World Travel & Tourism Councils Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are one of the highest accolades in the global Travel & Tourism industry and recognise sustainable tourism achievements among businesses and destinations across the full spectrum of the industry. This year’s finalists  has just been announced.

We at Soria Moria are very proud to be a finalists in the Community Benefit category. This is a great achievement for us!  A recognition like this is a unique opportunity to create more awareness and advocacy about the work we do, and hopefully our business model can be inspiring for other businesses.

Below is the pressrelease from WTTC, 23 January 2012, announcing the 12 finalists in the 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

WTTC’S TOURISM FOR TOMORROW AWARDS SHOWCASE INITIATIVES LEADING THE WORLD IN SUSTAINABILITY

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) just unveiled the twelve finalists for its 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards . The awards are one of the highest accolades in the global Travel & Tourism industry and recognise sustainable tourism achievements among businesses and destinations across the full spectrum of the industry.

As sustainable tourism practices increasingly gain momentum around the world, organisations and destinations are raising the bar on best practices to new heights. Finalists of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards from five continents, including Africa, Europe, Asia, North America and South America, were selected for their outstanding achievements in four categories representing over 50 countries.

This year’s finalists of the 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are:

Destination Stewardship (sponsored by Tauck & Partners) Entrants have successfully managed a sustainable tourism programme at the destination level, incorporating social, cultural, environmental, and economic benefits as well as multi-stakeholder engagement. Finalists are:

  • Destination Røros, Norway
  • Misool Eco Resort, Indonesia
  • Tanabe City, Japan

Global Tourism Business Representing international companies with at least 500 employees, entrants’ achievements marry corporate success with sustainable principles and practices. Finalists are:

  • Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, Singapore
  • REI Adventures, USA
  • Wilderness, South Africa

Conservation Entrants have made a direct and tangible contribution to the preservation of nature, including the protection of wildlife, expanding and restoring natural habitat, and supporting biodiversity conservation. Finalists are:

  • Cheli & Peacock, Kenya
  • Inkaterra Peru, Peru
  • NamibRand Safaris: Wolwedans Collection, Namibia

Community Benefit Entrants directly benefit local people, supporting community development and enhancing cultural heritage. Finalists are:

  • Saunders Hotel Group, USA
  • Soria Moria Boutique Hotel, Cambodia
  • The Thailand Community Tourism Based Institute, Thailand

Finalists were selected by an international panel of independent judges led by Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges and an internationally recognised expert on sustainable tourism. In the first stage of a comprehensive three-step judging process, judges selected award entries that best demonstrate the protection of natural and cultural heritage, delivering social and economic benefits to local people, and engaging in environmentally friendly operations, as well as other factors.

Unique among such tourism awards, the second phase of judging includes an on-site evaluation of each finalist to make in-depth assessments and gain a well-rounded picture of the organisations and businesses in practice.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said: “Travel & Tourism can have positive benefits for the planet and for local people by fostering the preservation of our natural, cultural, and historical heritage and by supporting community empowerment and revitalisation. Fortunately, more and more companies and destinations, are leading the way forward in demonstrating such practises.

For many years, our Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have helped showcase these projects, initiatives and operations that the tourism industry is already undertaking. Congratulations to our twelve finalists that are carrying the flag for sustainable practices in our own and other industries.”

Costas Christ said: “One day, there will be no need for awards to recognise those Travel & Tourism companies that are environmentally friendly, protect biodiversity and contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of local people. All Travel & Tourism businesses will operate that way in a new, and greener, global economy. Until then, it a great pleasure – and a true inspiration – to congratulate this year’s Tourism or Tomorrow Awards finalists, who are helping to lead the way forward in an evolution of this industry, where care for people, planet and profit, are all part of the new business bottom line.”

The Winner Selection Committee is drawn from media, government, non-profit organisations and the private sector. In addition to Costas Christ, the 2012 Winner Selection Committee judges are Hon Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism, South Africa; H.E. Sergio Díaz-Granados, Minister of Trade & Tourism, Colombia; Fiona Jeffery, Chairman of World Travel Market & Just A Drop; and Keith Bellows, Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler.

Winners and finalists will be recognised at WTTC’s annual Global Summit, held this year in Sendai/Tokyo, Japan from 16-19 April. Delegates at the Summit will find out the winners in each award category as part of the event’s official opening ceremony and welcome dinner on 17 April in Tokyo.

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organised in association with Travelport and the Travel Corporation’s Conservation Foundation.

More details about the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards can be found on www.tourismfortomorrow.com