The World Tourism Award is presented annually at the World Travel Market in London by The New York Times, The Travel Corporation,United Airlines and host sponsor Reed Travel Exhibitions. Organized by The Bradford Group, it was inaugurated in 1997 to “recognize the extraordinary initiatives by individuals, companies, organizations, destinations and attractions for outstanding accomplishment related to the travel and tourism industry.”

Past World Tourism Award Recipients

World Tourism Awards, 20182018 Award:This year, the World Tourism Humanitarian Award was presented to actress Maggie Q, Good Will Ambassador for Kageno, in recognition of her humanitarian efforts by raising funds in support of Kageno, an organization that transforms impoverished communities, specifically in Kenya and Rwanda, by focusing on programs for clean water, health care, conservation and education. Global Himalayan Expedition was honored in recognition of their commitment toward sustainable development of remote communities situated at an average altitude of 12,000 ft through impact tourism, providing access to clean energy, digital education and livelihood creation opportunities for over 30,500 people across 71 off-grid Himalayan villages to date. The award was accepted by Paras Loomba, Founder & CEO, GHE.The third honoree, Jordan Trail Association, was honored in recognition of its commitment to developing, maintaining, and promoting the Jordan Trail as a platform for socioeconomic development for the 52 villages along the trail, with an impact of $6 million USD to-date. Accepting the Award on behalf of JTA was CEO, Bashir Daoud.The fourth and last honoree, the not-for profit- The Intrepid Foundation, was honored in recognition of its commitment to empower travellers to give back by matching all donations dollar-for-dollar, resulting in a contribution of more than $4.2 million USD to over 100 local communities and international organizations since 2002. James Thornton, CEO, Intrepid Travel Group, accepted the award on behalf of the Intrepid Foundation.

2018 World Tourism Awards Maggie Q presents at the 2018 World Tourism Awards

World Tourism Awards, 20172017 Award: For the 20th Anniversary of the World Tourism Awards, three recipients were honored. The first award was presented to H.E. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda, in recognition of “H.E. Paul Kagame's visionary leadership, through a policy of reconciliation, sustainable tourism, wildlife conservation, and economic development attracting major hotel investment, resulting in the country's remarkable turnaround that has led to Rwanda's rise as one of the leading tourism destinations in Africa today.” The second award went to Charity Challenge, in recognition of “for creating, managing and delivering international fundraising expeditions across 6 continents and 38 countries; which over the last 18 years have inspired tens of thousands of people to raise more than £50 million for 1,800 charities; as well as themselves donating close to £500,000 to community projects.” The final award was given to Micato Safaris-AmericaShare, in recognition of “30 years of philanthropic work that has improved the lives of thousands of orphaned and vulnerable African children through the gift of education, including the Micato One for One Commitment, which sends a child to school for every safari sold.”

World Tourism Awards, 20162016 Award: In 2016, there were three honorees. The first award went to Lindblad Expeditions in recognition of “its commitment to conservation, research, education and community development in the geographies they explore. In addition, their establishment of the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Fund, together with their guests, raised over $12.7 million for projects since 1997.” The second honoree was DER Touristik Foundation in recognition of “its 'Give Education a Home program', which since 2014 has funded the construction and expansion of more than 20 schools in 15 countries around the world, providing children and young people with a better education and future." The third and final honoree was the Tompkins Conservation in recognition of “its 25 years of work establishing new protected areas, recovering imperiled species, supporting leading-edge activism, and promoting healthy communities in Chile and Argentina through the creation of national parks.”

World Tourism Awards, 20152015 Award: There were three honorees. The first award went to the TreadRight Foundation in recognition of “its mission to promote sustainable travel through conservation, leadership, and education.” The second honoree was Tusk Trust in recognition of “its mission to initiate and fund wildlife conservation, community development and environmental education program across Africa.” The third award went to Wildscreen in recognition of “its mission to encourage everyone to experience the natural world and help to protect it. Wildscreen convenes the world’s best photographers and filmmakers with conservationists, creating the most compelling stories about the natural world.”

2014 Award: A World Tourism Humanitarian Award was given to Petra Nemcova, founder and chairwoman, Happy Hearts Foundation (HHF), in recognition of her “inspiring philanthropic initiative and vision in creating Happy Hearts Fund in 2006. By the end of 2014, HHF will have rebuilt over 100 safe-resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters, bringing hope and empowerment to more than 46,000 children and 490,000 community members in nine countries around the world.” There were three honorees. The first award went to Earthwatch Institute in recognition of “its mission to promote a sustainable way of life through education and field research, enlisting more than 100,000 people, in nearly 1400 conservation projects in more than 120 countries, so that future generations may enjoy all the natural wonders the planet has to offer.” The second honoree was Singita, in recognition of “its vision and dedication to environmentally conscious hospitality, through the development of sustainable conservation programs and successful community projects resulting in the empowerment of local communities living and working around the twelve Singita lodges in Africa.” The third award went to Google, in recognition for “developing the cutting edge global social network platform and technology, GOOGLE GLASS that enabled committed photographers around the world to share their travel experiences in real time, directly into the homes of people whose mobility is limited.”

2013 World Tourism Awards2013 Award: There were three honorees: the first award went to the Born Free Foundation, In recognition of “its worldwide impact on wildlife conservation by supporting projects that protect animals as well as teach local communities how to live peacefully with these animals, thereby ensuring the enjoyment of wildlife in their natural habitat for generations to come.” The second honoree was Fiona Jeffery, OBE, Founder & Chairman, Just a Drop, in recognition for “her philanthropic vision in launching an international travel industry charity that in just 15 years, has provided life sustaining clean water and brighter futures for an estimated 1.5 million children and their families in 30 countries.” The third award went to SKAL International, “in recognition of its leadership in encouraging responsible tourism practices in the travel and tourism industry through its Sustainable Tourism Award program; as well as being a role model of supporting local communities following natural disasters.” SKAL InternationalTTG International

2012 World Tourism Awards

2012 Award: There were three honorees: The first award went to Jorie Butler Kent, Founder & President, Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy, in recognition for “her development of  Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy, and its commitment  to sustainable tourism by sponsoring grassroots projects dedicated to preserving natural habitats, protecting wildlife and promoting the welfare of indigenous communities throughout the world.” The second award to Oman Sail, a national initiative, in recognition for "its contribution to tourism development through the sport of sailing to teach youth and empower women with valuable, transferable life skills, and instilling confidence; as well as rekindling Oman’s maritime heritage, raising the country’s global profile as a high-end tourist destination.” The Third award was presented to The City of New Orleans, in recognition for "its extraordinary success in the transformation and rebirth of the tourism industry post-Katrina and in the wake of the DeepWater Horizon oil spill, spurring new economic growth and jobs, to make tourism New Orleans’ largest industry once again." 

2011 Award: There were three honorees. The first award went to British Airways in recognition of "its investment of £5-6M annually to support its Global Community Programs, in direct and in-kind donations, to more than 100 community and conservation focused charities around the world as well as in the UK.” The second award honoured Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman and CEO, Loews Hotels, in recognition for “his leadership role to help rebuild New York City in the aftermath of September 11, by reviving the local travel and tourism industry and for securing major funding for NYC & Company to expand its global marketing initiatives, resulting in record tourism for New York City.” The third was presented to National Geographic Traveler in recognition of “its pioneering geotourism, and working with local communities around the world to create Geotourism Mapguides that raise awareness of a destination’s endemic natural and cultural assets, thereby contributing to sustainability and community-based tourism development.”

2010 Award: There were three honorees for 2010. The first award was presented to The Travel Foundation, “in recognition of The Travel Foundation’s development of programs to support educate travel industry professionals to integrate sustainability into their business; and create positive change through community-based projects in destinations worldwide, for local economic benefit, and preservation of indigenous traditions and culture and protection of the environment.” The second honoree was the Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Ocean Fund, “in recognition of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ establishment of the Ocean Fund which has awarded over $11 million in annual grants supporting nonprofit marine conservation organizations in protecting the world’s oceans through research, education and development of innovative technologies.” The third Award honored the Museum for African Art (New York City), “in recognition of the Museum for African Art’s innovative travel and educational programs focusing on developing unique cultural tourism experiences that explore Africa through its art and the village craftspeople who produce it, and providing them with a sustainable source of income by creating a market for their crafts overseas."

2009 Award: the 2009 Award recognized three honorees: The first award was presented to Tourism Cares, honoring "its extraordinary work to preserve the travel experience for future generations by awarding grants to natural, cultural and historic sites worldwide; awarding scholarships to the future tourism workforce and organizing volunteer projects to help restore tourism-related sites;" The second award was presented to Gap Adventures, honoring "its exemplary commitment and vision to 'give back' by creating and supporting Planeterra, matching all donations to this foundation dedicated to sustainable community development worldwide through travel and voluntourism;" The third award was presented to Cyrene, Libya, honoring "Libya's unique approach in establishing an integrated model for North African Archaeological and Heritage Preservation and Management with an emphasis on the education and training of local nationals for employment in the development and maintenance of this site; and for Engineer Saif Shahat's initiatives taken to ensure the protection of Libya's Heritage Sites and the quality of its tourism."

2008 Award: The 2008 Award recognized two honorees: the UNESCO World Heritage Center and Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. The UNESCO World Heritage Center for “its outstanding guidance, support and encouragement to 185 countries around the world by establishing and monitoring 878 World Heritage Sites that will protect and preserve their irreplaceable natural and cultural heritage for the future of all the people of the world.” Dr. Zahi Hawass for his “dynamic and committed leadership, in developing and implementing, innovative management plans to care for and protect Egypt’s world famous ancient attractions, including several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.”

2007 Award: The 2007 Award recognized the leaders of the American Tourism Society (ATS): ATS, Alex Harris, CTC Honorary Chairman, and member of the Board of Directors, ATS and Chairman General Tours, and one of the Co-Founders of ATS; Michael Stolowitzky, Immediate Past President & CEO and member of the Board of Directors, ATS; and H.E. Senator Akel Biltaji, of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Chair, Red/Mediterranean Sea Council and Member of the Board of Directors, ATS.

They were recognized for “their extraordinary vision and inspiring leadership in their respective roles as leaders in the American Tourism Society, through which they have fostered the establishment of emerging destinations into the main stream of tourism; supported the training and development of local tourism companies and organizations; and have contributed to tourism becoming a vital factor in the fast-paced growth of employment in local economies.

2006 Award: In recognition of Travel Guard International’s value-based approach to business and its philanthropic mission to give back to both the global and local communities it serves, and to encourage its employees to both raise/donate money for these global projects through its Make a Mark Foundation.
Honorees: John Noel, President and CEO of Make a Mark Foundation.

2005 Award: “Their extraordinary vision in forging a historic Asia-Africa Bridge of Tourism, Friendship and Collaboration”, announced at the 3rd IIPT Global Summit on Peace Through Tourism in Pattaya, Thailand, Oct. 2005.
Honorees: Africa Travel Association (ATA) and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)

2004 Award: “Its extraordinary vision and pioneering work in opening the door to ‘the world” for travelers with disabilities, the mature and elderly, through educational programs for all sectors of the travel industry on how to cater to the special needs of this lucrative and rapidly expanding niche market.”
Honoree: Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH)

2003 Award: “In recognition of its leadership role in the rescue and preservation of imperiled works of art and architecture, and its devotion to onsite conservation of monuments and sites worldwide, crossing geographic, cultural, and national boundaries to preserve the world’s diverse and rich heritage for generations to come.”
Honoree: World Monuments Fund

2002 Award: “Training the Next Generation in Travel & Tourism”
Honorees: The New York Academy of Travel & Tourism, Virtual Enterprises, International™ (career programs within the New York City Department of Education) and the Institute for Virtual Enterprise at Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York.

2001 Award:“The newly forged public / private sector partnership and the dramatic increase in tourism.”
Honorees: the Mexico Ministry of Tourism and the Mexico Tourism Board

1999 Award: “Outstanding Impact of Travel And Tourism on Generating Employment Growth”
Honorees: China National Tourism Administration and the Hong Kong Tourist Association

1998 Award: “Outstanding Economic Development Through Tourism”
Honorees: “The new emerging Europe - Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland”

1997 Award: “World Peace Through Tourism”
Honorees: Member countries of MEMTTA (Middle East Mediterranean Travel & Tourism Association): Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Turkey.

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