MUSCAT, Oman – To celebrate the heroes of responsible tourism who leave people with memorable holiday experiences while giving back to local communities and the environment, the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014 is back with certain new categories.
The 11-year-old awards are sponsored by the Oman Ministry of Tourism and offer a chance to holidaymakers and the travel industry to honor the heroes and share the stories of the most exciting and enduring responsible tourism experiences in the world.
Talking about Oman’s support for the event, Maitha bint Saif Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism, said, “The Sultanate of Oman supports the continued development of sustainable tourism initiatives across the world. Initiatives that are firmly grounded in the protection of the natural world and local communities and those which are aligned with Oman’s historical and traditional beliefs are important. By taking this small step to support these global awards, we hope that we can inspire a range of new and exciting local projects.”
Organized by responsibletravel.com, this award honors tourism businesses, organizations or projects with a unique vision.
Justin Francis, the awards’ founder, and managing director of responsibletravel.com commented: “The winners we uncover are the heroes and the trendsetters of the industry. These are the holiday providers with the vision, compassion and originality to shake things up. With the new categories, we have a chance to celebrate some new outliers, discover fresh ideas, and add some diverse new holiday experiences to our wish-lists, too.”
This year the awards have expanded their roster of categories to 12, reflecting some of the key contemporary issues in responsible tourism, including best animal welfare initiative and best award for people with disabilities.
Voters will also notice new categories for best city hotel and best beach tourism, as well as a new creative category — Best responsible short film — seeking nominations for those films and documentaries that inspire us to undertake more responsible holidays.
Speaking about the new categories, Harold Goodwin, chair of the judges, commented: “Animal welfare is an important issue — for UK travelers in particular — and it will be interesting to see what initiatives are nominated. With the rise of YouTube and other video sharing platforms, we are seeing a lot of new films. We’ll be looking for pieces which convey the experience of responsible tourism, where you can see the difference.”