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Gold Winners in London!

UPDATE 28 JULY 2015  -  

It has been an amazing year.  We have just been notified that we are finalists in the People's Choice Award at the World Responsible Tourism Awards this year.   This time it is the public who choose a winner from nine of us from around the world who have all been previous winners.   Being shortlisted in this group is amazing - and thank you to everyone who voted for us!

We are so excited!  On 5 November 2014 Echidna Walkabout won Gold for Best for Wildlife Conservation in the World Responsible Tourism Awards at the World Travel Market in London.

We were already thrilled to be nominated by our guests for the Best for Wildlife Conservation Category.  200 were longlisted from the 2000+ nominees from around the world, and then there were just 24 of us shortlisted in these prestigious global awards.   We were only Australian business in the shortlist.

Wild female Koala Karen

Judges’ comments: “Echidna are committed to reaching both eco-travellers and mainstream tourists recognising that, only by changing the attitudes of large numbers of people can we save our wildlife.

They guide 6,000 visitors a year and, using the nature experience, their guides help to create connections between tourists and the koalas without any touching or disturbance.

Over the last 16 years Echidna has been reporting annually on wild koala behaviour, social relationships, home range size and tree usage”.

 

The Best for Wildlife Conservation category is awarded to a tourism business or initiative that preserves and carefully manages habitat and wildlife species.

One of two categories in 2014 focusing on animals in tourism, the focus of Best for Wildlife Conservation is on holiday providers, whether operators or conservation organisations committed to the conservation of habitats and animals in the wild and using tourism to achieve conservation objectives.

This might include wildlife watching experiences, nature trails, places to stay or other holidays which otherwise benefit wildlife and habitats. 

Previous wildlife and habitat winners include Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile; Zealandia, New Zealand; and Great Plains Conservation, South Africa.

What the Judges wanted:  Integration of great holiday experiences with progressive and sustainable programmes in wildlife and habitat conservation, measures of success and ideas which can be adapted and developed by tourism providers around the world.

 

More about these Awards and why they are so important for us at Echidna Walkabout -

We were nominated by our guests.   "The awards rely on travellers and the industry to nominate those tourism ventures with exciting stories to share. This makes our Awards unique - we don't pre-decide the winners, we let you tell us who should be in the running. Every year we team up with our media partners to invite the public to make their nominations, and every year this process yields hundreds of unique nominees.  All it takes for someone to be considered for an Award is one nomination in any of our 11 categories. Only one nomination is enough to be entered. 

Once all the nominations are received the judging process really begins – several stages designed with the International Centre for Responsible Tourism to put our nominees through their paces. At each stage the list gets shorter, until our expert panel of judges are ready to combine their knowledge to debate the winners on our annual Judging Day.

The Responsible Tourism Awards were founded in 2004 to celebrate and inspire change in the tourism industry. The Awards rest on a simple principle – that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people.  We want to celebrate the shining stars of responsible tourism – the individuals, organisations and destinations working innovatively with local cultures, communities and biodiversity. 

But more than that, we want their examples to inspire others. That’s why we’ve got the most rigorous judging process around, and work with the best partners in the industry to help us get the word out – to ensure that their stories provide an example to the industry".  Responsible Travel

This is the 11th year of the World Responsible Tourism Awards, which were founded to celebrate and inspire change in the tourism industry.  They have grown to be the largest and most respected responsible tourism awards in the world! Since they were founded in 2004, the Awards have attracted over 12,000 nominations from members of the public, leading to 201 unique organisations Awarded from 51 countries around the world.