Calling all sustainability champions, changemakers, movers, and shakers! Applications are now open for WTM Responsible Tourism Awards 2023.
The WTM Responsible Tourism Awards are integral to Africa Travel Week, honouring responsible businesses leading the way forward. Established in 2004, these annual Awards set the benchmark for best practices, encouraging tourism stakeholders to rally behind sustainable travel experiences.
Free to enter, the 2023 Awards is split into four regions: Africa, India, Latin America, and the rest of the world. Each region’s winners will also go forward to compete in the Global Awards at WTM London 2023.
If this sounds like you (or someone you know), we are now accepting new entries for 2023. All applications must be submitted by 17 February 2023.
Registrants can now apply for the following six categories:
- Best for Tackling Plastic Waste
- Best for Meaningful Connections
- Best for Local Sourcing, Craft and Food
- Addressing Climate Change
- Best for Diversity and Inclusion
- Best for Nature-Positive Tourism
Entering the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards 2023 can help build your brand reputation with increased PR and press opportunities. It also offers the chance to connect with industry leaders from around the world. Don’t miss out. Request a form to apply – it’s quick, easy and free.
1. Tackling plastic waste
Plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental crises facing our planet today. Not only does the tourism industry generate unnecessary waste through single-use plastics, but visitors add to litter and waste in many tourism destinations around the world – choking our oceans, waterways and beaches and threatening our wildlife and natural resources.
Destinations and tourism businesses can address plastic waste by banning single-use plastics, as well as spearheading initiatives to recycle, collect or dispose of plastic waste. Sustainable initiatives which upcycle plastic waste and sequester it, generating sufficient revenue to pay for ongoing collection/removal, can take plastic waste out of our environment at scale – which is critical for the health of our oceans. The judges are looking for examples where a tourism business or destination has developed successful ways of removing plastic waste from the environment, with opportunity to scale for maximum impact.
2. Meaningful connections (places, people and communities)
Some forms of tourism build relationships between visitors and communities through the experiences they provide, welcoming visitors as ‘temporary residents’ and generously sharing their history, culture and love for the region. These experiences often spark repeat visits by guests who love to return again and again. Storytelling plays a role in creating these meaningful connections between host, guest and the broader community. The judges are looking for meaningful experiences which empower, uplift and sustain local communities – with tourists quick to recommend the place/experience to family and friends.
3. Local sourcing, craft and food
A sense of place contributes to the tourist experience. Local flavours in terms of food and beverages, soft furnishings, and art and craft souvenirs enrich both the guest experience and the local community by creating additional income opportunities. These products help grow the local tourism economy and the livelihood benefits for local communities are greater when local government, tourism authorities, tourism businesses, tour operators, guides, accommodation providers, restaurants, cafes and bars encourage the development of local craft and food production for visitors. Judges are looking for exciting new initiatives which celebrate local sourcing, craft or food.
4. Addressing climate change
Each year the impact of climate change becomes more evident and, for many, more extreme. Drought, floods, wildfires, and extreme weather conditions cause devastation for communities and businesses in destinations across the globe. The judges are looking for examples of initiatives which:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, accommodation, attractions and tourism services in destinations; and
- increase the resilience of tourism businesses and destinations in the face of climate change.
The Responsible Tourism Awards aspire to recognise businesses and destinations addressing climate change – and to encourage others to adapt and adopt similar initiatives. Ultimately the industry has to address climate change, develop our resilience, reduce our emissions and leave a better world for future generations.
5. Diversity and inclusion
Travel & tourism is inherently, uniquely and wonderfully diverse. Travellers love exploring new destinations, immersing themselves in different cultures, and celebrating the world around us. And yet, the industry still grapples with challenges around diversity, equity and inclusion, be it ownership structures, employee opportunities, suppliers, guests or experiences. The judges are looking for examples of inclusive tourism businesses that are actively working to address gender, ethnic and LCBTQ+ discrimination; are creating a supportive and inclusive working environment for all; and have created safe experiences for women, differently-abled guests, the LCBTQ+ community and travellers from the diaspora.
6. Nature positive tourism
Wildlife and the natural environment are important motivations for travel. Nature is essential to our entire industry: those who transport travellers to wildlife destinations, those who provide accommodation, and the tour operators and guides who market it and make it accessible. The judges are seeking examples of tourism businesses and destinations that are reducing negative impacts on our environment – and having a real and positive impact on the maintenance of biodiversity.