Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter January 2019

2019 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards finalists announced 

T4T Finalists AnnouncedThe 15 finalists for the 2019 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have been announced, with three finalists in each of five categories. The finalists are:

Climate Action, for organisations undertaking significant and measurable work to reduce the scale and impact of climate change:

Investing in People, for organisations demonstrating leadership in becoming an exciting, attractive, and equitable employer in the sector:

Destination Stewardship, for organisations helping a place to thrive and bring forward its unique identity for the benefit of its residents and tourists:

Social Impact, for organisations working to improve the people and places where they operate:

Changemakers, this year focused on organisations fighting the illegal wildlife trade through sustainable tourism:

All finalists will now receive a site visit from one of WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Judges, before the final decision is announced at the annual WTTC Global Summit on 3-4 April in Seville, Spain. To read more about the projects for which each of the finalists was chosen, click here.

For the next 3 months, we will go into greater depth on some of the finalists in each newsletter. For this edition, you can learn more about the finalists for the Climate Action and Investing in People Awards.

Who are the Finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow Climate Action Award? 

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba 
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is an adults-only, boutique resort with 104 rooms overlooking Eagle Beach in Aruba. 

Bucuti + Tara

Although guests enjoying Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort’s laidback, luxury hospitality on the golden sands of Eagle Beach may not realise it, this is the Caribbean’s only certified carbon neutral resort. For more than 30 years, its environmentalist owner, Ewald Biemans, has worked towards proving that sustainability, guest satisfaction and profitability can go together. Although the resort has always been green-minded, the journey towards carbon neutrality began just seven years ago. Rather than rely on carbon offsets, Bucuti & Tara’s Green Team took a meticulous approach towards reducing emissions operationally. Since 2016, the resort’s 618 photovoltaic solar panels combined with local wind and solar sources, produces 40 per cent of its energy needs. Other efforts include installing an in-room energy management system, low-flow shower heads and toilets, and using an ozone-based laundry system.

The Brando, Tetiaroa Private Island, Tahiti
The Brando is a luxury resort with 35 beach-front villas on the French Polynesian Island of Tetiaroa. 

The Brando

As a small island state, French Polynesia is on the frontline of global climate change impacts. As early as 1961, while filming Mutiny on the Bounty, Marlon Brando hatched a plan to protect what he could. Drawn to Tetiaroa Atoll’s fragile ecosystem and culture, he planned a nature retreat and "University of the Sea". Although he died before his vision was realised, in 2014 The Brando opened its doors as one of the world’s most exclusive and innovative eco-resorts. The entire island resort is LEED Platinum certified thanks to solar panels that account for 70 per cent of the resort’s energy, 100 per cent solar heated water, and the world’s first application of Sea Water Air Conditioning (reducing energy consumption by 80 per cent). The Brando also co-founded and financially supports the non-profit Tetiaroa Society to conduct scientific research, protect Tahitian heritage, and support conservation projects.  

Tourism Holdings Limited, New Zealand
Tourism Holdings Limited is the largest holiday vehicle rental company in New Zealand and Australia.


This multinational tourism and recreational vehicle (RV) business is listed on the NZX with a global revenue of $426 million, but still manages to put sustainability before profit. Tourism Holdings Limited’s (THL) sustainability programme includes climate change, responsible travel, crew well-being and community impact initiatives under three core pillars: Protect, Respect, Grow. Under the 'Protect' pillar, THL has set the specific target of a 20 per cent absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 for both the organisation and its customers. In Australia and New Zealand, the organisational footprint has already been reduced by 3.4 per cent. Part of this process will be accelerating the use of electric vehicles; electric RV's joined the New Zealand fleet in the summer of 2018/2019. As the largest RV operator in the world, this is a significant and commendable objective that will have a substantial impact on the environment.

Who are the Finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow Investing in People Award?

Lemon Tree Hotels Limited, India 
Lemon Tree Hotels is a fast-growing chain of mid-range hotels with 5300 rooms in 31 cities throughout India. 

Lemon Tree

In India, less than three per cent of people with disabilities are employed, compared to approximately 35 per cent in the developed world. A significant proportion of the population are also economically or socially marginalised, and young people from these families are vulnerable to unemployment. Lemon Tree Hotels is tackling this problem by building a socially-inclusive work environment that seeks to employ people of different backgrounds, abilities and ethnicities. By providing specialised training and operational procedures, Lemon Tree Hotels hopes to mainstream 'Opportunity Deprived Indians' into meaningful employment. This group includes people with an orthopaedic handicap, Down’s Syndrome, Autism, and visual impairment, as well as those with poor social and economic prospects. In September 2018, 16 per cent of its workforce was classified as opportunity deprived. Lemon Tree Hotels hopes to spread this positive influence by sharing best practice with other businesses.

Reserva do Ibitipoca, Brazil
Reserva do Ibitipoca is a 4000-hectare private reserve in Brazil’s Minas Gerais featuring a boutique, eight-suite hotel in a converted farmhouse.

Reserva do Ibitipoca

In the 1980s, Renato Machado, a businessman from Minas Gerais, started to buy up land surrounding the Ibitipoca Start Park to promote biodiversity by creating wildlife corridors and reintroducing endangered animals. Thirty years later, this has turned into a 4,000-hectare reserve. Since 2008, a converted 18th Century farmhouse, Fazenda do Engenho, has welcomed tourists to the reserve, helping to stimulate the local economy and preserve cultural heritage. As a continuation of this community-minded ethos, Renato has handed ownership of the hotel to four staff members making it a 'project for the people, administrated by the people'. The reserve not only provides meaningful employment to the local population (99 per cent of employees are local), it also promotes entrepreneurship by encouraging relevant businesses to open in the reserve, and has up-skilled 200 people in the surrounding communities via English and ICT lessons.

Shanga by Elewana Collection, Tanzania
Shanga is a social enterprise based at the Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge in Tanzania, owned by Elewana Collection, a group of 15 lodges, camps and hotels across Kenya and Tanzania. 

Shanga by Elewana Collection

From humble origins as a workshop for deaf ladies to recycle discarded marbles into necklaces, in 12 years Shanga has grown into a social enterprise employing 34 people with disabilities. Recognising the need to support this often-forgotten part of Tanzania’s population, Elewana Collection bought Shanga in 2017. The social enterprise now has a permanent home at Elewana’s Arusha Coffee Lodge, where a workshop, set up for everything from glass-blowing to Tinga Tinga painting, and a shop welcome visitors. Medical support — including physiotherapy, prosthetics and wheelchairs — is provided, and a further 26 non-disabled local people are employed. To help spread awareness, Shanga supplies other lodges with tailor-made furnishings, partners with local education institutions, and hosts tour groups. Over 20,000 people have visited the workshop in the last 12 months, and over 100 tonnes of glass waste have been saved from landfill. 

UN Climate Change and WTTC highlight role of travel and tourism in attaining a carbon neutral world by 2050  

COP At COP24 in December 2018, The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and UN Climate Change showcased how the travel and tourism sector can take steps towards carbon neutrality by 2050. Earlier last year, in April 2018, WTTC had announced the agreement of a common agenda with UN Climate Change, an international treaty which aims for the stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, paving the way for Travel & Tourism to engage more effectively in the delivery of global goals around climate change.

Last month, at the UN Climate Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, during the first Travel & Tourism event ever held at the annual COP, both organisations further addressed the links between Travel & Tourism and climate change and presented a pathway for the sector to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Speaking ahead of the event at COP24, Gloria Guevara, President and CEO, WTTC, said: "Travel and tourism has an important role to play around the world in economic development, presently accounting for 10.4% of global GDP and supporting 1 in 10 of all jobs, which is more than comparative sectors, such as automotive, chemicals manufacturing, banking and financial services.

"Given our sector’s contribution to social and economic development, it is important that Travel & Tourism plays its part in the drive towards climate neutrality, under the auspices of the UN Climate Change body," said Ms. Guevara. "Today, we are announcing that we will continue to work with UN Climate Change to highlight to consumers the positive contribution Travel & Tourism can make to building climate resilience; the establishment of an industry recognition scheme; and the creation of an annual "State of the Climate" event and report to evaluate, monitor and share progress towards climate neutrality. As a major world sector, Travel & Tourism stands ready to play its part in this bright future."

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa encouraged the Travel & Tourism sector to find new, innovative and sustainable ways to reduce its carbon footprint. "On a basic level, doing so is simply a question of survival," said Ms. Espinosa. "But on another level, it’s about capturing opportunity. It’s about transforming your businesses to be part of a global economic shift—one marked by sustainable growth and powered by renewable energy."

"We are already experiencing the impacts of climate change in Fiji and in the rest of our Pacific Island countries," said High-Level Climate Champion H.E. Inia Seruiratu, Fiji’s Minister for Defence and National Security. "The Travel & Tourism sector is a major revenue earner for our country. Unfortunately, the attractions that drive this sector – our reefs, sandy beaches, clear seas, and forest biodiversity – are under threat from the impacts of climate change. Innovative financing where the Travel & Tourism sector can support our small island economies to respond to these threats is needed and I am very encouraged that the sector is eager to engage in such initiatives and strengthen public-private partnerships in the fight against climate change."

WTTC announces editorial partnership with The Telegraph Travel for 2019 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 

The Telegraph Travel We are delighted to announce that Telegraph Travel will be the editorial media partner for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2019.

Building on its commitment to the importance of responsible travel around the world, Telegraph Travel will be featuring the Awards and the innovators and changemakers who have spearheaded developments in climate action, investing in people, destination stewardship and social impact in its forthcoming print and digital editions.

"Telegraph Travel has long played an active role in promoting and supporting responsible travel, and our readers now expect this as part of the expert travel inspiration we deliver. The environmental, social and cultural effect of their travel experiences are increasingly important to them," says Claire Irvin, Head of Travel Editorial. "Last year, for example, our campaigning was instrumental in placing overtourism at the heart of the travel agenda. Highlighting the industry's continued progress in making responsible travel more accessible and achievable for each of our readers, whatever their age, budget and sense of adventure, is central to everything we do and our partnership with Tourism for Tomorrow is a fantastic way to demonstrate this further."

Olivia Ruggles-Brise, Policy & Communications Director, WTTC said of the partnership, "We are thrilled to have The Telegraph on board to amplify the stories and successes of our Tourism for Tomorrow finalists and the fantastic achievements that they have made in making travel a sustainable, responsible and inclusive sector."


Considerate Considerate Hoteliers are proud to announce the launch of their new company identity – growing from a specialist company driving responsible business practices in hotels, to the CONSIDERATE GROUP with an expanded client portfolio.

Thus they are able to service even more businesses with their leading technology, Con-Serve™, supported by their unique consulting methodologies for the implementation of sustainable solutions.

Within this wider scope they are delighted to announce their collaboration with two new companies: Cheval Residences in London, a company specialising in Serviced Apartments, as well as with SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain.

Considerate Hoteliers will continue to exist as a membership network for UK hotels committed to their sustainability journey, offering hands-on advice, workshops, communication tools and other support.

Through their successful selection by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to develop an energy management App for SME hospitality businesses, the Considerate Group is continuing its focus to remain at the forefront of delivering sustainable technology solutions. This will allow them to support businesses in their efforts to reduce their overall environmental impact – both through the use of Con-Serve™, and through the App, which will give small companies better control of their energy management.

It is also through their collaborations with other service companies offering sustainable solutions, & institutions such as the University of Surrey that they are able to deliver a 360° approach, ranging from GRI reporting to Science Based Targets, Carbon Reporting, as well as the UN Global Compact initiative and other certification processes.

They strive to help companies integrate the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as reduce their overall Co2 emissions, by working with all stakeholders in order to contribute to the much needed 1.5° Paris Climate Goals.

Switzerland supports the development of sustainable tourism in Vietnam

VietnamA new programme that aims to raise the competitiveness and sustainability of Vietnamese tourism has been launched. Running from the end of 2018 to 2023, the Swiss Sustainable Tourism Programme (SSTP) is the first of its kind to be funded by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) for Vietnam. Designed to provide technical assistance for small- and medium-sized enterprises and training establishments, it aims to raise awareness of and support for sustainable tourism models and products to newly-emerging destinations and those which are less attractive to tourists.

The SSTP is being delivered by a joint venture of consulting companies, including the Germany-based GFA Consulting Group, Vietnam’s Asian Management and Development Institute (AMDI), and Switzerland’s International Management Institute (IMI). It has received support from Hilton Hotels, Victoria Hotels, and the tour operator Exotissimo.

Finalists of 15th UNWTO Awards for Sustainable Tourism announced

UNWTOThe UNWTO has announced the list of finalists for its 15th UNWTO Awards, recognising initiatives from Canada, Colombia, India, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Philippines. A total of 190 applications from 71 countries were received across three categories: Public Policy and Governance, Enterprises, and Non-Governmental Organizations.

The finalists are:

UNWTO Award for Public Policy and Governance

UNWTO Award for Enterprises

UNWTO Award for Non-Governmental Organizations

Lyon and Helsinki to be European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019

European Capital

The first cities to hold the title European Capital of Smart Tourism are Helsinki and Lyon, in recognition of their work promoting tourism while respecting the environment, the well-being of the local residents, and the principles of sustainable development.

Implemented by the European Commission, the European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative looks to promote tourism to European countries, increase citizens’ sentiment of sharing local tourism-related values, and establish a framework for the exchange of best practices between cities.

With the inaugural competition open to urban areas of over 100,000 inhabitants, there were 38 cities from 19 EU countries that applied to compete for the title. As well as Helsinki and Lyon, four other cities were announced as the winners in the specific categories of:

  • Accessibility (Málaga)
  • Sustainability (Ljubljana)
  • Digitalisation (Copenhagen)
  • Cultural Heritage & Creativity (Linz)

Slow Food and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat partner to protect livelihoods of mountain people 

PhilippinesSlow Food and the FAO’s Mountain Partnership Secretariat have signed an agreement to develop sustainable tourism to improve the livelihoods of mountain people, committing to create stronger connections between mountain food products and sustainable tourism services.

The main feature of the new initiative is a pilot project – "Food & Tourism for Mountain Development" – developed by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, Slow Food and the Department of Tourism in the Philippines. The project builds on the voluntary labelling scheme for mountain products (MPP) which was developed by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat and Slow Food in 2016. The new scheme promotes access to markets for small mountain producers in developing countries, enabling them to obtain a fair price for their products, and helps customers make more informed purchases. It also develops the Slow Food Travel initiative, which creates travel itineraries that promote local culture and gastronomic diversity.

"This collaboration shows how the global development community can seek to successfully leverage sustainable tourism in the drive to strengthen the sustainability of food systems and protect agricultural biodiversity while providing alternative but crucial livelihood strategies to smallholder farmers and food value chain actors at a local, regional and global level," said Slow Food Secretary General Paolo di Croce.

Written and edited by Jeremy Smith

Tourism for Tomorrow in the news: A selection of news articles from last month