WASHINGTON, D.C.—The 15 finalists of the National Geographic World Legacy Awards were unveiled. The World Legacy Awards, a partnership between National Geographic and ITB Berlin, showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organizations and destinations—ranging from entire countries to small islands and from urban hotels to jungle retreats—driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the global travel industry.
This year’s World Legacy Awards entries spanned the planet, representing 45 countries and six continents, showcasing how sustainable tourism has no boundaries. Finalists in five award categories were selected by an international team of more than 20 judges. A multi-step judging process also included on-site inspections of each finalist. For details on the judges, click here.
Costas Christ, Chairman of National Geographic World Legacy Awards, said, “We have reached a tipping point as more of the travel industry understands that there can be no future for tourism without sustainability, including environmentally-friendly business practices, protection of cultural and natural heritage, and tangible social and economic benefits to local people in travel destinations. Those countries and companies that understand this today will be the travel leaders of tomorrow. These 15 World Legacy Awards finalists are showing the way forward to a brighter future for people and the planet.”
New Venue for Awards Ceremony
For the first time the World Legacy Award Ceremony will take place in the Palais am Funkturm, the new official awards venue of ITB Berlin.
Rika Jean-François, CSR Commissioner for ITB Berlin: “The World Legacy Awards, which are about to be held for the third time, have established themselves as highly prestigious for the global travel industry. The finalists will be introduced on ITB Wednesday to a truly international audience and the winners will be announced on the spot. We are also happy to invite the finalists to present their innovative solutions to an international audience at our CSR Day on ITB Friday. ITB Berlin is strongly heightening awareness of the important issue of sustainability and responsibility in tourism and has also recently become a member of GSTC, the Global Criteria for Sustainable Tourism.”
The 2017 National Geographic World Legacy Awards finalists are:
Conserving the Natural World—Recognizing outstanding support for the preservation of nature, restoring natural habitat, protecting rare and endangered species, whether on land or in the oceans.
Earth Changers—Recognizing cutting-edge leadership in environmentally friendly business practices and green technology, from renewable energy and water conservation to zero-waste systems and carbon-emissions reduction.
Sense of Place—Recognizing excellence in enhancing cultural authenticity, including implementing vernacular architecture and design, support for the protection of historic monuments, archeological sites, indigenous heritage, and artistic traditions.
Engaging Communities—Recognizing direct and tangible economic and social benefits that improve local livelihoods, including training and capacity building, fair wages and benefits, community development, health care, and education.
- Andaman Discoveries, Thailand
- Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize
- Chambok Community Based Eco Tourism/Mlup Baitong, Cambodia
Destination Leadership—Recognizing destination stewardship, including cities, provinces, states, countries, and regions that are demonstrating environmental best practices, protection for cultural and natural heritage, benefits to local people, and educating travelers on the principles of sustainable tourism.
- Riverwind Foundation/Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, USA
- Segera Retreat, Kenya
- Slovenian Tourist Board, Slovenia
The winners will be announced live on stage at the World Legacy Awards ceremony on March 8, 2017, held at the Palais am Funkturm during ITB Berlin. Winners and Finalists will also be recognized by National Geographic Traveler magazine.
For more information on the World Legacy Awards and this year’s finalists, click here.