
The finalists were selected by an international committee of experts from over 100 applications from more than 35 countries representing the full spectrum of Travel & Tourism enterprises, large, medium, and small. Costas Christ, Judging Chairman for the Awards and an internationally recognized expert on sustainable tourism said, “The committee was extremely impressed by the high quality of entries for these awards. It is inspiring to see the growing number of businesses and organizations around the world committed to the principles of responsible tourism. From small lodges to entire regions, we are seeing role models emerging in all corners of the globe.” 
 
The finalists for each of the four categories are, in alphabetical order:
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Destination Award 
Crete’s Culinary Sanctuaries, Greece
Kerala, India
Sierra Gorda, Mexico
 
Conservation Award
Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat, South Africa
Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya
Dolphin Watch Pamilacan, Philippines
Investor in People Award
Hotel Punta Islita, Costa Rica
Turtle Island, Fiji
Yachana Lodge, Ecuador
 
Global Tourism Business Award
Chaa Creek, Belize
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Canada and Worldwide
Intrepid Travel, Australia and Worldwide
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During the next phase of the judging process, each finalist will be visited by a WTTC / Tourism for Tomorrow representative who will carry out an on-site verification visit to ensure that the high standards outlined in the award applications are indeed being met in practice. Brian Mullis, President of Sustainable Travel International and a member of the finalist selection committee said, “By combining an on-site inspection visit with a careful review of the information submitted by each award applicant, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are raising the standard for recognizing best tourism practices globally.” The winners of each category, selected by the Panel of Judges following the on-site verification visits to all finalists, will be announced during a special ceremony at the Gala Dinner of the 6th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Washington, DC on April 11. 
 
Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President, WTTC said “We are very encouraged by the interest shown in the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and the commitment shown by enterprises around the world to best practice.  Travel & Tourism is an important generator of jobs and growth, with enormous potential to provide sustainable livelihoods to communities even in the most remote areas.  We are delighted to be honouring the leading examples of where this is really happening. ”
 
Destination Award
 
Crete’s Culinary Sanctuaries, Greece
Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries offers cultural-culinary tours for small groups.  Participants discover the secrets of Crete's wild nature, culture, and cuisine during visits to historic sites, organic farms, villages off the map, tranquil beaches, and walks in the majestic countryside. An all-local network, which spans the whole island, of dedicated chefs, sustainable organic farmers, botanists, and archaeologists work together to present a memorable experience for visitors from around the world. CCS is a sustainable tourism-in-action program whose aim is to promote and protect Crete's cultural heritage and natural beauty by supporting residents actively working toward that goal.  Simultaneously, projects aim to rekindle visitor interest in Crete’s nature and culture, which helps to curb the destruction caused by mass tourism and generic forms of entertainment that deplete the island of its heritage and natural resources. www.cookingincrete.com 
 
Kerala, India
Kerala has long been a favourite destination in India and tourism is a vital source of income for the state.  It is a catalytic agent for generating employment, an important source for earning foreign exchange, a vehicle for developing the environment as well as a valuable tool for preserving the State’s culture and heritage.  Sustainable tourism development in Kerala is driven by the Tourism Developmental Authority, which comprises public and private sector stakeholders.  The state has framed legislation for the development of tourism and is undertaking a wide variety of projects focusing on conservation, preservation, community development and raising awareness of the importance of responsible tourism development to both communities and visitors. www.keralatourism.org  
 
Sierra Gorda, Mexico
The Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, located in the state of Querétaro, is the most ecodiverse and second most biodiverse Reserve in the country, and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.  Sierra Gorda Ecotours, developed by the Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda which oversees environmental conservation efforts, provides the opportunity for visitors to enjoy the biosphere while ensuring the conservation of biodiversity and contributing to the livelihoods of communities, who operate the three lodges.  Within the conservation framework of the Biosphere Reserve (which is Mexico’s most populated Natural Protected Area), Sierra Gorda Ecotours promotes and supervises training for lodges, implements quality standards and undtertakes publicity activities. www.sierragordamexico.org  
 
Conservation Award 
 
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat, South Africa
Bushmans Kloof is a privately owned wilderness reserve and is world renowned for its 130 rock art sites. Luxury accommodation and five star service are situated within a unique wilderness inhabited by indigenous game. The reserve was bought in a private capacity in 1990 and consolidated six former arable and stock farms that were severely neglected and over-grazed. The land was developed and the veldt rehabilitated and after consultation with renowned wildlife and botanical experts, a 20-year environmental management plan was introduced. Since 1996 tourists have been welcomed on the reserve and profits gained by tourism are reinvested in conservation projects as well as training and employment programmes for staff from the local area. www.bushmanskloof.co.za 
 
Campi Ya Kanzi, Kenya
Campi ya Kanzi offers luxury tented accomodations for exclusive private Maasai-led walking safaris in Kenya.  It is a community based entrepreneurial initiative in Kenya's prime game area between Amboseli and Tsavo parks in the Maasai reserve.  In an area where 75 per cent of the wildlife population lives outside officially designated Game Reserves and National Parks, Campi ya Kanzi offers a way for conservation to involve landlords in protecting the wildlife that roams their land.  Conservation fees charged to visitors are reinvested in the community, assisting with employment of teachers, providing health care and building infrastructure projects such as schools and dispensaries.  The Maasai have participated in all stages of the development of Campi ya Kanzi, from the building to the management and running of the camp.  www.maasai.com 
 
Dolphin Watch Pamilacan, Philippines
Dolphin Watch Pamilacan offers unique marine tours in the waters of Bohol, Central Philippines.  Since 1999 these tours have been instrumental in turning the tide against illegal and unsustainable fishing in this area by providing an economic alternative to local communities.  Dolphin Watch Pamilacan is a community owned business made up of former dolphin and whale hunters from Pamilacan Island. The tours provide jobs for men and women and generate profits that are reinvested in the business as well as environmental and social projects on the island.  By providing an alternative form of income for residents of Pamilacan Island, Dolphin Watch has not only been able to change attitudes towards marine life but engage a whole community in the protection of its natural heritage.   
 
Investor in People Award
 
Hotel Punta Islita, Costa Rica
Hotel Punta Islita is a boutique hotel located on a remote cove of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province.  Entirely owned by Costa Rican investors, it is set in a pristine tract of tropical dry forest and is trimmed by the Pacific Ocean’s uncharted plains, and rugged mountains.  Since its 1994 inauguration, Hotel Punta Islita bound its success to the consolidation of strong symbiotic ties with the surrounding villages and townships.  Providing tangible benefits, educational programs, and economic opportunities to the local communities has gradually transformed a slash-and-burn impoverished agricultural area into a thriving collective of tourism professionals and entrepreneurs.  Today, the hotel offers a unique and successful blend of rational luxury and cultural authenticity set in a framework of responsible tourism. www.hotelpuntalislita.com 
 
Turtle Island, Fiji
Turtle Island is a luxury resort in the Yasawa Island Chain in a community of 3500 people living in 7 different villages on 3 surrounding islands.  This luxury resort is committed to improving the standard of living for residents of the Yasawa Islands by providing medical clinics, building secondary schools and helping create budget resorts and businesses owned and operated by villagers.  Through the Evanson Learning Centre and Oarsman’s Bay Job Creation Project, Turtle Island is providing education and opportunities for local people with a focus on proactive strategy capacity building.  Visitors to Turtle Island visit the projects daily, opening up the community to new ideas and concepts while offering guests the chance to understand the island’s unique culture. www.turtlefiji.com.au 
 
Yachana Lodge, Ecuador
Yachana is an eco-lodge situated in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. Accessible only by canoe, the lodge offers a unique window into the life and wonder of the Amazon rainforest for visitors while providing opportunities for employment, education, healthcare and rainforest conservation for local staff and students.  Yachana Lodge was constructed in 1995 by the Foundation for Integrated Education and Development (FUNDESIN) and employs an innovative development model based on a non-profit/for-profit organizational structure. Its educational programme empowers local youth by providing them with firsthand skills and knowledge in sustainable agricultural practices, rainforest conservation and eco-tourism that will enable them to reduce poverty in their own communities and find meaningful employment in the future. www.yachana.com   
 
Global Tourism Business Award
 
Chaa Creek, Belize
Chaa Creek has pioneered natural history tourism in Belize since becoming Belize’s first jungle lodge in 1981.  The lodge is nestled along the verdant banks of the Macal River in the foothills of the ancient Maya Mountains where it strives to amicably coexist with the natural environment of one of the last remaining intact tropical forests north of the Amazon basin. The design and construction of Chaa Creek’s 18 thatched roof cottage rooms and six luxury suites has evolved around the use of vernacular architecture using indigenous craftsmen and local materials combined with modern technology for improved efficiency and sustainability. Chaa Creek’s staff is entirely comprised of Belizeans from the local towns and villages offering visitors the chance to understand local customs and cultures as well as providing tangible benefits for local communities. www.chaacreek.com     
  
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Canada and Global
Since 1884, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has welcomed guests to a remarkable collection of castles, lodges, meeting places and retreats. Today 44 branded destinations in eight countries around the world reflect authentic surroundings, offer genuine service and promise lasting memories.  The company was founded on an enduring connection to the land and communities where it does business and since 1990 has pioneered the Fairmont Green Partnership. The program focuses on improvements in the areas of waste management, energy and water conservation, as well as a strong element of community outreach through local groups and partnerships. Fairmont’s commitment to sustainability encompasses everything from recycling and organic waste diversion in the hotel’s kitchens to retrofitting energy efficient lighting. www.fairmont.com 
 
Intrepid Travel, Australia and Global
Intrepid Travel operates small group adventure trips across Asia, Australasia, the Middle East and Europe and is committed to travelling in a way that both respects and benefits local people, their culture and the environment.  As part of this commitment, Intrepid gives back to the communities by supporting many local conservation and welfare projects.  In 2003, The Intrepid Foundation was established in conjunction with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to increase this support and invite travellers to contribute.  Intrepid’s commitment to environmental sustainability reaches from its Melbourne head office to destinations where sustainable practices are encouraged and promoted. Local guides are employed for all trips and group leaders communicate the company’s values to travellers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices.  www.intrepidtravel.com  
 
The Finalists’ Selection Committee
 
Chairman:
Costas Christ, CEO, Bar Harbor Maine Chamber of Commerce, Columnist and Contributing Editor, National Geographic Adventure
 
Committee:
Raul Arias de Para, Owner, Canopy Towers, Panama
Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters & Associates, Australia
John Guthrie,  Head of International Resourcing and Development, Hilton, UK
Marilu Hernandez, President, Fundacion Haciendas del Mundo Maya, Mexico
Brian Mullis, President, Sustainable Travel International, USA
Meitamai Ole Dapash, Founder / Executive Director, Maasai Environment Resource Coalition (MERC)
Mandip Singh-Soin FRGS, Founder & Managing Director, Ibex Expeditions Pvt Ltd, India
Ary Suhandi, Executive Director, INDECON, Indonesia
Albert Teo, Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours, Malaysia
Richard Weiss, Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering, USA
Christopher Whinney, Managing Director, ATG Oxford, UK

About the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognize and promote best practice in tourism development all over the world. The Awards are sponsored by WTTC Members including British Airways, InterContinental Hotels Group, Opodo, Reed Travel Exhibitions and Adventures in Travel Expo.  Media sponsors of the Awards are:  BBC World, eTurbo News, The Telegraph, Newsweek, National Geographic Adventure and Travel Mole. For more information please visit www.tourismfortomorrow.com 
 
 About the World Travel & Tourism Council
The World Travel & Tourism Council is the global business leaders’ forum for Travel & Tourism. Its Members are Chairmen, Chief Executives and Presidents of the world’s most prominent Travel & Tourism organizations. It is the only body representing the private sector in all parts of the Travel & Tourism industry worldwide. 
 

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Contact:

World Travel & Tourism Council
Louise Oram, Communications & PR Co-ordinator
44 (0) 20 7481 8007
louise@wttc.org
www.wttc.org
www.globaltraveltourism.com

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Also See: Best Practices in Responsible Tourism - WTTC's 2005 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards / April 2005
Recognizing Best Practices in Tourism Development, the World Travel & Tourism Council Names 12 Finalists for Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2005 / February 2005

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