Ecuador’s leading purveyor of extraordinary experiences, Tropic Journeys in Nature (Tropic), walked away from ITB Berlin in March as one of five winners in the National Geographic Society’s 2015 National Geographic World Legacy Award.
Jascivan Carvalho, innovative entrepreneur and owner, accepted the award on behalf of Tropic (http://www.destinationecuador.com/) that submitted its vision and strategy and results in the Engaging Communities category. A pioneer in community-based tourism in Ecuador, Tropic started working 20 years ago in the remote Ecuadorean Amazon with the indigenous Huaorani people. Today, Huaorani Ecolodge is operated by Huaorani community members who set their own wages and manage the day-to-day business, sharing the skills they have learned with other Huaorani indigenous communities. Tropic is now continuing its successful community-based tourism model on Floreana Island in the Galápagos.
The Engaging Communities award recognizes 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.
The winners in the other four categories were Orange County Resorts, India – Earth Changers; Cavallo Point Lodge, US (California) – Sense of Place; Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile – Conserving the Natural World; and Aruba, Caribbean – Destination Leadership.
More than 150 entries representing 56 countries across six continents were scrutinized. Winners and finalists in five categories were selected by 18 international judges led by Costas Christ, editor at large for National Geographic Traveler and chairman of the World Legacy Awards. An on-site inspection to document sustainable tourism practices in action was part of the judging process.
Costas Christ said: “Tourism is based on selling cultural and natural heritage experiences, whether that is a trip to see Angkor Wat or a wildlife safari in Africa. With more than a billion international tourists last year, and the number growing, we must make sure that tourism is an opportunity and not a threat to the people and places travelers want to visit. The World Legacy Awards are about helping to lead the way forward.”
Gary Knell, President and CEO, National Geographic Society, said, “National Geographic believes that when carefully planned and managed, tourism can be a powerful force for protecting the planet’s fragile ecosystems and improving local livelihoods. The World Legacy Awards are about showcasing the visionaries in travel today who are committed to protecting our shared global heritage for future generations.”
The call for entries for the next World Legacy Awards starts on June 1, 2015.
Tropic, in partnership with the Huaorani community operate the remote Huaorani Eco-Lodge deep in the Ecuadorian rainforest. For information on a variety of stays and programs offered, see: http://www.destinationecuador.com/huaorani-ecolodge-ecuador.html