The finalists had been announced back in December 2016, and coinciding with the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development, the five winners of the 2017 National Geographic World Legacy Awards were announced today (March 8) during an awards ceremony held at the Palais am Funkturm. The World Legacy Awards, a partnership between National Geographic and ITB Berlin, showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organizations and destinations — ranging from large resorts to small eco-lodges and from wildlife conservancies to entire countries — that are driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the global travel industry.
More than 100 entries, representing 45 countries across six continents, were submitted for these prestigious travel awards. An international panel of 26 judges coordinated by Costas Christ, a internationally recognized sustainable tourism expert and award-winning National Geographic travel writer, scored each entry according to globally recognized sustainable tourism criteria. All 15 finalists underwent a rigorous on-site inspection.
Christ said, “Sustainable tourism development is crucial for the future of travel and for the planet. The time is now for action on a global scale. The travel and tourism industry is based on promoting and selling culture and nature holiday experiences and as such, needs to take a bigger role in protecting the very resources that their business depends upon. When planned and managed well, tourism can be a tremendous force for good – from saving endangered species to heritage preservation and poverty alleviation. The World Legacy Award winners and finalists are demonstrating the way forward to a brighter travel future for people and the planet.”
“National Geographic stands for exploration, conservation and stellar storytelling. World Legacy Awards celebrate the people, places and experiences that exemplify our mission in the global travel industry,” said George Stone, National Geographic Travel editor-in-chief. “We are proud to honor these leaders in sustainability who represent the future in travel and inspire the explorer in all of us.”
Earth Changers — recognizing cutting-edge leadership in environmentally friendly business practices and green technology, from renewable energy and water conservation to zero-waste systems and carbon-emission reduction.
Cayuga Collection, Costa Rica and Nicaragua — This innovative hotel collection combines state-of-the art sustainability with experiential travel at eight unique properties in Central America. Reduction and monitoring of energy, water, waste, composting, recycling, and other earth-friendly initiatives inspire staff and guests to make green practices part of their own lives. Innovative practices also include eliminating plastic waste (at Cayuga, even drinking straws are reusable bamboo), and guests join popular behind-the-scene tours to learn how sustainability directly touches their vacation experience.
Seven of the eight properties owned by Cayuga Collection are located in different areas of Costa Rica: Kura Design Villas in Bahia Ballena; Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio; Finca Rosa Blanca in Santa Barbara, Heredia; Lapa Rios in Osa Peninsula; Latitud 10 in Santa Teresa, Puntarenas; Grano de Oro in San Jose; and the Harmony Hotel in Guiones Beach, Nosara, Guanacaste.