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The India Responsible Tourism Awards are part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards family which in addition to the global awards and India includes awards programmes in Ireland and Africa. The family of awards share the same processes and criteria. Each nominated business or tourism organisation makes a short submission which answers the fundamental question, what is it that you have done that warrants consideration for the particular award? From these nominations, a longlist is drawn up, and a detailed questionnaire specific to each category is sent to each entrant. The questionnaires require that detailed evidence is provided along with two independent references. At this stage, some applicants withdraw daunted by the information required. Others withdraw recognising that they are not perhaps as responsible as they thought. Two judges look at each of the categories, analysing the questionnaires and supporting data, checking websites and references and report to the full panel of judges, on judging day, on their shortlist, informed by the questionnaires and the references. The final judging takes the better part of a whole day and there is open debate and challenge around the table. These are tough awards to win.
The ambition of the Awards is to surprise and inspire the tourism industry and tourists by what it is possible to achieve with responsible tourism. We also want to challenge the sector, the competitors of the winners, to do more – competition can drive the adoption of better practices. The judging criteria are common across the whole family of Awards.
The panel of judges is chosen for their breadth of experience and their independence of mind – the winners are debated. Many of the candidates are known to one or more of the judges, interests are declared, they can engage in the debate and are often questioned by other judges – but they cannot vote.
Harold Goodwin (Chair of the Panel), Emeritus Professor, Director, International Centre for Responsible Tourism; MD, Responsible Tourism Partnership, and RT Advisor, WTM London
Ananda Banerjee Author and award winning wildlife conservation journalist
Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism
Steve Borgia Honorary President, Eco-tourism Society of India
Emma Horne Founder, Emma Horne Travel
Jaya Jaitly Founder & President, Dastkari Haat Samiti|
Akhil Kapoor Convivium Leader, Slow Food India (Delhi Chapter)
Sheema Mookherjee former Publisher Lonely Planet India and Proprietor, Salban – The Kanha Homestay
Ratish Nanda Projects Director, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India
Aman Nath Chairman, Neemrana Hotels
CB Ramkumar Board Member, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and Founder-MD, Our Native Village
Dr Venu Vasudevan, Principle Secretary, Kerala Tourism
Belinda Wright Executive Director, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) and Proprietor, Kipling Camp