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Heather Wyatt
(917) 952-8679
[email protected]
National Geographic Announces World Legacy Awards Finalists
Finalists are travel companies, organizations and destinations that are driving
positive transformation of the global tourism industry
WASHINGTON (Oct. 29, 2014)—The 15 finalists of the inaugural National Geographic World
Legacy Awards were unveiled on stage today at ITB Asia in Singapore. The World Legacy Awards, a
partnership between National Geographic Society and ITB Berlin, showcase the leading travel and tourism
companies, organizations and destinations — ranging from historic monuments to ecolodges and from
small islands to entire countries — that are driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the travel
industry based on National Geographic’s work of inspiring people to care about the planet.
More than 150 World Legacy Awards entries were received, representing 56 countries and six
continents. Finalists in five award categories were selected by an international team of 18 judges who are
experts in sustainable travel and who are now conducting on-site inspections of the finalists. For details on
the judges, go to
The National Geographic World Legacy Awards finalists are:
Earth Changers — Recognizing cutting-edge leadership in environmentally friendly business
practices and green technology, from renewable energy and water conservation to zero-waste
systems and carbon-emission reduction.
The Brando, Tahiti — Pacific Beachcomber Resorts worked hand in hand with the family of
Marlon Brando to bring to life the late actor and conservationist’s dream to create a luxury ecoresort that also serves as a global scientific marine research center and a model for innovative
green technologies while fostering the preservation of Polynesian cultural and natural heritage
for future generations.
Orange County Resorts, India — With two hotels in southern India’s high biodiversity zones,
Orange County educates travelers, local communities and government municipalities on
sustainable development practices, including elimination of plastics, recycling of glass and
metals, water conservation and alternative energy.
Nikoi Island, Indonesia — A two-hour boat ride from Singapore, Nikoi operates on less than
one quarter of the energy consumption considered “excellent” by the sustainable standards of
the International Tourism Partnership for hotels operating in the tropics. It also maximizes
sustainable design for natural ventilation and incorporates community education on
environmentally friendly practices.
Sense of Place — Recognizing excellence in enhancing sense of place and authenticity, including
support for the protection of historical monuments, archaeological sites, cultural events,
indigenous heritage and artistic traditions.
Fogo Island Inn, Canada — Designed to celebrate the rural heritage of this remote island in
Newfoundland, Fogo Island Inn works closely with local communities to celebrate cultural
heritage, ranging from participating in traditional village sing-a-longs to learning about
handcrafted boat building. During their stay, guests team up with “community hosts” who take
them around the island to experience the local way of life.
Cavallo Point Lodge, United States — By transforming Fort Baker from an old military
barracks into a thriving sustainable tourism lodge, the owners of Cavallo Point also restored an
important national park monument, including preserving 17 major historic buildings in their
original design as a focal point of San Francisco’s heritage located next to the Golden Gate
Gwaii Haanas National Reserve, Canada — This partnership between the indigenous Haida
people of British Columbia and Parks Canada includes collaborating to inventory 500 ancient
indigenous settlement and sacred sites. The project also includes working with Haida elders to
record oral histories and protect other cultural traditions that provide an enriching and
authentic travel experience for visitors.
Conserving the Natural World — Recognizing outstanding support for the preservation of nature,
restoring natural habitat and protecting rare and endangered species, whether on land or in the
Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile — Situated in the Andean Patagonian rain forest,
Huilo Huilo is a private-sector conservation and community development project that has
protected more than 247,100 acres of high-biodiversity habitat once threatened by the timber
industry and home to a number of rare and endangered species, including the Andean huemul
andBeyond, East and Southern Africa — An experiential travel company dedicated to
conservation, andBeyond successfully translocated six rhinos from its Phinda Private Game
Reserve into the Okavango Delta in 2013 as part of its “Rhinos Without Borders” initiative in
partnership with other tourism stakeholders to help save this iconic species on the brink of
Conservation Ecology Centre, Australia — Based in Cape Otway and working in
partnership with the Great Ocean Ecolodge, the Centre is at the forefront of protecting
threatened endemic species native to Australia — including the koala and the rare tiger quoll
— through habitat restoration and research.
Engaging Communities — Recognizing direct and tangible economic and social benefits that
improve local livelihoods, including training and capacity building, fair wages and benefits,
community development, health care and education.
Feynan Ecolodge, Jordan — All staff at Feynan, located in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, are
from rural Bedouin communities who have been trained in hospitality management. In addition,
80 percent of the lodge supplies come from nearby communities to advance local economic
benefits. The Feynan guest experience provides a unique opportunity to learn about authentic
Bedouin culture.
Mukul Resort, Nicaragua — Working closely with rural villagers along Nicaragua’s Emerald
Coast, Mukul provides ongoing education, training and capacity building to improve local
livelihoods through sustainable tourism. In addition to providing training and employment for
nearly 500 local residents, Mukul is also partnering with the nonprofit organization Nica Agua
to provide ceramic clean drinking water filters to local households.
Tropic Journeys in Nature, Ecuador — A pioneer in community-based tourism in Ecuador,
Tropic Journeys started working 20 years ago in the Ecuadorean Amazon with the indigenous
Huaorani people. Today, the Huaorani Ecolodge is run by 80 Huaorani employees who set
their own wages and manage the day-to-day business on their own, sharing the skills they
have learned with other Huaorani community members.
Destination Leadership — Recognizing destination leadership, including cities, provinces, states,
countries and regions that are demonstrating environmental best practices, protection of cultural
and natural heritage, benefits to local communities and educating travelers on the principles of
Aruba Tourism Board, Caribbean — Setting an example of what is possible to combat global
climate change, Aruba has invested heavily in alternative energy, including extensive wind and
solar systems now in place, with the goal of becoming the world’s first country to operate 100
percent fossil-fuel-free by 2020. Its smart growth model also encourages “walkable
destinations” to reduce reliance on automobiles.
Delaware North Yosemite, United States — The GreenPath program of Delaware North
Yosemite provides visitors to this iconic destination with lodging, food and recreational
activities while adhering to five key sustainability indicators — healthy food, healthy living,
guest education, environmental stewardship and green operations — across their concession
Val d’Aran, Spain — A public-private partnership in the central Pyrenees mountains of
Catalonia, Val d’Aran is a popular winter and summer vacation destination that also focuses on
protecting cultural and natural history by working with local villagers to safeguard their culinary
and other traditions, and with wildlife researchers working to protect different species, including
the European brown bear.
Costas Christ, chairman of National Geographic World Legacy Awards, said, “Sustainable tourism
is evolving from a niche trend to a true global transformation of how the travel and tourism industry
operates and what impacts it has on the people and places that travelers visit. The World Legacy Awards
are about celebrating that transformation, pushing it to the cutting edge of leadership today, as
represented by these 15 finalists and others around the world who share their passion for doing well by
doing good.”
The winners will be announced at a gala at the World Legacy Awards Ceremony in March 2015 at
ITB Berlin. Finalists and winners will also be featured in National Geographic Traveler magazine and other
National Geographic media.
The sponsors of the World Legacy Awards are Adventure World, Nomadic Expeditions and
TreadRight Foundation. For more information on the World Legacy Awards, go to
About the National Geographic Society
With a mission to inspire, illuminate and teach, the National Geographic Society is one of the
world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. The member-supported Society, which
believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world, reaches over 600 million
people each month through its media platforms, products and events. National Geographic has funded
more than 11,000 research, conservation and exploration projects, and its education programs promote
geographic literacy. For more information, visit
About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention
ITB Berlin 2015 will take place from March 4 to March 9. From the Wednesday to the Friday, ITB
Berlin is open to trade visitors only. The ITB Berlin Convention is held parallel with the trade fair, from the
Wednesday to the Friday. It is the world’s largest specialist convention for the industry. More details are
available at ITB Berlin is the leading trade fair for the worldwide travel industry.
In 2014 a total of 10,147 companies and organisations from 189 countries exhibited their products and
services to 174,000 visitors, who included 114,000 trade visitors.
About ITB Asia 2014
ITB Asia 2014 will take place at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, from
29-31 October 2014. It is organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore) Pte Ltd and supported by the Singapore
Exhibition & Convention Bureau. The event will feature hundreds of exhibiting companies from the AsiaPacific region, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, covering not only the leisure market, but
also corporate and MICE travel. Exhibitors from every sector of the industry, including destinations,
airlines and airports, hotels and resorts, theme parks and attractions, inbound tour operators, inbound
DMCs, cruise lines, spas, venues, other meeting facilities and travel technology companies are all
expected to attend.