Sustainable Tourism Awards Becoming More Established
A recent article on Travel Weekly spoke to Professor Graham Miller from the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey, who also happens to be lead judge on the award panel.
He explained that although previous awards were largely represented by businesses that people would normally associate with sustainability - such as high-end, boutique establishments - this year's awards will be much more diverse and varied.
"It's great this year to see everything from a chain hotel like Confortel to huge companies like TripAdvisor," explained Miller.
"This type of tourism is essential because it shows that sustainable options aren't necessarily about sacrifice. But if sustainability didn't cross into the mainstream, it would be much harder to say this is a movement with mass appeal and mass impact. People could say it was just window dressing," he added.
Among the 15 finalists is Abta, thanks to its Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism, which has been chosen for the Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award. Also in this category is the GreenLeaders programme at TripAdvisor US.
Miller is impressed by the "scale of ambition" evident in some schemes, and explained in a recent Tourism for Tomorrow newsletter that large-scale, multi-national companies such as American Express are doing lot under the radar to improve the tourism industry in the long-term.
"Across the board we saw entrants who were utterly committed and sweated blood to deliver sustainable operations," he said.
Looking back at last year's finalists, what was it that set them apart? For Miller, it was the fact they were fully aware of the impact their initiatives were having - for example, being able to compare Co2 emissions from one year to the next.
He also expressed the view that: "It's inspiring to see that what was innovative five years ago, such as banning bottled water, is now often standard."
Thankfully there's not long to go now until we find out the winners of The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, as they'll be revealed next month at the WTTC Global Summit in Madrid.