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Responsible tourism Awards

World Responsible Tourism Awards 2017

World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015

World Responsible Tourism Awards 2017

Awards update:

We will not be accepting any submissions into the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2017.

Instead as 2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, this will be a retrospective year, where we take the opportunity to look back over and celebrate, the last 13 years of responsible tourism success stories.

With all the nominations we've received, and the Awards we've given over the years, hopefully we are uniquely placed to help answer the question 'What progress has been made around the world?’.

We’re excited to be able to explore just how much has been achieved.

About our Awards

Responsible Travel wants to help people live their dreams through authentic and life-enriching adventures, to ensure local people and wildlife benefits and to be a catalyst for change in the tourism industry. Our Awards are a key part of this dream to inspire positive change.

Responsible Travel's vision for the World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM rests on a simple principle - that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people. We want to celebrate the shining stars of responsible tourism - the individuals, organisations and destinations working innovatively with local cultures, communities and biodiversity.

The Awards are organised by founders Responsible Travel and take place at the World Travel Market in London as part of World Responsible Tourism Day - the world's biggest event for responsible tourism.

2016 Winners

2016 video

Watch our 2016 ceremony introductory video, featuring our finalists.

Thank you!

Many thanks to our headline sponsor, Belize Tourism Board, and to all our other category sponsors and partners, and, of course, all our finalists, without whom the Awards could not exist. Thank you.

2016 joint winners announced as Lemon Tree Hotel and Tren Ecuador

Founded in 2004, the Awards allow you the chance to celebrate the heroes and share the stories of the most exciting and enduring responsible tourism experiences in the world.

This year the judges wanted to recognise two very different category winners:

Lemon Tree Hotels are recognised for creating a socially inclusive work environment, employing people with disabilities and those from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Currently 25% of its staff 'opportunity deprived Indians' and they hope to increase this to 49% in the next 5 years. The judges are delighted to see a large major successful corporate with progressive employment practices at the heart of the business.

Tren Ecuador has reversed the traditional approach of heritage and luxury train travel. They instead have created shared value with 23 station-cafes, 14 artisanal squares, 13 local museums, 2 lodges, 9 folklore and historical recreation groups and several community-based tourism operations - all included as part of a tourist's journey. The result is a family of associated enterprises which creates 5000 livelihoods for people in local communities along the tracks.

Lemon Tree Hotels and Tren Ecuador

The World Responsible Tourism Awards ceremony was hosted at World Travel Market on World Responsible Tourism Day (8 November 2016). The Awards were presented by Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, organiser and founder of the Awards, and Karen Bevans, Director of the Belize Tourism Board, headline sponsor of the Awards.

All our 2016 Awards winners

Read about each of our winners on their category page, linked below.

Best accommodation for responsible employment
Sponsored by Belize Tourism Board
  • Gold winner: Lemon Tree Hotels
  • Silver winner: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Resort & Wellness Retreat
Best contribution to wildlife conservation
Sponsored by Florida Keys & Key West Tourist Development Council
  • Gold winner: Sam Veasna Center
  • Silver winners: Misool Eco Resort, Burj Al Arab Aquarium, and
    East African Safari & Touring Company
Florida Keys & Key West
Best innovation by a tour operator
Sponsored by Belize Tourism Board
  • Gold winner: Elevate Destinations
  • Silver winner: Viaggi Solidali
Best for poverty reduction and inclusion
Sponsored by Tobago House of Assembly
  • Gold winner: Tren Ecuador
  • Silver winners: Sapa O’Chau, and !Xaus Lodge
Best responsible tourism campaign
Sponsored by Exodus Travels
  • Gold winner: Friends International, Childsafe campaign
  • Silver winner: World Cetacean Alliance

Read more about our 2016 winners and the judges' reasons for awarding them.

Justin Francis quote
Professor Harold Goodwin