In Madrid at FITUR last night was the day many had anxiously waiting for. The 14th UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism was announced.
Starting at 18.00h with a welcome cocktail the event was opened at 19.15 by the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, followed by a short remark by the president of FITUR/ FEMA
Turismo de Portugal I.P (Portugal), Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust (India), Tryponyu (Indonesia) and SEGGITUR (Spain) are the winners of the 14th Edition of the UNWTO Awards for Innovation in Tourism. Fourteen projects among 128 applicants from 55 countries were selected as finalists of the 14th UNWTO Awards for Innovation in Tourism.
Sanjib Sarangi of the Indian Grameen Services (IGS) and Reena from the Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust attended the award ceremony and were overjoyed with the announcement of the award. They accepted the award and unfurled the Indian Tricolour at the stage. Indian Grameen Services overlooks the Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust project. Mangalajodi Trust was the only Indian nomination in this year’s UNWTO awards.
The winning projects, divided into four categories – Public Policy and Governance, Research and Technology, Enterprises, and Non-governmental Organizations –, have been announced at the UNWTO Awards Ceremony held Wednesday, 17th January evening in Madrid at the International Tourism Trade Fair in Spain (FITUR)
Today we honour the vision and commitment of individuals, administrations, companies and organizations that every day build a better future by harnessing the potential of tourism. The work of all the finalists of the 14 UNWTO Awards on Innovation is an inspiration to all of us”, underlined UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, in his opening remarks.
Attended by nearly 500 participants from different countries, the UNWTO Awards Ceremony, co-organized by IFEMA|FITUR, emphasized how the tourism community has embraced sustainable and innovative approaches.
The UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism are held annually to highlight and promote the work of organizations and individuals around the world that have impacted the tourism sector. Their achievements have served as an inspiration for competitive and sustainable tourism development and the promotion of the values of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 14th Edition of the UNWTO Awards was organized in collaboration with the International Tourism Trade Fair in Spain (IFEMA/FITUR) and supported by:
- The Macao Government Tourism Office
- The National Secretariat of Tourism of Paraguay-Itaipu Binacional
- The Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Argentina
- The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in Colombia
- The Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador
- Wonderful Indonesia
- The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; and
- National Geographic
In the Innovation in Enterprises category Conservation and Livelihoods: Community managed Ecotourism at Mangalajodi, Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust was shortlisted. Other nominated enterprises in this category were from Kenya, Italy and Philippines. Mangalajodi is one of the oldest village coming under Tangi block of Khurda district in Odisha, 75 km from Bhubaneswar towards Berhampur with a huge marshland along the northern edge of Chilika Lake. The area (about 10 sq.km) is primarily a fresh water zone connected by channels cut through the reed beds with the brakish water of Chilika lagoon. The numerous channels that crisscross through the greenery, harbour thousands of water birds, migratory and resident. Part of Chilika, 1165 sq.kms.brakish water estuarine lagoon of international importance. The wetland hosts more than 3,00,000 of birds in the peak season. October to March is the best time to visit this place. This region has is a significant global waterfowl habitat and is declared as an “Important Bird Area (IBA)”.