2007 winners

Overall winner: The NEW FOREST

The judges were unanimous in their praise for The New Forest.

This is a destination which has worked over the last 15 years with visitors, the industry, the community - including commoners and small holders - to look after the environment (the VICE model: Visitor, Industry, Community, Environment) and to benefit all interests as well as providing a model for other destinations to follow.

This includes the exciting contribution of the New Forest Breakfast to sustainable development, only possible because there are now sufficient local suppliers to meet the demand for local produce from locals and visitors.

Best Tour Operator

sponsored by The Adventure Company

Winner: Gecko's Adventures, Australia
Chosen for maximising the positive economic and social impacts of their tours, through use of locally owned accommodation and employment of local tour leaders who share with travelers their passion for their country’s history, heritage, culture and natural beauty.

Highly commended:
  • Imaginative Traveler, UK
  • KE Adventure Travel, UK
  • Tribes Travel, UK

Best Large Hotel / Accommodation (more than 50 rooms)

sponsored by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

Winner: Apex Hotels Ltd, UK
For their efforts in urban regeneration, converting office blocks on brown field sites into hotels and ensuring that they are as environmentally friendly as possible.

Highly commended:
  • Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa, Thailand
  • Radisson SAS Hotel, Edinburgh

Best Small Hotel / Accommodation (less than 50 rooms)

sponsored by Tourism Queensland

Winner: Finca Esperanza Verde Ecolodge, Nicaragua
For using tourism to generate local, economic development in a rural area of Nicaragua by improving infrastructure as well as creating employment and enterprise opportunities and demonstrating what a positive difference tourism can make in a local community.

Highly commended:
  • Papillote Wilderness Retreat, Dominica
  • Lamai Homestay & Guesthouse, Thailand

Best Low Carbon Transport & Technology

sponsored by Virgin Trains

Winner: Eurostar, UK
For developing the comprehensive ‘Tread lightly’ programme to reduce Eurostar’s negative environmental impacts across the whole business, on the rails and at the terminals; using biodegradable and recyclable disposables; recycling water; reducing energy consumption and setting a whole business example which airlines could follow.

Highly commended:
  • NatureAir, Costa Rica
  • greentomatocars, UK

Best in a Mountain Environment

sponsored by Blacks

Winner: Explorandes, Peru
For developing homestay accommodation with real volume and livelihood activities, kayaking, textiles and culture, through a partnership with a group of thirty families at Llachon on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

Highly commended:
  • Peregrine Adventures, UK
  • Shakti Uttaranchal Tours Pvt Ltd, India

Best in a Marine Environment

sponsored by Tourism Tasmania

Winner: blue o two
For developing a new business approach to diving in the Red Sea, in a highly competitive price-driven market demonstrating that responsible diving is possible for a mainstream business and establishing a way of doing business which is causing their competitors to become more responsible.

Highly commended:
  • Blue Ventures, UK

Best for Poverty Reduction

sponsored by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Check Out for Children

Winner: Borana, Kenya For making a sustainable contribution to the alleviation of poverty through generating employment, improving school facilities, funding a mobile clinic which reaches thousands of people and for innovative initiatives like “Hide and Sheep” which adds value to local products for the benefit of the economically poor.

Highly commended:
  • Guludo Beach Lodge, Mozambique
  • Communitychallenge, UK

Best in a Park or Protected Area

sponsored by Conservation International

Winner: La Ruta Moskitia, Honduras
For working with four different indigenous communities to create a series of experiences and products which are complementary to each other, avoiding the danger of competition between villages and creating 150 jobs in and around the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve in Central America.

Highly commended:
  • Chalalan Ecolodge, Bolivia

Best for Conservation of an Endangered Species

sponsored by Sri Lanka Tourism

Winner: Grootbos Nature Reserve, South Africa
For conserving 1750 acres of the Cape's threatened fynbos by using 5 hectares for tourism development and for working to engage local communities through football, employment and micro-enterprise opportunities.

Highly commended:
  • Earth, Sea & Sky/Ionian Eco Villagers/Nature World Travel, Greece
  • Biosphere Expeditions

Best for Conservation of Cultural Heritage

sponsored by Jamaica Tourist Board

Winner: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand
For putting people first - recognising that the best custodians of cultural heritage are the people. They have worked with communities to empower them and to create a sense of place, identifying what villagers see as important, and using this information to develop tourist activities and make productive relationships with the industry.

Highly commended:
  • Go Native America, USA
  • Intrepid Travel, Australia

Best Volunteering Organisation

sponsored by Lonely Planet

Winner: Azafady, UK / Madagascar
For demonstrating real achievements meeting the locally defined needs of communities in Madagascar and for producing detailed reports on impacts and being transparent about where the volunteers’ money goes.

Highly commended:
  • Quest, UK
  • Camps International, UK
  • people and places, UK

Best Destination

sponsored by G.A.P Adventures

Winner: The New Forest
For demonstrating how the economic, social and environmental objectives of Responsible Tourism can be achieved with the full participation of all the stakeholders at the destination level. The New Forest has set an example which others are seeking to emulate and surpass.

Highly commended:
  • Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
  • Costa Rica

Person who has made the greatest contribution to responsible tourism

sponsored by Canadian Tourism Commission

Winner: Anthony Climpson, The New Forest
For twenty years, long before green became fashionable, Anthony Climpson was developing an integrated approach to managing tourism in the landscape, successfully engaging local communities, local government and tourism businesses in conserving the New Forest.

Highly commended:
  • Dr Cheryl Mvula, Wildlife Conservation and Responsible Tourism Consultant
  • Charlotte Shigwedha, Managing Director, Mondesa Township Tours, Namibia
Written by Justin Francis
Photo credits: [Page banner: The New Forest]