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2023 RT Awards Cycle

October 28, 2023
Harold Goodwin
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The 2023 Responsible Tourism Awards were launched on November 6th 2022 and are now complete

Responsible Tourism Awards 2023

Free to enter, the 2023 Awards were split into three regions: Africa, India, and Latin America. Each region’s winners were entered to compete in the Global Awards presented in November.

In each region, we present three categories of Awards - Gold and Silver and One to Watch. Gold winners are automatically entered into the Global Awards, sometimes when there is no entry from the region likely to win at the Global level we do not award Gold. We used to make a Bronze Award but abandoned this some years ago. We now use One to Watch. We often see great applications which tell us about new initiatives. We are reluctant to give Gold or Silver to new initiatives which have not yet had time to establish and prove themselves. One to Watch means that the judges would like to receive another application in two or three years when the applicant can be considered for Gold or Silver.

The African winners are here 
The Indian Winners are here
The Latin America Winners are here

There were 6 categories for the  Global Awards in 2023

  • 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

This was a transition year with a new sponsor for the Global Award, Sabre, in 2024 

  1. Best for Tackling Plastic Waste 

Plastic waste is one of the major environmental crises impacting the health of our planet. The tourism industry generates waste through single-use plastics. The sector also suffers from plastic waste generated by others which pollutes water courses and beaches and adds to littering in destinations. Destinations and tourism businesses can address plastic waste by banning single-use plastics, removing plastic from public spaces and nature, and disposing of it safely. Initiatives that upcycle waste plastic and sequester it, generating sufficient revenue to pay for waste plastic to be collected, can take the plastic waste out of our environment at scale. Our oceans require urgent action at scale. The judges are looking for examples where a tourism business or destination has developed ways of removing plastic waste.

  1. Best for Meaningful Connections

Some forms of tourism build relationships between visitors and communities through the experiences they provide, treating visitors as "temporary residents"; they generate repeat 'guests' who will return many times, some yearly. Storytelling plays a role in creating meaningful connections. These benefit both the host and the guest. Where the local community is empowered in shaping the tourism offer, they will, as hosts, encounter tourists who value their place and what it offers. The guests have a great holiday, recommend the place to their friends and relatives and are likely to return.

  1. Best for Local Sourcing, Craft and Food

Sense of place contributes to the tourist experience. Local tastes of food and beverages, soft furnishings, and art and craft souvenirs enrich the visitor experience and the local community by creating additional livelihood opportunities. These are complementary products that grow the local tourism economy. The livelihood benefits of tourism for local communities are greater when tourism businesses, tour operators, guides, accommodation providers, restaurants, cafes, bars and tourism authorities and local governments encourage the development of local craft and food production for visitors.

  1. 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 on all continents. 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. We must increase our resilience to live with climate change and reduce emissions to avoid making it worse for our children.

  1. Best for Diversity and Inclusion

Tourism relies on diversity. We travel to experience other peoples' places, climates, built heritage, lived culture and the world's diverse nature. But how diverse and inclusive is our industry?

The judges are looking for examples of inclusive tourism, in employment and in the experiences offered to tourists. The judges are seeking to recognise

  • tourism businesses that avoid gender, ethnic and LGBTQ+ discrimination and which employ the differently abled; and
  • businesses and destinations which have created safe and meaningful visitor experiences for women, the differently abled, LGBTQ+  and travellers from the diaspora, making accessible to all our cultural diversity.
  1. Best for Nature-Positive Tourism

Wildlife and the natural environment are important motivations for travel. Nature is essential to our 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 reduce negative impacts and positively impact the maintenance of the natural environment and biodiversity.

© 2024 The Responsible Tourism Partnership 
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