It’s less than a month left to the Tourism for Tomorrow Award ceremony in Tokyo, and we are getting very excited as it is moving into the final stages.

Soria Moria is  shortlisted as 1 out of 3 finalists in the Community Benefit Category, together with Saunders Hotel Group (Boston) and The Thailand Community Based  Tourism Institute.

Last month all the projects were visited by an on-site evaluator, and now it’s time for the Winners Selections Committee and Judges to select a winner. This award is often referred to as “The Oscars of the Tourism Industry” –and is one of the highest accolades in the global Travel & Tourism Industry recognizing sustainable tourism achievements among businesses and destinations across the full spectrum of the industry.

The Community Benefit Award is for tourism initiatives that has effectively demonstrated direct benefits to local people, including capacity building, the transfer of industry skills, and support for community development and enhancement and support for cultural heritage in the area.  The finalists in this category shows:

  • a positive contribution to cultural heritage,
  • a commitment to capacity building required for Travel & Tourism in destination areas, including fair wages,
  • opportunities for local community input and empowerment on tourism development planning,
  • and training and educational opportunities that result in economic and social benefits for local communities, including career advancement.

The finalists are also able to demonstrate how local people in the destination can become stakeholders and partners in the sustainable tourism efforts and/or in developing their own business.

The 2012 winners will be announced on 17 April at this year’s WTTC Global Summit in Tokyo from 16-19 April 2012, during the Opening Reception and Welcome Dinner.

In addition to Costas Christ, Chairman of the Judges, the 2012 Winner Selection 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.