Joint winners: Robin Pope Safaris and Sockmob Event/Unseen Tours
"This year the Judges wanted to Award two joint overall winners to recognise both long term excellence, and bold innovative new ideas. Robin Pope Safaris' 20 year record of remarkable work with local communities in Zambia is a standard for tourism organisations to aspire to. At the same time, Sock Mob Events/Unseen Tours offers a glimpse of new perspectives for the future. The Judges feel the combination of proven and new, Africa and London, demonstrate the breadth of achievement in responsible tourism."
"The Judges were impressed by the unquestionable scale of change achieved by this comparatively small resort. Importantly, Nihiwatu has been able to leverage the income from what is a very luxurious tourism experience to alleviate poverty among the Sumbanese, and they have done so without compromising the comfort of that experience."
Whale Watch Kaikoura, New Zealand
“Rarely do we see a tourism initiative developed from the ground up by a local community to such a successful and grand scale, growing from modest beginnings.
Whale Watch Kaikoura provides consistently responsible whale watching tours with minimal impacts. The founding of the enterprise by four Maori families has demonstrated that the local Maori community can not only grow a considerable tourism business, but, more significantly, use that business to buy back their ancestral land for the benefit of the indigenous people and their cultural identity."
The judges declared New Zealand the overall winner for proving that it is possible to develop a national strategy which uses tourism to help make better places to live and to visit.
“New Zealand has implemented many of the principles of the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations and demonstrated what national government can achieve - working with the private sector, local communities and local government - by harnessing tourism to benefit their people and their environment.
If more national governments followed their example, tourism would make a much more positive contribution around the world.”
The New Forest, UK
“This is a destination which has worked over the last 15 years with visitors, the industry, the community - including commoners and small holders - to look after the environment (the VICE model: Visitor, Industry, Community, Environment) and to benefit all interests as well as providing a model for other destinations to follow.
This includes the exciting contribution of the New Forest Breakfast to sustainable development, only possible because there are now sufficient local suppliers to meet the demand for local produce from locals and visitors.”
Intrepid stood out for its efforts and foresight in empowering the local communities it works with by establishing local businesses in its destinations, using and training local operators. The judges were particularly impressed by the way in which Intrepid facilitates interaction between tourists and the host community, providing extensive guidelines to their travellers on how to travel responsibly both prior to and during travel.
Intrepid was also notable for submitting itself to a rigorous external audit, and for thoroughly thinking through the work of its foundation, The Intrepid Foundation, over and above what others have done, creating an endowment to help the local people through a disaster on the scale of the recent tsunami. Intrepid Travel have set the bar very high this year.
This eco-lodge and charitable trust is situated in the deserts of Samburuland in Northern Kenya, on what was an overgrazed cattle ranch. Their key achievement to date is the establishment of The Ol Malo Eye Project which focuses upon the eradication of Trachoma - a cause of painful blindness in over 80% of adults over 30 – from the Ol Malo area. This is an infectious and preventable disease, the root of which is poverty.
They value most highly of all their interaction with the community through the women and children who come to Ol Malo to produce beadwork and paintings. This a chance for Ol Malo to see if they are achieving their aim for the community: to contribute to the preservation of the Samburu people in such a way that the Samburus are independent, strong and empowered to live their lives in the way that they strongly desire and choose.
Tribes Travel Ltd
“One of the first tour operators (if not the first in the UK) set up specifically to promote holidays which benefit local people, wildlife and environment - particularly community tourism. Their outstanding contribution has been to show that it really is possible to make a valid and successful business in tourism whilst promoting local community tourism products.”
The Calabash Trust
Calabash Trust and Tours - township tours in Port Elizabeth South Africa - are a shining example of how tourism can benefit the poor.
Exodus are an outstanding example of how responsible tourism can become part of a company’s DNA and run like a thread through all the company’s activities.