New Zealand Reigns Supreme In Responsible Tourism

Tourism NZFor Immediate Release – November 11, 2009

SANTA MONICA, CA – For the second year running, New Zealand has taken the top spot at the prestigious Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards.

Whale Watch Kaikoura was named as overall winner at the awards, announced Tuesday at the 30th anniversary of the World Travel Market, held annually in London. They also won the marine environment category.

YHA Wellington City was also announced as winner of the best large hotel/accommodation category.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton is thrilled by their victories. “This is a fantastic achievement for Whale Watch Kaikoura, YHA Wellington City and for New Zealand,” says Hickton. “For New Zealand operators to have featured in the Responsible Travel Awards again this year shows our industry’s strong commitment to the environment and local communities.”

The panel of judges declared Whale Watch Kaikoura the overall winner for developing a tourism initiative from the ground up. The awards are nominated by tourists and recognize individuals, companies and organizations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the culture and economies of local communities and are providing a positive contribution to biodiversity conservation.

The judging process includes analysis from a panel of 13 judges including interviews and consultation from an international network of contacts and organizations with responsible tourism expertise and knowledge in specific destinations.

Justin Francis, founder of The Responsible Tourism Awards and managing director of award organizers responsibletravel.com, says despite the recession the nominations were impressive. “In this, the sixth year of the Awards, organizations continue to come up with innovative ideas around responsible tourism that ensure local communities and environments benefit from tourism as much as possible. The money may have dried out a little in the past year but the passion, ingenuity and creativity certainly hasn’t,” he said.

Founded by responsibletravel.com the Awards are run in association with headline sponsor, Virgin Holidays and partners World Travel Market, The Daily Telegraph and Geographical Magazine.

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Contact: Ruth Atherley
AHA Creative Strategies
Ph: (604) 303-1052
E: ruth@ahacreative.com

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