World Travel & Tourism Council

The Authority on World Travel & Tourism

World Travel and Tourism Council Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

2014 Winners & Finalists

World's best sustainable tourism businesses revealed - Winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2014

The six winners for the 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have been announced during the WTTC’s 14th Global Summit in Hainan, China on the 24th of April 2014. 

They cover as wide an area of the globe as you can imagine, from the remote Inuit heartlands of northern Canada to the Himalaya, Africa and Sri Lanka. All six winners are world's best examples of sustainable tourism businesses and destinations which successfully balance their obligations to their people, the planet and their profits.

Business Award winner – Asilia Africa, Tanzania

Community involvement is so integral to safari operator Asilia that it is one of the five core principles, along with conservation, capacity, certification and commitment, on which its business model is based. Of course words, even if they all begin with 'c', are easy to come by. It's actions that count. So it's impressive that 95 per cent of its 600 staff are African, with 30 per cent employed locally. And that it supports countless local charities where its camps are based. But most of all what sets Asilia apart is its safari business model. The company sets up in regions considered critical conservation areas, where wildlife is greatly at risk from poaching and other pressures, and as a result there is little chance for the local population to make money sustainably. The success of this undoubtedly higher risk model can be seen in places they operate such as Kenya's Naboisho conservancy, which had no tourism income before 2010 and now generates close to US$1M through tourism. It's a courageous business model that is paying dividends for Asilia and the communities it supports, and deservedly wins them the 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow award for Business.

Community Award winner – Arviat Community Ecotourism, Canada

No less remote than Ecosphere (read below), and just as committed to its community, Community Award winner Arviat's story is brief but powerful. Based 90 miles north of the tree line in Canada's frozen north, the company was launched just five years ago following a successful land claim by its Inuit people. They made the brave decision to support a sustainable future for their community by developing responsible tourism projects. Their belief was that tourists would want to travel to their distant outpost to share in their lifestyles, listen to their elders telling stories, and witness the remarkable patterns of a lifestyle based around age old rhythms of hunting, festivals and games. Thankfully they were right, and tourists now come from all over to share in their pastimes and soak up such memorable sights as the caribou migration in May, whale watching in summer and the polar bear migration in autumn. The result? Some 35 local people are now involved full time and the project is generating more than US$150,000 each year for the community.

Destination Award winner – Temes – Costa Navarino, Greece

It's impossible to separate the company Temes SA from Costa Navarino, the region in which it is based, for its core purpose is to protect and promote that destination, and which it does so well that it is our 2014 Destination award winner. Set up by Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos (who unfortunately passed away in 2011) to protect the part of Greece he called home, Costa Navarino combines tourism projects ranging from hotels to golf courses with community development and a host of environmental schemes that include the largest olive-tree transplanting program in Europe. Running throughout everything Temes does is a commitment to ensure the community benefits, be it from the development of one of the largest photovoltaic facilities in Greece, which not only supplies all of Costa Navarino’s electricity needs but actually feeds back surplus to the national grid, to the fact that 70% of the 1000 people employed during the busy season are locals. 

Environment Award winner - Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sri Lanka

Luxury travel company Jetwing has built a lasting reputation for its support of the different communities that inhabit Sri Lanka throughout the long war that devastated the country and after its end. But it wins this year's Environment Award for the way its remarkable Vil Uyana hotel has reached out to the wider - non-human - communities with which it shares its home. Having spent the first two years of the hotel's development solely on restoring land previously ravaged by slash and burn agriculture so that now it is a patchwork of indigenous ecosystems, Jetwing opened their doors, not just to paying human guests, but also to all manner of native fauna. The result of its efforts is that today the hotel and its grounds are proud to say they are home to some 80 species of birds, 36 species of butterflies, 21 species of amphibians  and 17 species of mammals, including Vil Uyana's star attraction, which draws paying humans to the hotel from across the globe, the endemic and endangered Grey Slender Loris.

Innovation Award winner - Ecosphere, India

A trip to the remote Himalayan Valley of Spiti, 4000m above sea level and cut off from the world for much of the year, would seem pretty far from home for most people. But when you journey with social enterprise Ecosphere, you will always be at home - only not your own. To ensure the greatest benefit to the local community, as well as the most immersive experiences for guests, all accommodation is in homestays with the local people. Spread across 6 villages, guests are ensured a truly authentic experience, where everything, from food to daily rituals to the chance to take part in any festival going on, is a real glimpse of village life and not staged for visitors. They are also assured that they really are making a sustainable difference, with 10% of income generated from the homestays set aside for a village conservation/development fund. And for the truly adventurous, or those wishing for a unique story to tell back home, Ecosphere offers guest the chance to take a safari through the hills, on the back of a Yak. It's rural grassroots innovations such as these that won the company the Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award for 2014.

People Award winner – Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH), Laos

If Costa Navarino is the story of one man's lasting legacy to his home, then Lanith's is about focussing on the young and their future in a country where 50 per cent of the population are under 20 years old. The Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH) was set up to help Laos, one of Asia's poorest countries, develop its tourism intelligently and sustainably, and to ensure that the people of the landlocked country benefit from this growth. The school is proactively inclusive, with a strict inclusion ethos for minority and disadvantaged groups in its programs, as well as funding bursaries for low income students. And despite having only begun in 2011, it is already the biggest industry training program in Laos, helping the next generation of Lao learn skills that will help their country integrate with the outside world on its own terms. It is for commitments like these that Lanith is the 2014 winner of the People Award.

Community Award

WINNER - Arviat Community Ecotourism
FINALIST - Abercrombie & Kent
FINALIST - Basecamp Explorer Kenya

Business Award

WINNER - Asilia Africa
FINALIST - Cathay Pacific Airways

Destination Award

WINNER - Costa Navarino
FINALIST - Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark

Environment Award

WINNER - Jetwing Vil Uyana
FINALIST - Great Plains Conservation
FINALIST - Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

People Award

FINALIST - SA College for Tourism
FINALIST - Central College Nottingham/ITTOG

Innovation Award

WINNER - Ecosphere
FINALIST - Chepu Adventures Ecolodge
FINALIST - Lapland Vuollerim Welcomes You