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Latin America RT Awards 2023

Judges' Reasons – WTM Latin America Responsible Tourism Awards 2023

Best solutions for plastic waste management

The Dona do meu Fluxo project, developed by Raízes, unites voluntourism with efficient
solutions to the challenge of menstrual poverty, already benefiting 4500 women from
all over the world with the distribution of menstrual cups, reducing the generation of
waste by approximately 225 tons so far.
The judges state that voluntourism was a smart solution for this project and that
it gives the possibility to raise the necessary attention to the subject. In addition,
in the face of so many worrying cases related to voluntourism around the world,
Raízes gives us a good example of how to practice it effectively and concerning
the participating communities.

The Preserve Pipa Movement sought a solution to reduce the impact on the
environment and launched a bottle with a 20% reduction in plastic in its composition.
In addition to the composition with less plastic, the bottle is also produced with 100%
renewable energy, and the goal by 2026 is to reduce 40% of plastic. In addition, more
than 6 tons of recyclable waste were removed from the environment, destined for sale
by recycling companies in the state of RN.
The jurors say that raising issues like this in small destinations like Pipa is challenging
and that this project shows that the solution is possible and that achievable goals
should be based on. They also state that this model is highly replicable in sun and
beach destinations throughout Brazil and Latin America and should be closely observed
for the next steps.

The company has a strong commitment to Carbon Neutrality.
The initiative's contribution to the environment comes from reducing waste in two
ways: first, by carefully considering what to buy, and second, through proper recycling.
Much of the recycling, such as glass, plastic, metal, paper, and organic waste, goes to
the community agents of the Association of Recyclers of Bariloche.
For the judges, Wilderness Patagonia brings together a series of actions that allow
them to affirm that they care for their destiny for environmental conservation. The
actions related to the use of plastic are replicable and show that taking responsibility
for this matter often involves simple actions that have a high local impact.

Best Meaningful Connections

La Moya is the Puruha indigenous community. There are 50 families who saw in their
culture and worldview a way to increase their income by sharing knowledge in
medicine, gastronomy, customs, and traditions.
La Moya has been committed to developing a solidary tourism activity with the active
participation of all members of the community, from traditions, culture, and traditional
clothing, working from an intercultural perspective and always seeking the proper
management of cultural heritage, with a principle of social equity in the distribution of
its benefits.
This project, according to the judges, is a great representative of Latin American
community tourism: it is built with and for the communities and has them as
protagonists. The development model ensures that the hosts' relationship with their
visitors promotes authentic stories and exchanges, a fact that seems simple but is
becoming rare in recent times.

MOBILIZA SLZ is a movement that emerged to strengthen and celebrate the most
beautiful and representative assets of São Luís: Culture, Tourism, and the Creative
Economy, through a plural and transformative network, based on an environment of
exchange and connection of ideas and experiences.
In practice, it is a circuit with several events and actions, which can be live or online,
uniting creative minds and promoting a creative and cultural occupation of the city,
resulting in 09 days of vibrant colors, musical echoes, spreading flavors and dazzle the
eyes of those who live and visit the capital of Maranhão.
For the judges, this model of activity that promotes tourism for its residents,
showing other possibilities for places and cities to live in, affirms that tourism is
an efficient strategy to transform destinations into better places to live and visit.
It is highly replicable and promotes a sense of belonging and pride for the
residents of the place, collaborating more extensively for the tourist promotion
of the destination.

Quinti is an operator from Ecuador and the Galapagos that designs authentic
experiences with local hosts and brings us a beautiful story with sensory experiences to
sensitize travelers to have tools to help blind people with a participation of a blind
facilitator. They currently have 8 experiences.
The model adopted by Quinti seems simple, but it requires courage to adopt it. The
subject of inclusion of people with disabilities remains a taboo in tourism and Quinto
has not refrained from taking his responsibilities on the subject. A case that deserves
attention, recognition, and replication from its peers in other Latin American

IPÊ created an innovative methodology for training courses in socio-environmental
entrepreneurship that includes individualized mentoring, with the participation of
volunteers from companies and seed investment to strengthen or expand enterprises
led by indigenous and riverside people from the Amazon region.
The community entrepreneurs involved added more value to their work, made
management and communication more efficient, and consequently earned more
revenue and maximized their impact.
This economic development model that empowers local communities is fundamental
for the inclusion of entrepreneurs in regions as remote, fragile, and with diverse
interests (and opposed to environmental conservation and sustainable development)
such as the Amazon. A case that, according to the jury, is essential to be replicated in
other regions across the continent.

Best local shopping, crafts, and food templates

Antioquia's tourist vocation into account: nature and culture tourism, giving
importance to the different actors in the value chain, such as tour operators, artisans,
and farmers, among others, along with municipal administrations, territories, and local
communities, work in an articulated way and unite efforts based on the quality of
The interest highlights that the role of public authorities in the sustainable
development of a destination is often lost on our continent. With the union of different
actors of local tourism, the Government of Antioquia collaborates to be a replicable

model of this role of responsible promotion of the local tourist activity as a strategy for
the socio-environmental development from economic activity.

The neighborhood of Testo Alto, in Pomerode, Brazil, is known as Rota do Enxaimel, as
it is the largest concentration of houses built using this technique outside Europe (50
houses in 16 kilometers).
In June 2021, a group of businessmen and local residents founded the Associação Rota
do Enxaimel, to leverage cultural wealth in tourism, generating economic support for
families to continue preserving cultural and rural heritage and traditions.
With the work they carried out in a year and a half, the number of visitors went from
less than 20,000 to more than 150,000 visitors per year, an increase of more than 10
This local collective reinforces the importance of associativism in tourism and is an
exemplary case of how our sector can be fundamental for the conservation of the
cultural and historical heritage of a small destination, with the empowerment of people
to decide about their future.

Better Solutions for climate change

In 2020, Say Hueque set out to become the first travel company in Argentina to
neutralize CO2 emissions, and they soon realized that they needed to go further.
In 2021, they started a partnership with Reforestarg , a local NGO working to restore
damaged forests in Patagonia. Since then, they have donated a tree to everyone who
traveled with the company and has also participated in massive plantings.
In 2022, they decided to go much further by committing to plant 20,000 trees by
August 1, 2023.
The jurors say that Say Hueque demonstrates that it is assuming its
responsibility with sustainable development and, in particular, with
environmental conservation, at the same pace at which emergencies are shown
to be fundamental for the maintenance of tourist activity in the destinations in
which it operates. By assuming responsibility for climate change, it shows that
the role of a tour operator goes beyond local issues and concerns the well-
being of all in the short and medium term.

The Tourism Foundation of Mato Grosso do Sul started the process of certifying Bonito
as a carbon-neutral destination.
The project was prepared based on a protocol that allows measuring the
environmental impact of a company's activities, products, and services and the life
cycle of its greenhouse gas emissions.
The initiative is in line with the project of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul to obtain, by
2030, the Carbon Neutral certification, reducing as much as possible the emission of
carbon dioxide, generated from the burning of fossil fuels and the breathing of living
At the moment, the realization of this project aims to make Bonito the first ecotourism
destination in the world certified as Carbon Neutral.
For the jury, taking on the carbon neutralization of an important destination like
Bonito is taking on important challenges, especially in the long term. This challenge,
included in a government plan to have the entire State carbon-neutral in the short
term, sends the message to other governments and tourist destinations that the
nature tourism activity calls for help to continue receiving its visitors in the not-too-
distant future. distant.

Better solutions to promote diversity and inclusion

In this coffee farm, visitors practice "Conscious Tourism", where in addition to knowing
and interacting with the local culture, they have the opportunity to be co-protagonists
and connect emotions centered on conservation, respect for traditions, and the
sustainable use of resources.
La Union has a program that favors the hiring of people with disabilities with
exceptional skills, for example, guides in French, German, and English. They are also
staffed with interpreters in Colombian Sign Language.
The inclusion of people with disabilities in the travel and tourism sector is an
efficient way to promote debate and show the urgency still experienced today,
throughout Latin America, about the importance of creating opportunities for this
public. La Union Coffee Farm could simply be welcoming visitors to experience
the famous Colombian coffee, but it went further.

The BATUC Network, from Bahia, brings together quilombolas, indigenous people,
family farmers, fishermen, riverside dwellers, shepherds, land reform settlers, and
urban collectives. The Network promotes its tourist activities as a way to promote the
generation of work and income and as an instrument of resistance and transformation
in the offer of sustainable, responsible, and regenerative tourism.
Currently, the BATUC Network is present in 7 of the 13 Tourist Zones in the state and 10
of the 27 Identity Territories, complementing the tourist offer in Bahia by offering
sustainable, responsible, and solidary tourism, supported by agroecology, solidary
economy and popular education.
The BATUC Network is recognized throughout Brazil as a pioneer in efforts to promote
justice for the black, quilombola and indigenous population through tourism. This
successful model promotes community empowerment with the formation of a network
established in a large territory and dialogues with the social emergencies so in vogue in
the Latin American continent.

Founded at the end of 2016 by young black entrepreneurs, Diaspora.Black transformed
the Brazilian tourist market, with the creation of a marketplace for tourism and black
culture with advertising services and accommodation reservations (shared houses,
hostels, inns, hotels), itineraries, travel packages and online events (virtual tours,
courses, workshops, lectures, workshop...) and also , with the sale of training and
consultancy for the tourist trade.
For the judges, Diaspora. Black plays a very important role in the inclusion of the black
population in Brazilian tourism – a country with the largest number of people of color
in the world outside of Africa, but still placed on the margins of this economy. Giving
protagonism to black people is a challenge assumed for some time by several local
characters, but it was Diaspora.Black, with its strategy of interlocution with the large
market, with large technology companies such as Google and Meta, accelerating this
process, enabling many others to follow and promote their Afro-centered businesses
across the country.

The best initiatives for nature conservation


Las Torres Patagonia, is a private property and protected area, located in the heart of
Torres del Paine National Park (Chile).
Among the various conservation initiatives, the fact that Las Torres has won, for 3
consecutive years, the Ecological Outcome Verification granted by Savory Institute. It
measures and analyzes ecosystem function based on holistic management, planned
grazing, and soil regeneration in Chilean Patagonia.

The development is located in the rural area of Santo Antônio do Jardim – SP and
promotes environmental education tourism, receiving free public schools and social
projects, the inclusion of visually impaired people, waste management projects, and
For the judges, the development of strategies for environmental recovery combined
with educational tourism is an important strategy for the future of conservation in
Brazil. Simple and replicable initiatives need to be recognized for their efforts and Toca
do Kaynã implements something possible and replicable in its destination.

Wilderness Patagonia has always prioritized the provision of services in protected
natural areas because it believes that in addition to carrying out an active tourist
activity, tourists take with them specific knowledge about why and why National Parks
are taken care of.
To connect tourists or visitors with the conservation values of the National Parks
Administration of Argentina, they promote environmental education in various ways
and carry out environmental impact studies in partnership with the managing body of
conservation units in Argentina, where the minimum guidelines were generated to be
able to develop tourist activities with the lowest degree of impact on nature.
The joint work of Wilderness Patagonia with local environmental conservation bodies
accelerates the often emergency solutions that a destination may have. By ensuring
that actions between public and private authorities take place in harmony and with the
same purpose, protected areas gain and with them, tourism and travellers.

© 2024 The Responsible Tourism Partnership 
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