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2007 Skål International Ecotourism Awards

2007 Skål International Ecotourism Awards (Forimmediaterelease.net) The 6th Annual Skål International Ecotourism Awards were presented by the President of Skål International, Litsa Papathanassi and Vice President, Media and Public Relations, Hulya Aslantas in the presence of the Minister of Tourism of Turkey, Mr. Ertugrul Gunay during the Opening Ceremony of the 68th Skål World Congress held in Antalya, Turkey on 5th November 2007 at the Maritime Pine Beach Resort.

Skål, founded as an international association in 1934 is the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world, embracing all sectors of the travel and tourism industry, in five Continents, 87 Countries and at over 500 locations, with 22,000 members from hoteliers to travel agents, Airlines, tourism media, tourism academies etc.

Skål International is aiming at quality in tourism and values sustainable development in Tourism as the key to the industry’s future success and considers Ecotourism but one area of the various components of sustainable development and responsible tourism.

To encourage the conservation of the environment and help to promote the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, Skål International initiated an awards program in 2002, during “The Year of Ecotourism and the Mountains” as declared by United Nations.

While the purpose of these awards was to highlight best practices in ecotourism around the world, they were also created with the aim of acquainting the world with this new concept that puts emphasis on the importance of the interaction of the physical, cultural and social environment, the traveler’s responsibility and the need for active community participation for Ecotourism.

In their sixth year the awards have received continued support worldwide and this year 46 entries were received originating from 24 Countries; eight from Asia, 10 from the Americas, seven from Europe, 14 from Africa and seven from Oceania.

The Awards show the sensitivity and awareness of Skål International towards the protection of the environment in conjunction with sustainable tourism. Ecotourism, together with other alternative forms of tourism strengthens the local economies and contributes to sustainable development

The applications were evaluated by three independent judges and the scores given by each separately, are added up to find the winners. The primary criteria for the evaluation is based on such points like, contribution to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, community involvement, educational features, business viability and innovation.

Skål International is grateful for the meticulous work conducted by the three judges,

- Eugenio Yunis, UNWTO, Head Sustainable Development of Tourism
- Stefanos Fotiou Co-ordinator Tourism Programme, UNEP
- Jack Sofier, Swedish Education and Consulting, Portugal

Iznik Foundation (www.iznik.com.tr) continued for the third year to be the sponsor of the quartz trophies they have specially designed for Skål International. Combining ecology with the unique art of Iznik (Ancient Nicea); the awards are a sign of preservation of natural sources and traditions and with their special characteristics they are specially chosen to emphasize the value of our global riches.

Main sponsors Evian (www.evian.com) of Danone group, coherent with their environmental commitment identifies as one of their first responsibilities to be to protect the springs they manage and contribute to the preservation of the natural and rural environment. Danone group also owns two hotel properties in Evian and supports environmental friendly tourism.

Johnson Diversey (www.johnsondiversey.com ) whose global mission assumes a green position that supports sustainability in terms of Ecology, Efficiency, Low Emissions, Food and Employee safety, has joined the impressive list of sponsors. The products they create and the methods they use are all aimed at making our world a safer and cleaner place.

The winners are announced as follows:

In the category of Tour Operators and Travel Agents,
AQUA-TREK'S FIJI CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE TOURISM PROGRAM, FIJI ISLANDS

In the category of Rural Accommodation:
MARARI BEACH, A CGH EARTH EXPERIENCE HOTEL, MARARIKULAM, INDIA

In the category of Urban Accommodation,
UPPAL'S ORCHID - AN ECOTEL HOTEL INDIA

In the category of General Countryside,
CORAL REEF WALK & RESTORATION PROGRAM AND CORAL FARM, FIJI ISLANDS

In the category of Cities and Villages,
ECOVITA ORGANIC CAMPING AND FARM, ECUADOR

In the category of Educational Programmes and Media,
YACHANA LODGE AND YACHANA HIGH SCHOOL, ECUADOR

Detailed information about the winners can be found on the Skål International website or by clicking the following direct link: www.skal.org/html/ecotourism/eco.asp?idioma=I

For any further information please contact:
Skål International
General Secretariat
Edificio España
Avenida Palma de Mallorca 15-1º
29620 Torremolinos - SPAIN
Tel: +34 952 38 9111
www.skal.org
e-mail: skal@skal.org

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