Responsible Tourism Awards 2010 – Australia’s progress

Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth, called for tourism to take action as “we are caught in a vortex” between Climate Change, biodiversity conservation and development. Speaking at the World Responsible Tourism Day, the UNWTO sponsored event run during the World Travel Market in London, Juniper clearly stressed that everyone had a role to play in reducing poverty and maintaining the world’s biodiversity. But the challenges of Climate Change require immediate action. This set the theme for the Responsible Tourism Awards, where for the first time Australian tourism was recognised:

Booderee National Park (winner) – Best for Conservation of Cultural Heritage  

Orion Expedition Cruises (winner) – Best Cruise or Ferry Operator

Kangaroo Valley Tourist Association (highly Commended) – Best Destination

The awards have been running since 2004, but until now no Australian entry had been awarded. Yet the 2010 awards were the most competitive with 1765 nominations and this year Australia was successful. This is significant and demonstrates that Australian tourism operators are now taking responsible action to become more sustainable, implementing policies at the highest level. There is still obviously much to do to resolve the “vortex” Juniper described. But some businesses are not waiting for government regulation, they are seeking to become more responsible now. Full list of winners.