Botswana among winners of the 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

This is a major award and I am happy for Botswana.  In the name of full disclosure, we must add that several groups for indigenous people are bothered by this award.  The reason is that The Botswana government has banned the Bushmen from using a borehole which they rely on for water, despite a 2006 High Court ruling that said they have the right to live on their ancestral lands inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The US State Department’s latest human rights report criticized the government for its ‘continued narrow interpretation’ of the ruling. At the same time as denying Bushmen water, the government has drilled new boreholes for wildlife and allowed the opening of a Wilderness Safaris tourist lodge in the reserve, complete with bar and swimming pool for tourists. Wilderness Safaris was also nominated for one of the awards.

(  – The four winners of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were announced today during the 10th Global Travel & Tourism Summit at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China. Of the 12 finalists, Emirates Hotels & Resorts, Whale Watch Kaikoura, Accor, and Botswana Tourism Board, were crowned the winners for their successful work in advancing sustainable tourism best practices in different parts of the world.

“We are seeing a new horizon in the global travel and tourism industry where more and more companies and destinations, both large and small, are leading the way forward in demonstrating that tourism can be an opportunity for protecting our planet and delivering tangible social and economic benefits at the local, national, and international level. We are in a global transformation of the travel and tourism industry as we have known it. With these awards we commend these innovation and successes in sustainable best practices,” said Costas Christ, chairman of the judges for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

Botswana Tourism Board is awarded the Destination Stewardship Award for its “low-volume – high-yield” approach to tourism in the Okavango Delta – an internationally-recognized Ramsar Site (ODRS) and particularly for the legislative framework put in place and ecotourism standards to ensure proper management of one of the world most iconic nature travel destinations. Today, sustainable tourism in the Okavango employs 34 percent of the adult population in the area, while protecting the largest inland wetland in the world for future generations.

“We are truly honored to win this award as the world recognizes our efforts in protecting the Okavango and its vast population of wildlife. As well as motivating us to look for new ways to improve tourism and conservation in our country, we hope it can inspire other countries to do similar work to protect their natural heritage,” said Myra Sekgororoane, chief executive officer, Botswana Tourism Board.

“For many years, WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have recognized the highest achievements in sustainable tourism among businesses and destinations around the world and across the full spectrum of the travel and tourism industry,” said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Committee. “These four awards are helping to set the standard for future developments in sustainable tourism as a positive opportunity for our planet and its diverse cultural and natural heritage.”

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organized in association with Travelport and the Travel Corporation’s Conservation Foundation.

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