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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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.