Responsible tourism blog Award


Best responsible tourism blog - a new category celebrating a blog that encourages and inspires travellers to holiday responsibly.

Explained: The Best responsible tourism blog category – we are inviting nomination from bloggers who write in a way that inspires people to holiday responsibly. We are seeking examples of writing that showcase how responsible tourism makes better, more enjoyable holiday experiences. This can also include raising awareness of the impacts of tourism or looking at the benefits to local people and destinations.

What the Judges want: An accessible, insightful blog that demonstrates the writer’s or team of writers’ depth of understanding about responsible tourism, and the ability to inspire and excite travellers about responsible holiday experiences.

2015 winners

Gold award: Uncornered Market

Gold award: Uncornered Market
Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott, the husband and wife team who founded this blog in 2007 aim, through their travel writing, to create a 'chain of stewardship' around the world, with their stories and experiences helping to inform readers about ways in which to travel responsibly, and with respect. And with 70,000 unique visitors per month to their site, which contains a wide array of mindful musing, we say indeed... respect.

One thing that makes Uncornered Market stand out as a responsible travel blog is that people, not just place, are always at the centre of their writing. It is clear that Audrey and Dan want to give voice to people who don't always have one, particularly in far flung destinations. Or 'uncornered markets'. This is part of their aim to dispel stereotypes and fears among tourists, particularly from their predominantly American following, and thus assure readers that travel is a force for good, and not to be scared of. Not only is the writing strong and engaging, their stories about people they meet are thought provoking and, most importantly, make you want to travel to a place and meet the subjects of their stories too.

Uncornered Market is a rare thing in that it is also a sustainable blog financially, surviving through sponsorship, speaking engagements, training and affiliate sales and advertising. Consequently, they inspire other bloggers to grow and extend their travels, and indeed they are so good at what they do, they might also make others just want to give up. It's certainly hard to keep up with them. These guys have visited and written about over 90 countries. Again...respect.
Silver award: Travel for Wildlife
Enthusiasm for and expertise in wildlife jumps off the pages of this new and exciting travel blog as quickly as a cheetah pounces upon its prey. The prey here is people who travel to see wildlife, of course, although this is such a beautiful travel blog in its own right, traditional travel bloggers should look out. And traditional travellers definitely look it out.

If you haven't thought about going to see polar bears in the wilds of northern Canada, on a walking safari no less, or black bears in North Carolina, this blog will open your eyes. Combining reviews of wildlife tours around the world with funky eco lodges and camps that will keep you cosy en route, Travel for Wildlife takes you on wonderful journeys. They also cover worldwide conservation issues with expert knowledge and well researched facts, all the time confirming that seeing animals in the wild can and does contribute to the protection of important species. While also highlighting the importance of social responsibility in wildlife tourism, in order to support and educate local communities.

With a stunning contemporary design and photography, the blog has excellent traffic and ongoing interaction with readers. The founders, Hal Brindley and Cristina Garcia, also use the blog as a means of fundraising for specific conservation projects, such as the Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe. Launched in 2012, this blog is still in its early stages, but already showing bloggers how to do it with responsibly, with style and commitment.
This category is new this year - see below for similar categories' winners.

2014 winners

gold award: Travel Oregon - "John Day River Territory"

Best short film for responsible tourism

2014 Gold award: Travel Oregon - "John Day River Territory"
This film is all about people power in tourism. Not only the people who made this beautiful series of films, entitled Communities Powered by Travel , but also all the people who feature in this one in particular, about the John Day River Territory, in Eastern Oregon, USA. The third in the series, it conveys stories of from a region which has suffered youth emigration due to lack of employment, and efforts made by a strong network of individuals along the John Day River corridor to remedy this through tourism.

This film has had an interesting journey, having originally been created by a strong community of tourism practitioners to highlight the regional case for tourism development. However, the film is so striking, both visually and through its narrative of social transformation and people power, it is now being shared among travellers too. A win-win, the community players gaining a sense of self-pride in what they have achieved and tourists learning about the direct impact they have when visiting the destination. This is a film that not only creates an excellent sense of place, but also a pride of people within that place. As well as developing the potential of the river for tourism, the film captures the impact of one of the state's first Scenic Bikeways, the Old West Scenic Bikeway, which offers huge potential in the growing sector of cycling tourism, thanks to the region's dramatic landscapes and unique topography. It is this combined love of their homeland, plus the values of the community, and why tourism is important to them, that are so powerfully conveyed in this short film. John Day, yes way.

Silver award: GLP Films - "Basecamp Foundation - Pioneering Sustainable Tourism in Kenya's Masai Mara"
GLP Film about Basecamp Foundation - Pioneering Sustainable Tourism in Kenya's Masai Mara captures the work of a school where Maasai tribespeople learn the skills of guiding and tourism generally. This school is unique in Kenya, and the film is an uplifting account of how the Maasai, both men and women, are becoming empowered through education. They are now embracing the benefits of nature tourism, with the Basecamp encouraging them to develop their own destinations and, in doing so, they are gaining a sense of pride when they realise that their skills are valuable and, indeed, unique. The participation of women in the school, not only to increase their craft skills but also to introduce them to hospitality training and guide training also, is very striking in the film, as the women talk about this new form of education having a positive impact within the Maasai villages. The film also highlights the Maasai's creation of the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, which serves to protect the unique Masai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, nourish local wildlife, and be a tourism destination that sustains and empowers local communities. Anyone who has had the honour of being guided across the Mara with a Maasai tribesperson will be utterly charmed by this film. For anyone who hasn't, this film will make you want to be transported into the land of these extraordinary Maasai immediately.

2014 Silver award: World Wildlife Fund - "The Guardians"
The World Wildlife Fund's film, The Guardians, captures the transformative effect of tourism on wildlife, wild places and the people who hold their future in their hands. Filmed in Namibia, it shows the journey that local people and government have made, by recognising that the human wildlife conflict can be resolved. The film focuses on the story of Namibian livestock farmer, Jantjie Rhyn, who came to appreciate the value of his country's wildlife when responsible tourism started to take hold. Before that, he admits he lived in fear of it, and wanted to kill it, because it represented nothing but a loss of livelihood when lions, for example, killed his cattle. Namibia has transformed its attitude to conservation in a relatively short period of time, however, tackling many of the issues of human wildlife conflict, using tracking technology and protecting rather than exterminating wild animals. And it has worked. The tourists come in droves to this exemplary and most exquisite destination, and local communities are recognising that the wild animals are worth a lot more alive than dead. The film also succeeds in helping travellers understand the people and issues beyond the land rover or the tented camp, and encourages them to choose the kind of travel that makes communities equal shareholders in this stunning natural land, of which we should all consider ourselves honorary guardians. It also strikes a chord at the end when Jantjie says he feels more on a par with his beloved wild animals now, saying "There is no fear in that predator's life. That is the same feeling I have. Now I will act like him. Without fear."

2013 winner

Best Photography for Responsible Tourism

Last year, for one year only, the Responsible Tourism Awards introduced a new photography category, open to both amateur and professional photographers. The aim of this category was to find good quality pictures that portray and celebrate excellent responsible tourism practice.

This category was judged by Michael Pritchard, Director-General of The Royal Photographic Society since 2011. He was a photography specialist at Christie's for twenty years before completing a PhD in photographic history in 2010. He is an active photographer with a particular interest in landscape and travel photography.

There were no winners for this category but three photographers were highly commended for their attempt at depicting what responsible tourism stands for.

The judges said: "Communicating Responsible Tourism is one of the purposes of the Awards. We knew that to capture the idea of Responsible Tourism in a photograph was difficult, many of us have tried. Part of our purpose was to have a range of photographs which could be used to promote Responsible Tourism. We received 215 photographs and shortlisted 10. There was a long debate about the merits of the shortlisted pictures which demonstrated convincingly that people see very different things in photographs, and in responsible tourism. None of the pictures were thought by a substantial majority of the judges to communicate Responsible Tourism more than the others. There was therefore no overall winner but there are three great Highly Commendeds".

Highly Commended:
  • Contact: Chris Willan
  • Contact: Macy Anonuevo
  • Contact: Tanushree Singh
Written by Justin Francis
Photo credits: [Page banner: Uncornered Market]