The World Responsible Tourism Awards have been running since 2004 and have had a series of sponsors over the years, and they have grown and matured with experience. This year’s sponsor is the Responsible Tourism Partnership, and we have taken the opportunity to change the way they are presented significantly. Increasingly, those we recognised were reluctant to travel to London to collect their award, mindful of their air miles and greenhouse gas emissions. For some time, we have wanted to provide the winners with a link to the judges’ reasons and a clip of their surprise and excitement at being recognised. We have achieved that this year.
Juliet Kinsman, writing in the Evening Standard, has written sceptically about travel industry awards: “it’s not always obvious without a little digging to find which lists to trust — and which to file away as back-patting, black-tie night outs where little or no rigour has been put into the actual judging.” Juliet recognises that the World Responsible Tourism Awards apply “hugely rigorous criteria … the panel of judges for this year’s awards is both impressively credentialled and suitably diverse, ensuring a breadth of informed world views, which is essential for the selection to have val ue on the global stage.”
Those winning Gold in the regional awards in Africa, India and Latin America are automaticlly entered into the Global Awards. The 2023 Global Responsible Tourism Awards are presented in a video, and each of those being recognised has a clip about them and the judges’ reasons.
Looking ahead to the 2024 World Responsible Tourism Awards, if you know of businesses doing more innovative things and delivering better tourism, please encourage them to enter the awards. The judges can only select from among those that apply. From 2024, the World Responsible Tourism Awards are sponsored by Sabre.
The 2024 World Responsible Tourism Awards Categories are:
- Making Travel Inclusive
- Championing Cultural Diversity
- Nature Positive
- What are you doing about Climate Change?
- Increasing local sourcing- Creating shared value
- Employing and Upskilling Local Communities
2023 Global Responsible Tourism Awards Winners
1. Best for Tackling Plastic Waste – Lemala, Tanzania
Awarded for upclying and sequestrating waste plaste.
2. Best for Local Sourcing Craft and Food – Ngwenya Glass, Eswatini (joint winner)
Awarded for creating business opportunities for small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs).
3. Best for Local Sourcing Craft and Food – RT Mission Kerala, India (joint winner)
Awarded for using food for women’s empowerment.
4. Best for Diversity and Inclusion – Rede Batuc, Brazil
Awarded for using tourism fo economic uplift.
5. Best for Meaningful Connections – Soar Excursions, India (joint winner)
Awarded for slow travel and responsible immersive tours.
6. Best for Meaningful Connections – Uthando, South Africa (joint winner)
Awarded for harnessing tourism to make better lives and better places for people to live in.
7. Best for Addressing Climate Change – Weeva, Global, out of Africa
Awarded for an innovative, data-driven software start-up enabling businesses to report impacts.
8. Best for Nature-Based Tourism – Wildlife Act, South Africa
Awarded for engaging communities in the conservation of wildlife.