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Each year at WTM London on World Responsible Tourism Day, the first Wednesday in November, we present Awards to those businesses, destinations and organisations which our panel of judges have selected. The judges have carefully looked at all the applications and gone through a long process of long-listing, shortlisting and finally determining this year’s finalists.

We can only select from amongst those that apply and on the basis of the evidence which is presented to us. We know that to apply takes a good deal of time and that it is best if the application is written by those who exercise responsibility on behalf of the business or destination. Where it is left or delegated to others, the applications often lack the necessary detail and fail to communicate purpose and impact. This year undoubtedly some applications were passed over because they were poor applications, not because a great deal had not been achieved by the applicant.

We are clear about what we are looking for in each category, and this year there were several excellent applications which were shoehorned into categories that they did not really fit. In discussing these applications, the judges decide on some new categories for next year. In other cases, there were good applications describing work which is still yet to have sufficient impact to award.

As many of you will know, we award gold and silver in each category and select an overall winner. We also identify ones to watch; applicants whose work is very promising but where the judges would like to see more longevity or evidence of impact. In my next blog on October 1st, I shall be writing about this year’s “ones to watch” and we shall invite them to the Awards on 6th November to have their photos taken and have their moment in the limelight.

One of the key principles of Responsible Tourism is transparency. Businesses and destinations need to explain why they choose to address the issues they do and to clearly report the impact of their efforts. We see a great deal of excellent reporting in the Awards, and we think that you should consider including much of the material on your websites and in your communications with clients and guests, no to mention with your neighbors and suppliers. The work you have done to enter the Awards should not be wasted, and it is less effort to enter if you are regularly reporting. We have a session this year at WTM London on transparent reporting that might be helpful to attend.

So in two weeks time there will be details of the “ones to watch.” This year Gold and Silver Awards will go to the finalists listed here, with one of them being the 2019 overall winner.

  • &Beyond
  • Batu Batu
  • Feynan Ecolodge
  • Grootbos
  • Iberostar
  • Kilkee
  • Les Villages Nature Paris
  • Nikoi Island
  • Ol Pejeta
  • Park Guell
  • Six Senses Lamu
  • Soneva
  • The Goat Village
  • TUI

Don’t miss the Awards event at WTM London, 11:00 on Wednesday 6th November.

Since last year, we have introduced a Judges’ Award. The Judges’ Awards are given by the judges of any of the World Responsible Tourism Awards categories where the business is recognised as outstanding. These awards are rare and are used to recognise businesses which achieve in multiple categories and have been previously recognised several times. The category was created in 2018 so that the same businesses did not win year after year. To win in successive years, businesses have to have achieved something new. Only a few businesses can therefore win multiple times – those businesses are outstanding. In the list above there are two Judges’ Awards. These will join CGH Earth Hotels which received a Judges Award in the India Responsible Tourism Awards earlier this year.

There is a now a family of Responsible Tourism Awards with sister Awards in Africa, India and Latin America. The Africa Awards to be presented in April will be announced shortly.

The 4th India Responsible Tourism Awards are open for applications until September 30th; the categories are Homestay, Hotel, Tour Operator, Communication, Wildlife, Social Impact and RT Pathfinder. The 1st WTM Latin America Responsible Tourism Awards will be presented in April, the awards close on 30th November, the categories are Poverty Reduction & Inclusion, Wildlife Conservation, Cultural Heritage Attraction and Destination for Responsible Tourism.

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