While the recent signing of a new Paris Agreement on global climate change demonstrates that world leaders are starting to take environmental issues seriously, the 2016 National Geographic World Legacy Awards finalists prove that the many in the tourism industry have long been taking strides to make tourism a positive force to protect nature and sustain the wellbeing of local people.
Now in its second year, the National Geographic World Legacy Awards, in partnership with ITB Berlin, and sponsored by soft adventure specialists Adventure World and the TreadRight Foundation, celebrates travel and tourism companies, organisations and destinations that are driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the industry.
This year’s awards attracted more than 150 entries across 51 countries and six continents. Finalists in five award categories were selected by an international team of judges. A full list can be viewed at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/worldlegacyawards/winners.html and include the following organisations which Australian travellers can experience for themselves through Adventure World:
- CGH Earth (India), a finalist in the ‘Sense of Place’ category which recognises excellence in enhancing cultural authenticity, and operator of 16 properties in southern India that emphasise local cultural through lodge design, community relations and helping guests experience local culture. Australian travellers can stay at CGH Earth properties on Adventure World’s 17-day Handpicked India itinerary which travels through Chennai, Mahaballipuram, Pondicherry, Trichy, Madurai, Periyar, Munnar, Cochin, Alleppey and Trivandrum.
- Tierra Patagonia (Chile) is also a finalist in the ‘Sense of Place’ category due to being built to blend harmoniously with the dramatic landscape of Torres Del Paine National Park. It created a place that not only used local materials but also took care to ensure the least amount of disruption possible to the surrounding environment. Australians can experience the incredible Tierra Patagonia with a four-day Adventure World package including three nights accommodation in a superior room, all meals, open bar, daily excursions, use of UMA Spa and transfers from Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales or Cerro Castillo.
- Grootbos Green Futures Foundation (South Africa), a finalist in the ‘Engaging Communities’ category which recognises direct and intangible economic and social benefits that improve local livelihoods including training and capacity building, fair wages and benefits, community development, health care and education. Grootbos Green Futures Foundation’s work is focused on community based training and capacity building to support poverty alleviation, provide education and upward job mobility and advance nature conservation in the high-biodiversity region known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. Travellers can see the work of Grootbos Green Futures in action when staying at the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve on Adventure World’s 10-day South Africa’s Unique Lodgesexperience which visits Johannesburg, Sabi Sabi, Tswalu, Cape Town, and Grootbos.
The winners will be announced at a gala at the World Legacy Awards Ceremony on March 10 at ITB Berlin. Finalists and winners will also be featured in National Geographic Traveller Australia magazine and other National Geographic media.