Climate change is with us. It is something we now have to learn to live with. Climate change will have profound consequences for businesses in our sector and people and wildlife in originating markets and destinations. We must also find ways to reduce the amount of carbon that people travelling and on holiday cause to be emitted. We have to change the production and consumption of tourism – travel, accommodation, attractions and activities all need to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through the Awards we would like to showcase examples of technologies, management systems and ways of changing consumer behaviour that have demonstrably reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
2021 Rest of the World Responsible Tourism Awards
1. Decarbonising Travel & Tourism
Gold: Better Places & FairAway
The judges were impressed by the extensive range of ways in which Better Places, a small tour operator, actively reduces the carbon footprint of the holidays it organises, as well as their transparent and easy to understand communication of the positive and negative environmental impacts of their trips. Pioneering early adopters, they committed from 2019 to reduce carbon emissions by 5% every year, with the target of achieving a 55% reduction by 2030. They measure and offset 100% of all residual CO2 emissions, including local transport, accommodation, activities and their clients' independently booked international return flights. Better Places acknowledge that Scope 1 and 2 emissions are hardly relevant for travel organisations that do not own accommodation or an airline and acknowledge the importance of including their Scope 3 emissions, which can account for as much as 80% of a company's total CO2 emissions. This inclusion of significant scope 3 emissions within their calculations set them apart and caught the judges' attention. "They acknowledge that offsetting is no solution and reducing is the only way forward." They have increased their European offer and encourage clients to fly less often and stay longer when they do. Better Places has imposed a CO2 tax on themselves of €12,50 per customer travelling outside of Europe and €5,- per customer travelling in Europe, increasing by €2,50 and €1 every year, investing the proceeds in sustainable energy projects through crowdfunding platform Lend-a-Hand, in 2019 they invested €20,000. For the detail of their achievements, see.
Silver: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba: Beyond Carbon Neutrality
Situated on Eagle Beach, the resort is very vulnerable to sea-level rise. In the early 2010s, they set a carbon-neutral goal. Major initiatives include installing the island's largest private sector solar panel system, decreasing waste stream-to-landfill by 62% all the while increasing occupancy to 98.5% in the first year of net zero auditing, installing double-paned, insulated air-filled or film-coated windows, and converting from an air conditioner/chiller system to a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) cooling system. The solar panels provide 15% of Bucuti's energy needs. Combined with 25% island-sourced energy produced by wind turbines and solar panels, the resort runs on 40% clean energy. The United Nations proclaimed Bucuti & Tara's model "highly replicable and scalable for any size entity" when it presented the resort with the coveted Global UN 2020 Climate Action Award for Carbon Neutral Now. The judges were impressed by the range of measures taken by the resort to reduce its carbon footprint and its commitment to continuous improvement. Its carbon neutrality is achieved through quality carbon offsetting.
Silver: Hydrao: Smart Shower Heads
We have not previously awarded a technological solution. This innovative nudge technology is easily installed and helps reduce CO2 emissions by encouraging users to take shorter showers thus saving energy and water (an often-overlooked area when it comes to CO2 emissions). Behavioural change can significantly reduce emissions, and these Smart Shower Heads encourage people to take shorter showers, through simple visual alerts based on the total volume of water used. Among Hydrao's hospitality partners that have installed showers, Marriott Courtyard - Arceuil and Golden Tulip - Lyon have reported 40% and 36% hot water savings, respectively. 57,000 have helped save and estimated 2.4 billion litres of water. A Life-Cycle Analysis of the shower heads reveals that after 162 showers, the negative impact generated by the production of the ALOE shower head (due to the presence of a PCB and a micro-turbine, and manufacturing location) is offset by the environmental gain brought about by the savings made in use.
Silver: Much Better Adventures
The judges were pleased to see the inclusion of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in Much Better Adventures carbon measurements. Excluding international flights, Much Better Adventures calculated the average carbon footprint across all its trips to be 112kg CO2 per person in 2019 and 106kg CO2e per person in 2020, with the figures being peer-reviewed by partners and experts across the industry. They report the typical breakdown of the carbon footprint of a trip as accommodation 39%, food 24%, ground transfers and transport 11%, office and staff travel 6%, internal flights 5% and additional commodities 15%. Much Better Adventures are "firm non-believers" in offsetting. They have introduced carbon labels on all their trips, allowing customers to easily see and understand the carbon footprint of their trip in advance. They donate 5% of turnover to the Much Better Adventures Foundation, which invests in reforestation and rewilding projects. They published their carbon footprint methodology with a call to action by other businesses.
One to Watch: SEAFUEL
SEAFUEL is an EU Interreg Atlantic Area project started in 2017 that aims to demonstrate the feasibility of powering local island transportation networks using fuels (hydrogen) produced by renewable energy and seawater on Tenerife, with no carbon footprint. An electrolyser is producing green hydrogen from seawater and solar power. Next, a hydrogen refuelling station and a fleet of converted hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for use on the island. The pilot plant is expected to be in operation by the beginning of October 2021. We anticipate that SEAFUEL will apply again in 2022 when the pilot is complete and fully operational.
2. Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic
We recognise that the pandemic is far from over, and as the World Health Organization rightly reminds us, we are not safe until we are all safe. It will take many more months before travel and holiday volumes recover to whatever the "new normal" will be. We are aware that many businesses and organisations in the travel and tourism sector have worked hard to sustain their employees and the communities in which they operate with really positive impacts around the world. Many of these efforts have involved others in their supply chain and consumers. We would like to recognise and draw attention to those who have successfully helped others, employees and neighbours alike, to weather the storm.
Gold: Exodus, Community Kickstart Project
Exodus provides adventure travel in partnership with local teams of leaders, operators, porters, drivers, and the communities around them who economically rely on tourism. The pandemic left them without income and often unable to feed their families. In October 2020, Exodus launched the Community Kickstart Project to help vulnerable communities recover, rebuild and get back on their feet while we wait for the world to open its doors again. Exodus Travels donated £10,000 to get the Community Kickstart Project started (via the Exodus Travels Foundation), and the generosity of our clients and partners raised a further £26,900, far surpassing our original target of £20k. The Community Kickstart Project has support 14 initiatives across three continents. Initiatives funded range from essential food supplies being distributed to Inca Trail porters to education catch up classes in Zambia and Masai women's empowerment training in Kenya in the face of increased domestic violence over the last year. Exodus subsequently launched a COVID Emergency Relief Appeal, focused on providing emergency food and health supplies to our trek staff and their families in India and Nepal which has raised £22,000 for the purchase of over six months' worth of food and health supplies for our 108 trek staff and their families in India and Nepal. Sufficient funds were raised to support tribal families around Kanha Tiger Reserve in India, and families who lost their homes and livelihoods in the recent flooding in Nepal.
The judges were particularly impressed by the way a specialist travel company severely impacted itself by the Covid pandemic, was able to engage staff and clients in demonstrating that some businesses and their travellers develop a commitment to the people and places they visit.
Silver: Akelada Hotel, Leaving No One Behind
The Akelada is a family-owned hotel in Thailand. Rather than close in the pandemic, they decided to maintain the livelihoods of their 20 hotel staff and their families. They took the opportunity to up-skill and re-skill their staff, increasing their knowledge and productivity and enhancing their sense of secure employment. Always procuring food locally in the pandemic, they pivoted to deliver meals to the community with a menu and price point that was more suitable for a takeaway while maintaining the quality and freshness of 'From Farm to Fork by Akelada Kitchen'. The hotel staff worked with the villagers to develop and sell handicrafts through Akelada's social media channels and encouraging domestic tourism working with four local villages to develop activities creating cultural exchanges between the host community and visitors. More on their sustainability initiatives.
Silver: TUI Care Foundation, Global Corona Relief Fund
In March 2020, the TUI Care Foundation launched the Corona Relief Fund to support communities in holiday destinations worldwide. This fund is structured to provide relief and support to communities whose livelihoods depend on tourism and are devastated by the global pandemic. The '100 Helping Hands Initiative' supported local organisations and social enterprises responding to the needs of communities, providing water, sanitation and hygiene, homeschooling, childcare, the distribution of emergency parcels and healthcare items, such as masks and sanitisers, for disadvantaged families. Their 'Food Security Initiative' targeted the most vulnerable tourism communities in Cape Verde, Mexico, Morocco, Egypt, Jamaica, Spain, Peru and Greece, providing food, meals and toiletries for disadvantaged people. With the support of local volunteers and TUI colleagues on the ground, the aid has reached over 24,000 people. The initiative also involves TUI's local holiday infrastructure, with TUI colleagues, jeeps and buses all playing their part in distributing the aid packages. By August 2021, 79,248 adults, young people and children had benefited from the relief programme. 50,000+ emergency packages/ vouchers/ food boxes were delivered. 1,000+ children and young people were enabled to continue their studies in safe environments. 87 local jobs were created, and 685 local jobs were maintained through the programme.
One to Watch: E-volunteering Cambodia
When the pandemic struck, peopleandplaces were no longer able to send volunteers to support the projects they have partnered with, providing skills transfer. Following a period of experimentation using Zoom and other platforms, peopleandplaces developed with their established partners and e-volunteering programme providing professional skills transfer, English language support, technical skills in gardening, science experiments and IT training. The judges were impressed by this innovative response to the pandemic and the plans to expand to other countries.
3. Destinations Building Back Better Post-Covid
In the Awards last year, we saw several destinations which were beginning to rethink the tourist volumes and market segments that they will attract post-Covid and some who were considering demarketing. The apparently inexorable increase in visitor numbers has been halted by the pandemic. Many destinations have had a "breather". A reminder of what their place was like before the hordes arrived. An opportunity to rethink tourism and perhaps to decide to use tourism rather than be used by it.
The judges recognised that this was both a difficult category to enter and to judge in the context of the global pandemic. They were unable to identify a Gold winner and found no less than four ones to watch, all of which they hope to see again soon when they are tried and tested.
Silver: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Gardens by the Bay restructured and reviewed its business processes, pivoting to meet the needs of the local domestic market, from retail to education and outreach. The Gardens shifted its content from onsite to online and providing landscape design and horticulture services to others. They intensified training to upskill and cross-train staff. They have created a digital platform to connect with youth and young adults to enable people to experience the Gardens or participate in various programmes - be it concerts, workshops or games - in a digital manner. They have reoriented to connect with the local domestic market through paid virtual workshops for the public, organised plant auctions and an eShop to connect with the public, enabling people to bring a slice of the Gardens home, such as terrariums, mini gardens and bespoke plant collections created by the Gardens' horticulturists.
Silver: German National Tourist Board, 'Feel Good' campaign
The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has launched an "Enjoy Sustainability" campaign offering a selection of destinations that meet sustainability criteria. "Unspoilt natural landscapes, fresh, surprising cuisine, competent and responsible hosts: those who travel sustainably are not only doing something good for the environment, but above all for themselves. … With our 10 Tips for a Sustainable Holiday, you can combine a good conscience with maximum holiday enjoyment on every trip. And with our CO2 Calculator you can determine the unavoidable emissions of your planned trip, so that your carbon footprint can remain as small as possible even on holiday." The GNYB have linked sustainability with good experiences and raised the visibility of local entrepreneurs committed to sustainability.
One to Watch: Barcelona
Barcelona is developing a new and unique tool to assist visitors and residents alike. "The new technological tool consists of a city guide with real-time information about how busy the tourist sites are and the availability of tickets." Turisme de Barcelona and the Barcelona City Council in partnership with the technology provider EureCat, have developed the new web app, Check Barcelona. The App enables visitors to check, in real-time, how busy different sites are and to manage their bookings following the safety protocols and to avoid places when they are congested. By empowering visitors and locals to make informed choices about when to visit, visitor satisfaction is expected to increase and contribute to managing tourism in the city by improving visitor flow. The App also facilitates access to public transport information. Launched in May 2021, the judges were impressed by this smart destination initiative which we expect will, once proven, be replicated in cities and national parks.
One to Watch: Geotourist and Historic Environment Scotland
Geotourist and Historic Environment Scotland's tour covers 14 points that span 3.5km in Holyrood Park. The digital audio trail is designed to disperse visitors away from the traditional 'pressure point' of Edinburgh's Royal Mile through immersive storytelling with sound effects, music and local dialect to give an authentic experience. As Geotourist is accessed via Smartphones, it did not need any traditional handsets, making it COVID safe and omitting the need for cleaning devices and no requirements for staffing of the site to provide access to the tour. "GeoTourist is your own personal tour guide for the world's most interesting attractions, landmarks and beyond. Based on your exact location access auto-play guided audio tours in multiple languages right on your smartphone."
One to Watch: Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Maldives, Divestream
Cinnamon Hotels provided intermediary care centres for COVID-positive patients at Cinnamon Red and Trinco Blu by Cinnamon. Through Divestream, 'broadcast' on YouTube, grounded tourists were invited to live out their travel dreams through the first immersive diving experience in the Maldives, providing a world-class virtual travel experience and promoting the Maldives as a diver's paradise. The series included live commentary from marine experts who educated audiences about what they were visually experiencing, how to dive and physically experience these locations, and the beauty of the deep sea without harm to any of its ecosystems. Divestream was an interactive experience with live chat. The campaign on Facebook and Youtube achieved 300,000 episode views, 500,000 episode views, and 897,400 video impressions. The brand received a 67.8% increase in website traffic, resulting in approximately 100 room nights and a 334% increase in revenue. In 2022 Divestream Season 2 will be delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, offering virtual access to the beauty of the oceans and strong messaging about what needs to be done to protect and preserve them.
One to Watch: Sarawak Tourism Board, Virtual Rainforest World Music Festival and Borneo Jazz Festival
Faced by the pandemic, Sarawak's Minister of Tourism explained their purpose "By going virtual, RWMF 2021 and BJF 2021 will allow devoted fans to relive and reminisce on the highlights of past editions, and give new audiences a glimpse of the festival and what makes them so special." Viewers were able to watch the performances, interviews and flashbacks and engage in conversation with other online users throughout the 90-minute event as well as access workshops from the virtual Bidayuh, Iban, Chinese and Malay houses. The Rainforest World Music Festival had 402,865 viewers from 79 countries and the Borneo Jaz Festival recorded 244,637 viewers from 43 different countries. In 2022 there are plans for hybrid festivals.
4. Increasing Diversity in Tourism: How Inclusive is our Industry?
We travel to experience other cultures, communities, and places. If everywhere was the same, why travel? Though we seek diversity through travel, we've noticed that diversity is not always reflected in the industry that helps others have such experiences. Diversity is a broad term: "identities include, but are not limited to, ability, age, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, intellectual differences, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation." We do not expect to find an organisation that has made demonstrable progress on all of these in the last few years. For our industry, it is about whom we employ at various levels, who we market to, the way we present the destinations we sell, the range of experiences we promote, and the stories we tell. How well do we reflect the diversity of the destinations we sell?
Gold: Accor Australia Indigenous Program
The judges were impressed by the way Accor has worked for twenty years at scale to create employment opportunities for the 798,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 3.3% of Australians Since 2001 Accor in Australia has run three programmes to benefit indigenous people focused on three pillars: Employment (70%), Career Development (20%) and Cultural Impact (10%). 439 indigenous people work for Accor, 3% of Accor's workforce, with more than 1750 new starters since 2015; 58% are still with Accor 24 months later. 15% of participants in Accor's leadership programmes are indigenous. They appointed their first Indigenous GM in 2016 and their second in 2018. Accor has invested $1m+ into Indigenous businesses through Accor Supply chain in the past ten years.
Silver: Crescent Rating
Fazal Bahardeen, founded CrescentRating in 2008 in a quest to make travel easier for Muslims. A leading authority on Halal Travel, CrescentRating provides insights, research, consultancy, training, rating, and destination marketing services to every sector of the tourism industry from Government bodies to hotels to make destinations accessible and welcoming for Muslim travellers. The "Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI)" is the globally recognised independent standard for the Muslim travel market. In 2014 CrescentRating launched the HalalTrip platform, and in 2015 launched research reports on the Muslim travel market. CrescentRating has encouraged the travel industry to cater to the needs of the Muslim market and embrace them as part of its visitor diversity initiatives.
Silver: MEJDI Travel Civil Rights and Red/Blue Tours
MEJDI offers an extensive programme of Dual Narrative tours™ in places of conflict, with a commitment to international diversity extendIng from the way tour leaders and destinations are selected to how tours are developed and promoted. In the context of the rising conflict in the U.S. and the co-founders, one Jewish American and the other a Palestinian, commitment to using travel as a vehicle for positive social change. MEJDI developed new Civil Rights Tours and The Blue/Red Divide Tours. The Civil Rights Legacy Tours include tracing the history and legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in the deep south from slavery and into the present day, giving their travellers the connections and experiences needed to gain a more diverse understanding through a socially conscious experience. The Blue/Red Divide Tour in Washington D.C. was developed to give travellers an in-depth look behind the curtain of American politics in the nation's capital with two guides - one conservative, one liberal, exploring challenging issues, and meeting with experts from both sides of the aisle to shed light on controversial topics and foster honest dialogue. During the pandemic MEJDI's offerings included a Live Stream show with diverse voices from around the world, a podcast and cultural cooking classes.
Silver: Wanderful Anti-Oppression Toolkit
Building An Inclusive Travel Industry With Justine Abigail Yu And Ariel Goldberg
Wanderful is a global lifestyle brand and inclusive community of thousands of women travellers and travel content creators, with chapters in 50 cities around the world, and a global hosting network where women can find, meet, and stay with each other whenever they travel. In 2020 they launched Moving Forward: An Anti-Racism Town Hall for the Travel Industry, a three-part event that included nearly 1,000 industry professionals and travel content creators to have real, challenging, and important conversations about how each of us -- especially Black content creators, non-Black creator allies, and members of the travel industry -- could work together to combat racism in travel. This was followed by Wanderful's Anti-Oppression Toolkit for Travel & Culture Creators, a free toolkit to help content creators across the industry to access important resources and information on how to write content with an anti-oppressive lens. It includes a glossary of terms to lay a strong foundation in understanding anti-oppression; a how-to series on practising diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of one's work; and additional resources to keep (un)learning - all through the lens of travel.
5. Reducing Plastic Waste in the Environment
The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the amount of single-use plastic, adding to the plastic waste crisis. Plastic waste is now entering the food chain of other species as well as ours. Once plastic enters watercourses, it ends in gyros of garbage in the oceans, on beaches and in the stomachs of fish we then eat. The industry needs to do more to reduce its use of single-use plastics and take responsibility and work with local communities and their governments to capture waste plastic with nets and floating barriers and upcycle it for as cobbles, furniture and crafts.
Gold: Six Senses Laamu, Maldives, Indian Ocean
At Six Senses Resort on The Maldivian island of Laamu, guests join a Sustainability Tour to see innovation and experimentation in action at their Earth Lab, their hub for self-sufficiency and zero waste. The resort has set itself the goal of becoming plastic-free in 2022. This includes all front of house plastics but also food packaging. One of their biggest challenges was the styrofoam boxes local fishers were using to store their catch in before bringing it to the resort, the staff worked with packaging suppliers and local fishers and now have food delivered to the resort in cardboard boxes lined internally with panels made of hemp, jute, and wood fibres, 100% biodegradable and compostable and eliminating 8,300 styrofoam boxes every year. Through reverse osmosis followed by ultraviolet purification, filtered saltwater is desalinated, cleaned and made suitable for showering and drinking in glass bottles. Their Leaf Garden provides 40 different herbs and greens, and the 'Kukulhu Village' provides eggs and chickens for their restaurants. By harvesting supplies on the island, the resort is able to significantly reduce plastic food packaging. They sell a plastic-free toolkit in the boutique, which includes a reusable water bottle, reusable bag, bamboo toothbrush, and wooden pencils. Guests are sent packing tips asking guests to leave single-use plastic products at home and take any plastic waste home where it can be better recycled. Abandoned fishing nets, washed up on the beach, are upcycled.
Fifty per cent of water sales in all Six Senses Laamu's restaurant outlets goes into a fund providing clean, reliable drinking water to local communities in need. Six Senses Laamu stands out for having installed enough water filters (97) in the local community to eliminate over 6,8 million plastic water bottles every year. They have also conducted over 200 beach and reef cleans- including submitting data to Project AWARE- and held education sessions for all members of the public on plastic pollution and waste management.
Silver: Accor Global
Accor has made significant progress in eliminating common single-use plastics from its operations. The group has achieved an impressive level of engagement in this initiative with 94% of Accor hotels worldwide aiming to eliminate all guest-related single-use plastic items in all hotels by the end of 2022. 72% offer an alternative to plastic water bottles. The mainstreaming of plastic reduction across the group's operations should encourage others to follow suit and start to change consumer expectations in this area.
Silver: PARKROYAL COLLECTION, Marina Bay, Singapore
The resort has taken a comprehensive approach to reduce plastic consumption, in 2020, they stopped using plastics and plastic packaging completely, such as straws, stirrers, carrier bags and are transitioning away from using plastic cup lids, switching to biodegradable options, saving around 73,000 plastic items a year. In the guest rooms, the hotel stopped used plastic packaging in 2020 and is transitioning to using dispensers, saving 1.19 million individual units of plastic packaging. By providing filtered water and refillable glass bottles, the hotel saves 360,000 plastic bottles yearly.
One to Watch: Diamond Resorts Europe
Diamond Resorts is a timeshare company with 92,000 resorts and 400,000 owners. In 2016 Diamond Resorts Europe switched to dispensers in rooms and, in 2017, set a target of reducing their consumption of single-use plastics by 50% within five years. They have launched 'The Globe Trotter Bottle Competition' to encourage members to purchase a reusable "We Are Water' drinks bottle and travel with it, avoiding consuming plastic bottles
One to Watch: Marine Dynamics
Marine Dynamics have long organised beach clean-ups and installed fishing line bins. Most recently, the organisation has worked with the municipality to design and develop a storm water drain net which was installed over a storm drain in Gansbaai to prevent plastic from entering the ocean. Stencils were placed on the drains in town with a message of "Don't Litter. The Sea Starts Here." Marine Dynamics has analysed the "waste catch" in the nets, 141.55 kg to date, and discovered that cigarette butts are the largest pollutant by number and plastic bags were the largest pollutant by weight.
6. Growing the Local Economic Benefit
There is still a place for CSR1.0 and philanthropy, as is evident from last year's Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic category. However, by adapting the way they do business, accommodation providers and tour operators can create additional market opportunities for local communities in their supply chains and create opportunities to sell goods and services directly to tourists. This diversifies the local economy and enriches the destination in both senses, creating additional livelihoods for locals and a richer range of activities, food and drink, and craft and art products for tourists. Destinations can assist these changes by, amongst other things, providing micro-finance, training and mentoring, creating marketplaces and performance spaces and providing marketing assistance.
Gold: Insight Vacations, Make Travel Matter
Insight Vacations, operating in 55 countries and selling in nine markets, is one of the brands in The Travel Corporation (TTC). For several years, TTC has been adding MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences that support employment opportunities for marginalised groups and promote local heritage to itineraries. This helps Insight Vacations spread local economic benefit, in line with its commitment to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is now at least one MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience on 90% of itineraries with 73 unique MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences across 124 itineraries in 17 countries in Europe, as well as Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, India, Nepal, and North and South America. In 2021, Insight Vacations launched a Wander Women itinerary to Venice & the Croatian Coast, the first women-only tour including 11 immersive MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences. The Treadright Foundation has published the criteria it uses to select the experiences linked to the SDGs, to demonstrate transparency and accountability, and to help other tour operators to do the same.
One to Watch: Laamaseelu Masveriya, Six Senses
Six Senses Laaamu has worked with the Blue Marine Foundation, funded by Six Senses, to launch the Laamaseelu Masveriya programme in 2020. Laamaseelu Masveriya means "Exemplary Fisherman" in Dhevhi, the local language. Local fishers sign a code of conduct with the resort, which commits them to fish sustainably, catching fish only of mature size, using non-destructive fishing methods, and not fishing in the voluntary no-take zones. In return, the Laamu Resort purchases its fish at competitive prices and provides discounted fishing gear and safety equipment. As the only resort and the largest consumer in the atoll, this is crucial to the security of local livelihoods and financially supporting local fishing communities. The group of fishers has grown from eight to eleven; collectively, they now supply all the resort's fish. The judges were very impressed by this initiative and hope to see it again when it has been operating for a few more years and replicated at other resorts. This is an excellent example of how conservation and local economic benefit can be combined.
One to Watch: Community Homestay Network
The Community Homestay Network works with communities in Nepal to develop and upgrade tourism experiences by increasing their retail value and promoting them globally on a digital platform selling both B2B and B2C. With a Booking Booster grant of €25,000 from booking.com, the Community Homestay Network has developed Project Koseli — working with eight pilot communities to produce 16 varieties of agro-based and handmade products. Five communities have been through the rigorous process of product development, and three communities have begun the process with capacity building training over the last year. Project Koseli has been critical in
diversifying the communities sources of income during the pandemic; as of April 2021, Project Koseli has generated € 8,711. There are plans to add 15 new communities and 30 new products marketing in Kathmandu and internationally. The judges see this as an inspiring example of securing financial resilience for communities so that they are not entirely dependent on tourism and hope to see it again when it has been operating for a further year or two.