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hale Watch Kaikoura takes centre stage at Beijing

Whale Watch Kaikoura takes centre stage at Beijing Tourism Awards.

Whale Watch Kaikoura has won a further international accolade, taking out the Community Benefit Award at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, hosted by the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) in Beijing China.

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, are aimed at recognising best practice in sustainable tourism within the Travel & Tourism industry worldwide. Whale Watch Kaikoura was one of 160 tourism operators from over 45 countries considered for theawards.

Whale Watch Kaikoura Chief Operating Officer Kauahi Ngapora said it was an honour to be nominated for the prestigious awards.

“To be a finalist against some of the world’s finest sustainable tourism operators is an honour. It is humbling to be recognised for practices that have steered our organisation since its inception.”

Whale Watch Kaikoura won the Community Benefit Award, against fellow finalists Namibia's Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector, and Tourindia.

The award recognises tourism operators that demonstrate direct benefits to local people, including capacity building, the transfer of industry skills, and support for community development.

Finalists in the category were required to show:
• a positive contribution to cultural heritage;
• a commitment to capacity building required for travel and tourism in destination areas, including fair wages;
• opportunities for local community input and empowerment on tourism development planning; and
• training and educational opportunities that result in economic and social benefits for local communities, including career advancement.

Finalists were required to demonstrate how local people in the destination could become stakeholders and partners in the sustainable tourism efforts and/or in developing their own business.

The announcement comes just months after Whale Watch Kaikoura was named Supreme Award winner at the 2009 Responsible Tourism Awards in London.

Mr Ngapora said Whale Watch Kaikoura is a locally owned and run business that was proud of the strong community support it enjoyed.

“Whale Watch Kaikoura is part of a community focused on providing best practise in sustainable tourism and also in providing the best possible experience for visitors to our region.”

About Whale Watch Kaikoura

Whale Watch Kaikoura is a 100 per cent New Zealand-owned tourism business established in 1987. Whale Watch Kaikoura specialises in providing an inspirational experience for more than 100,000 visitors each year who take in the majesty and grace of giant sperm whales in their natural environment off the East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. With unobtrusive viewing from specially designed vessels, tours also provide the opportunity to enjoy other temporary and long-term Kaikoura residents including dusky and Hector dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, and various species of albatross, petrels, shearwater, and migrating whale species, including the humpback, southern right, and blue.

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, now in their sixth year under WTTC's stewardship are aimed at recognising best practice in sustainable tourism within the Travel & Tourism industry worldwide. Given the growing concern about natural and cultural resources, these Awards are particularly important to WTTC and provide the Council with the opportunity of promoting and partnering with the industry leaders in responsible tourism, highlighting the prime examples of best practice.

In 2003, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) launched its vision statement - the Blueprint for New Tourism.

Outlining a multi-stakeholder vision, the Blueprint for New Tourism "looks beyond short-term considerations... and focuses on benefits not only for people who travel, but also for people in the communities they visit, and for their respective natural, social and cultural environments."

One way in which WTTC exemplifies that vision for New Tourism is with the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. First established in 1989 by the Federation of Tour Operators to encourage action from all sectors of the industry to protect the environment, the Awards were subsequently taken over by British Airways in 1992, and were further developed to encompass all aspects of sustainable tourism, with the explicit aim of leading the industry in this field.

An independent panel of judges, including some of the world's most authoritative experts of sustainable development and a stringent application process involving on-site verification visits by these experts, has earned the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards growing levels of respect among key audiences - the industry, governments and the international media.

Each year, winners and finalists are honoured at a special ceremony during the Global Travel & Tourism Summit - one of the highest-profile events in the industry, facilitating dialogue between decision-makers, and thus influencing future action in one of the world's largest industries - Travel & Tourism.
The Awards are handed out in four different categories

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards focus on four key categories. These categories were carefully selected to show how destinations can guide their tourism development according to sustainable tourism principles, to recognise best practices that are helping to protect rare and endangered species and safeguard nature; and how tourism, carefully planned and managed, can make a positive contribution to poverty alleviation, local economic development, and cultural heritage preservation while providing an excellent overall guest experience. One category - Global Tourism Business Award - is focused exclusively on sustainable tourism at the larger corporate level to further demonstrate that best practices can encompass small, medium, and also large businesses.
The 2010 Finalists:
Destination Stewardship Award
• Botswana Tourism Board -
• Country of Montenegro, Ministry of Tourism -
• Mount Huangshan Scenic Site, China -
Conservation Award
• Emirates Hotels & Resorts, UAE -
• Inkaterra Perú SAC -
• Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania -
Community Benefit Award
• Namibia's Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector / NACSO
• Tourindia, India -
• Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd, New Zealand -
Global Tourism Business Award
• Accor, France & Global -
• Banyan Tree Holdings, Singapore & Global -
• Wilderness Safaris, South Africa & Global -


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