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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : July/Aug 2002 : Special Section

Special Section

World Legacy Awards

Conservation International (CI) and National Geographic Traveler magazine have created the World Legacy Awards to recognize outstanding businesses, organizations and places that have made a significant contribution toward promoting the principles of sustainable tourism, and whose actions can serve as a role model for others. These standards include the conservation of nature, economic benefit to local peoples and respect for cultural diversity.

The newly-formed alliance between National Geographic Traveler and CI launches a global campaign to promote environmentally, culturally and socially responsible tourism practices across a wider spectrum of the tourism industry, with the goal of protecting the earth’s natural and cultural heritage.

“Too often, tourist resorts and destinations have focused on short-term gain with little regard for the environment or the people who live there—often the very things that attracted visitors in the first place,” said Costas Christ, senior director of CI’s ecotourism department. “With the creation of the World Legacy Awards, we intend to raise the bar and encourage more businesses, organizations and destinations to incorporate sound environmental and social policies into their practices.”

“Tourists are looking for experiences that are rewarding and memorable, but the tourism industry can only be sustainable if the natural and cultural assets of the destination are protected, and if local people receive economic and social benefit from tourism activities,” said Jonathan Tourtellot, geotourism editor of National Geographic Traveler. “By placing a value on a locale’s natural, historic, and cultural attributes, we provide an incentive to protect them. This partnership ensures that future generations may enjoy the same attributes present today.”

Winners will be chosen in three categories:

- Nature Travel: This award honors a business, organization or attraction making a positive contribution to the conservation of natural areas and biodiversity. Eligible nominees include ecolodges, ecotourism operators and community- or privately-owned nature reserves whose existence through tourism revenue helps ensure protection for wilderness areas, marine environments and rare and endangered species.

- Heritage Tourism: This category recognizes a business, organization or attraction making a positive contribution to cultural heritage and diversity. Community-based tourism projects, preservation of archeological sites and activities that revive and enrich cultural traditions are eligible for the award.

- Destination Stewardship: This award recognizes a business, organization, local community or even regional government protecting the natural and cultural heritage of a destination. Eligible nominees include marine environments, wilderness areas, a unique province or a region of a country rich in nature and cultural traditions committed to the highest standards in embracing the principles of responsible tourism.

Nominees will be evaluated based on the contribution a project or overall destination makes to nature conservation and cultural heritage; generation of local economic benefit; promotion of these principles through education and awareness; and success in providing enriching, authentic travel experiences. They will be expected to show that their organization or destination achieves a significant and measurable positive impact on the surrounding ecosystem, the local culture and the region as a whole.

To learn more about the World Legacy Awards, visit or

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