National Geographic World Legacy Awards in New Location @ ITB Berlin

Innovative travel companies, organisations and destinations putting sustainability into action to be recognised in a prestigious ceremony for the third consecutive year

This year at ITB Berlin, the World Legacy Award Ceremony will take place on 8th March at 4:00 pm in the Palais am Funkturm, the new official awards venue of ITB Berlin.

The World Legacy Awards, a partnership between National Geographic and ITB Berlin, showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organisations and destinations — ranging from entire countries to small islands and from urban hotels to jungle retreats — driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the global travel industry. This year’s World Legacy Awards entries spanned the planet, representing 45 countries and six continents, showcasing how sustainable tourism has no boundaries. Finalists in five award categories were selected in December by an international team of more than 20 judges. A multi-step judging process also included on-site inspections of each finalist.

Costas Christ, Chairman of National Geographic World Legacy Awards, said, “We have reached a tipping point as more of the travel industry understands that there can be no future for tourism without sustainability, including environmentally-friendly business practices, protection of cultural and natural heritage, and tangible social and economic benefits to local people in travel destinations. Those countries and companies that understand this today will be the travel leaders of tomorrow. These 15 World Legacy Awards nalists are showing the way forward to a brighter future for people and the planet.”

Rika Jean-François, CSR Commissioner for ITB Berlin said: “The World Legacy Awards, which are about to be held for the third time, have established themselves as highly prestigious for the global travel industry. The nalists will be introduced on ITB Wednesday to a truly international audience and the winners will be announced on the spot. We are also happy to invite the nalists to present their innovative solutions to an international audience at our renown CSR Day on Friday. ITB Berlin is strongly heightening awareness of the important issue of sustainability and responsibility in tourism and has also recently become a member of GSTC, the Global Criteria for Sustainable Tourism.”

Mr Christ says the importance of responsible tourism is growing as the number of international travellers continues to rise. “In 1950, there were 25 million international tourist arrivals. Last year, there were more than 1 billion international travellers, and that number is expected to nearly double within the next 15 years, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. In short, there are more travellers, more places to go, and more ways to get there than ever before. With that comes an even greater responsibility to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. Tourism can be a threat or an opportunity to people and the planet. It becomes a positive opportunity to support and improve local peoples’ livelihoods and protect biodiversity, by embracing and supporting  sustainable tourism practices.”

The involvement of the National Geographic organisation is underpinned, according to the Mr Christ, by several elements: “At National Geographic, we believe in the power of travel to make the world a better place based upon the three pillars of sustainable
tourism: environmentally- friendly practices; support for protecting cultural and natural heritage; and direct social and economic bene ts to local people… all combined together in an incredible and meaningful travel experience.”