Buzzword Bingo: Award

related: communication, contest, gameification, marketing
other awards: rtawards, world legacy awards
flickr: awards
editing: Awards

This page - warning: information dump ! - explores various awards in the tourism and conservation spheres.
This page also features an essay from Black Sheep Inn about their experiences with awards.
Are all awards prestigious? Read on!


10 Best Responsible Tourism Awards
Ethical awards: green wash or genuinely recognising sustainability?


I used to think that awards were just shallow tokens of momentary popularity, but now I realize they are the only true measure of a person's real worth as a human being,
- Jon Cryer, on winning his 2009 Emmy

On our wishlist

  • we would like to see awards provide more transparency -
  • show who has been nominated and who has been shortlisted in a timely manner.
  • nominees should have a section for comments
  • awards should encourage interaction among nominees, among judges, among voters
  • for tourism events, the winner should be known in advance and the event conducted on the first day of a conference.
  • when possible such ceremonies should be webcast with live streaming video with recordings online for on demand viewing.
  • we'd like to see a more thorough evaluation of individual awards over time.


prestigious award - Google News


How are awards evaluated?
Do we measure the impact, the reach of an award?
Do awards for individual achievement do more harm than good?
Has anyone outside an organization written an independent history of awards?
Do awards generate actual business?
How green are the green tourism awards?
Are awards a substitute or alternative for certification?
If the award goes to a destination or operator, is there a site visit?
When are finalists notified? When are those not chosen notified?
Does the award program provide updated information about past winners?
Does the award offer a cash incentive?
Does the award create an incentive for others to improve their practices?
Does international recognition help build national recognition?
How do award organizers engage potential nominees?
How do award organizers engage nominees?
How widely is the announcement circulated?
Does the award have internal evaluation?
Does the award have external evaluation?
How do awards change over time?
How is the award financed?
What is the best way to offer constructive criticism of the award?

UNWTO Tourism Awards
Are there supporting materials that provide a deep dive into the winner's work?
What are the websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts associated with the winners?Is there an online video of the award presentation? If there is a video, can it freely be embedded on other websites?

Spotlight on the Responsible Tourism Awards


Logo: 2010 Innovation Award Winner: Ron Mader


Planeta Awards

Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award - Presentation in September at Oregon Ecotourism Conference (2009-?)

Ron's 2010 Award

Innovation Award 2010 Innovation Award Finalist: Ron Mader


Black Sheep Inn CRITIQUE and participation in AWARDS and CERTIFICATION

There are many eco/sustainable/responsible awards out there and they intend to promote businesses and operations who are doing good work with recognition and creditability, but sometimes the awards are simply a way for industry professionals to pat each other on the back.

"You can't win if you don't enter"
Here is a list of awards that the Black Sheep Inn, Ecuador has participated in:

UNWTO Ulysses Prize & Awards 2011
Ashoka ChangeMakers
Conde Nast Traveler Environmental Awards
(DRV) International Environmental Award
Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award
UNDP Equator Prize
International Hotel & Restaurant Association Awards
TO DO! International Contest on Socially Responsible Tourism
World Leisure International Innovation Prize

Black Sheep Inn won or was a finalist of the awards marked with an indentation above.

Here is the irony of awards and certification: Black Sheep Inn has been outspoken against ecotourism certification for several reasons:
  1. There is not a proven demand. When a consumer is purchasing a product that they going to eat they often look for an outside certification which will guarantee that the product is free of pesticides, chemicals etc. But when traveling a consumer will first choose where they are going and what they are going to do based attractions, climate, services, activities etc. A traveler discovers easily when a company or hotel is green-washed and when one is genuinely ecological. For instance, should a tourist book a room at the Black Sheep Inn solely because they want use a composting toilet or because they want to hike in the Andes?
  2. Eco-Certification is costly. Why should a hotel that is genuinely managing its property in a sustainable ecological way pay money to an outside institution for a pat on the back. Typically tourists will find more Eco-Certifications among the large hotel chains who can afford the programs. These Eco-Certification programs do help conserve energy, water and promote better practices, but not best practices or real eco-living examples.
  3. Certification is not geared toward small and medium sized businesses and has a tendency to make generic the unique features of small businesses with standardization.

So why does Black Sheep Inn participate in so many different awards?
  1. Awards are free and often provide a better consumer confidence than certification.
  2. Awards sometimes pay out financially.
  3. Awards are less intrusive, often without inspections
  4. Awards often highlight and honor quirkiness and individuality.

Black Sheep Inn has also been critical of awards because:
  1. They not transparent.
  2. Do not have qualified judging panels or fair voting practices.
  3. Sometimes are given by institutions in order to make the donor institution look better.

As stated above, sometimes awards are simply a way for industry professionals to pat each other on the back. There are so many awards out there. Everybody is giving them to everyone. Black Sheep Inn enters any award that they hear about, often by cutting and pasting written material that they have about their best practices and sending in the application. Black Sheep Inn also jokes about offering their own eco award because it is another way of qualifying itself to the public.

Maybe there should be a certification panel to certify the awards...


Book of the Year (2006-2009)
Colibri Ecotourism Award - Announcement made in June for World Environment Day (2000-2010)


Reflections on Awards
Ecotourism Spotlight Award

Ron's Work with Awards (English-Spanish)


Ron is no stranger to awards. Since 2001 Ron has judged the the World Savers Awards for Conde Nast Traveler.

Ron also has created several awards, including the Ecotourism Spotlight Award given to government websites and the Colibri Ecotourism Award given to a leader working in Mexico.

Since 2007 Ron has worked with the Convention for Biological Diversity in the creation of the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award.


Ron no es ajeno a los premios. Desde 2001, Ron ha juzgado los World Savers Awards para Conde Nast Traveler.

Ron varios premios también ha creado, incluyendo el Ecotourism Spotlight Award dado a los sitios del gobierno y el Premio de Ecoturismo Colibri dado a un líder de trabajo en México.

Desde 2007, Ron ha trabajado con la Convención para la Diversidad Biológica en la creación del premio Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award.







Responsible Tourism Awards

Conde Nast

Tourism for Tomorrow

Intercultural Innovation Award

Kenton Miller Award for Innovation in Protected Areas Management
Empowering indigenous people in protected areas

Helena Norberg-Hodge to Receive the 2012 Goi Peace Award

Established in Tokyo, Japan in 1999, the Goi Peace Foundation is a public benefit organization with a mission to support the evolution of humanity toward a peaceful and harmonious new civilization. Through various educational and outreach programs, it promotes consciousness, values and wisdom for creating peace, and builds cooperation among individuals and organizations across diverse fields, including education, science, culture and the arts. The Foundation is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It also maintains official relations with UNESCO.

Helena Norberg-Hodge to Receive the 2012 Goi Peace Award
The economics of happiness

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat has won the Virtuoso Sustainable Tourism Leadership Awards (2012), for its outstanding leadership and commitment to sustainable tourism principles

Online Journalism Awards
The Online News Association and the University of Miami School of Communication have launched the 2012 the Online Journalism Awards recognizing excellence in digital reporting. This year's contest features 11 categories - public service, general excellence, technical innovation, breaking news, planned news/events, explanatory reporting, topical reporting, online commentary, feature, investigative journalism and non-English projects.


The 2012 TravelMole Web Awards will take place on September 26th at the Doubletree Tower Bridge in the heart of London. Now in its ninth year this year’s awards have been expanded by two additional categories Business Travel and Sports Travel and Tourism. Nominations will begin this week commencing July 23rd and will close on Friday 31st August. The shortlist will be announced Monday 10th September. As always the judging is completely independent of TravelMole and during the course of the awards nomination period we will announce who the judges are.®ion=2

TIES Innovation Award Winners Announced

TravelMole -
The Travelmole Web Awards swill take place at the Canadian High Commission in London on June 17.

Nominations are now open for the Responsible Tourism Awards 2010 organised by and sponsored by Virgin Holidays.

13 categories, 13 judges, 1000s of tourism organisations, and countless travel experiences just waiting to be celebrated. Since 2004 the Awards, organised by, have called on travellers to nominate the very best organisations, the most dedicated individuals and the most committed destinations in the tourism industry to be recognised for the most prestigious Awards of their kind in the world.

The Awards recognise individuals, companies and organisations 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.

Make your nomination by Monday 14th June and be in with the chance to win an unforgettable trip to the Masai Mara and Rift Valley of Africa for you and a friend, staying at the Governors' Camp!

So what are you waiting for? Make a nomination at

Responsible Tourism Awards - linkedin
Can we make suggestions for improving the Responsible Tourism Awards?

I'd like to see increased transparency -- meaning a more public display of nominees (preferably inviting comment and dialogue) and the announcement of winners at least one month before the ceremony. Keeping the shortlist and winners secret does not improve the dialogue nor the ability to generate business from the awards. Just my thoughts. Thanks for the opportunity to voice this outloud! less…

Cape Town - The city was honored to be recognised as the “Best Destination” in the 2009 Responsible Tourism Awards. However, we still have a lot of work to do before we are truly living by the principles of responsible tourism and helping all visitors enjoy our destination as responsible travelers: we still have a long road to travel. This website shares information on our journey to date, what is happening now, our plans for the future, and ways that all stakeholders can join in.


DRV - EcoTrophea
Geotourism Challenge - Ashoka
World Savers Awards - Conde Nast Traveler - 2007
ECOCLUB Ecolodge
Guardian Green Travel - -
Imvelo Awards -
New Zealand Tourism Industry Awards - twitter -
Responsible Tourism - Press -
Responsible Travel - Facebook
Skal - Skal Ecotourism Award
Tourism Cares for Tomorrow
Tourism Industry Awards (New Zealand)
Victorian Tourism Awards (Australia)
Welcome Awards (South Africa)
Wild Asia's Responsible Tourism Awards

World Legacy Awards

world legacy awards

World Travel Awards

world travel awards

Eturbo Honest Awards

VESTAS: Vision Destinet European Sustainable Tourism Awards

Kudu Awards (South Africa)

South African National Parks (SANParks) envisions making the National Parks system the pride and joy of all South Africans and the world, through developing and managing a system of national parks that represents the biodiversity, landscapes, and associated heritage assets of South Africa for the sustainable use and benefit of all. In 2003 SANParks thought of creating an opportunity for recognizing and rewarding excellence in conservation by external stakeholders, and so the Kudu Award was born.


Goldman Prize
Rolex Awards for Enterprise
The DRV International Environmental Award


National Awards for Local Government (Australia)


Biodiversity Reporting
Society of Environmental Journalists


Dewey Award - SXSW
Right Livelihood - - facebook


Australian of the Year (Australia)
Loerie (South Africa)


Lente de Plata

Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Launched on February 29, 2008, Qantas is committed to supporting tourism businesses that protect, enhance and promote our distinctive destinations and environment. The annual awards recognize and reward tourism businesses that implement the principles of sustainable tourism. Inspire other tourism businesses to adopt new sustainable ways of doing business. Each year, Qantas selects a national winner who receives a prize of $AUD25,000 to be invested in an initiative in-line with the philosophy of the award.

Manaakitanga Awards

The Manaakitanga Awards is New Zealand’s newest hospitality awards and focuses exclusively on businesses in the Rodney District, north of Auckland. Created in collaboration with Rodney District Council and supported by Tourism Auckland, the Manaakitanga Awards shine a spotlight on businesses and individuals of distinction to receive the recognition they deserve.

Tourism for Tomorrow

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards


Only Two Weeks Left to Submit Your Nominations for the 2013 Champions of the Earth Awards
Only two weeks remain for nominations for the 2013 Champions of the Earth, the United Nations' flagship environment award that recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the environmental field. Winners will be announced at a high-profile and prestigious Award Ceremony in May 2013 in New York City.
Individuals who have made a significant contribution globally, regionally and beyond, to the protection and sustainable management of the environment and natural resources, may be nominated no later than 30 November 2012. Persons may nominate themselves, their own organizations, or a third party whom they believe should receive recognition.
Click **here** to nominate your Champion of the Earth
The 2013 Champions of the Earth Awards will recognize exemplary leaders in the following categories:
Policy Leadership
Science and Innovation
Entrepreneurial Vision
Inspiration and Action

Check out the full list of previous laureates of the UNEP Champions of the Earth at


For its fifth anniversary, ECOCLUB launched its own Ecolodge Award. ECOCLUB Members were asked to choose by email vote from project proposals submitted by Ecolodges around the world. Presenting the award at a live on-line event, ECOCLUB Founder, Antonis B. Petropoulos, noted that the award "aims to verify the implementation of meaningful small-scale projects, by existing, successful, genuine Ecolodges, selected in a democratic fashion. ECOCLUB believes that genuine Ecotourism should be self-sustained, and supported from within, from its roots, rather than from governmental organisations and charities that arbitrarily splash out millions to the wrong hands, without even following up, and in so doing encourage corruption."

International Award for Sustainable Tourism

The International Award for Sustainable Tourism is awarded to establishments that meet international standards of sustainability and environmental behavior containing defense and socio-cultural values of the environment.
In awarding the International Award for Sustainable Tourism, presented by the experts that make up the Council of the ITR, It tries to show examples of good practice in sustainable tourism to the society.


World Challenge
Lulu Blooker Prize
Telly- Tubbies - Maine Web Report
Ecotourism company makes the Green List - Melissa DeVaughn/ADN


Ecotourism AwardIndigenous Cultural Tourism AwardClimate Action AwardWilliam Angliss EcoGuide Award of Excellence


Ecotourism Spotlight Award


Awards encourage good practices and can do a great job of prompting and maintaining meaningful conversations.

to me the awards could be more effective if they paid less attention to the drama (who will win?!) and make the announcements early enough so that tickets could be purchased and networking set in motion

It takes some time for awards to be recognized among likely candidates and the interested public.

imagine the acceptance speech for the 'humility award'


Up and Coming Social Media Services


Shorty Awards
I nominate @ronmader for a Shorty Award in #travel because...!/WA_Discovery/status/170192723729580033!/tourBlogging/status/170209712682434561!/jennyemorgan/status/170189865479176193!/shortyvotes/status/170180140154896384

How do I vote?

  • To vote, send a tweet like this: I nominate @TwitterUser for a Shorty Award in #category because [add reason here]. You can do this using the form on our site, from Twitter itself, or from any Twitter client.
  • You can also send shorter votes like this: #shortyawards @username #category [add reason here]. This short format is helpful when you want to vote from a party, on the road, in a meeting, or on a boat.
  • A tweet that ends in "because..." will not be counted.
  • Vote for as many different people as you want in as many categories as you want, as often as you want.
  • Only one person and one category per tweet.
  • Voting for the same person in the same category more than once just replaces the text of your original vote.
  • You can vote in any of the Featured Categories, or make up a category of your own. If a new category becomes popular, it might be turned into an Featured Category.
Read more →

Equator Prize

The Equator Initiative is pleased to announce its call for nominations for the Equator Prize 2014, which will recognize twenty-five (25) local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.
All winning initiatives will receive US $5,000, with several selected for “special recognition” and a total of US $20,000 each. Representatives of all winning communities will be supported to participate in events during the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in New York in September 2014.
For more information please click on the following link


embedded tweets