Nature Discovery are honoured and excited to have won the Responsible Tourism Awards 2018 overall award for Best Responsible Tourism Product. This is a significant achievement in recognition of our long-term focus on sustainable and social responsibility.
We also won the category award for Best Overall in Implementation of the Largest Number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with both awards presented at the inaugural Responsible Tourism Awards Ceremony.
The Responsible Tourism Awards were created by Responsible Tourism Tanzania (RTTZ) earlier this year to recognise and reward Tanzania’s most responsible and sustainable tourism businesses. Nature Discovery was recognised for its overall commitment including Carbon-Zero tourism practices and Leave No Trace environmental ethics. For example, our policies for zero single use plastic water bottles, zero traditional charcoal use and zero human waste impact on Kilimanjaro, amongst other environmentally conscious innovations.
As the overall winner, Nature Discovery’s General Manager Thomas Holden has been invited to attend the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland this September.
Hosted at the Kibo Palace Hotel in Arusha on June 28th, the ceremony was attended by tourism and sustainable development leaders from some of Tanzania’s most well-respected travel and tourism companies as well as representatives from RTTZ, The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) who sponsored and supported the event.
The ceremony focused on the seven category awards given for best practices as well as announcing the overall award winner. The category awards were:
- Best in Supporting Conservation Projects;
- Best in Resource Efficiency;
- Best in Community Support and Local Development;
- Best in Female Employment and Gender Support;
- Best in Cultural Preservation;
- Best in Youth Empowerment and Supporting Future Leaders in Conservation;
- Best Overall in Implementation of the Largest Number of SDGs.
RTTZ is a non-profit organization that encourages and promotes a sustainable tourism industry within Tanzania. They have established this new award ceremony to acknowledge tourism businesses which are committed to responsible tourism in Tanzania. A diverse array of accommodation providers and tour operators from throughout Tanzania were nominated for awards because they have work innovatively to protect and promote local cultures, communities and biodiversity.
Nature Discovery’s award for Best Responsible Tourism Product 2018 and all the awards given at the ceremony are recognized by the UN, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania Tourist Board, Tourism Confederation of Tanzania, Tanzania Hotel Association, Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Zanzibar Commission for Tourism and Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors.
The Responsible Tourism Awards initiative will change the face of Tourism in Tanzania by helping tourists choose responsible products and guiding all tourism businesses in the importance and benefits of sustainability. Most significantly, it will encourage more local tourism businesses to take an innovative approach to protecting the environment and integrating local people into the tourism chain. Eventually, it is hoped this will make Tanzania a prime responsible tourism destination.
When Thomas Holden attends the World Economic Forum in Geneva he’s looking forward to sharing his experiences managing Nature Discovery in a way that meets his rigorous standards for responsible tourism.
Holden is looking forward to meeting the other delegates and explaining the best practice procedures he’s established at Nature Discovery which include Leave No Trace Environmental Ethics, Environmental Stewardship, Social Responsibility and Making a Positive Impact.
Nature Discovery’s community-based social enterprise includes establishing the Arusha Bicycle Center, providing youth and women’s skills development and sponsoring green transport, health and fitness and competitive sports for their local community.
Nature Discovery are also committed to integrity in cultural tourism through their unique trekking program in Longido which shares traditional Maasai culture in an authentic and respectful way.
Nature Discovery further led the way in establishing Ethical Porter Treatment Standards and was one of the first tourism companies to partner with the Kilimanjaro Porter’s Assistance Project (KPAP).
Holden is looking forward to meeting sustainable business managers from around the world. He hopes to learn from them and share with them his methods for providing internationally accepted standards and guidelines; auditing and evaluating sustainability processes; establishing a certification scheme; and training his managers, guides and porters.
Winning this award commends Nature Discovery’s efforts and successes in responsible and sustainable tourism. Most importantly, it will help us continue to lead the way in establishing and promoting responsible tourism businesses as well as setting the standards for other businesses.