The 7 th Annual Skål International Ecotourism Awards were
presented by the President of Skål International, Phillip Sims and Vice
President, Media and Public Relations, Hulya Aslantas in the presence of the
Minister of Communication and Transportation of R.O.C. Dr. C.K. Mao and
Taipei City Mayor Mr. Lung Ping Haw, Madame Janice Lai, Director General of
R.O.C Tourism Bureau, during the Opening Ceremony of the 69 th Skål World
Congress held in Taipei, Taiwan on 13 th October 2008 at the TICC (Taipei
International Convention Centre).
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, 90 Countries
and at over 500 locations, with 20,000 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 seventh year the awards have received continued support worldwide
and this year 54 entries were received originating from 23 Countries; nine
from Asia, 18 from the Americas, 15 from Europe, seven from Africa and five
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
- Eugenio Yunis, from UNWTO,
- Natasha Pulitzer from Synergia sas, Italy
- Jack Sofier, Swedish Education and Consulting, Portugal
Iznik Foundation (www.iznik.com.tr) continued for the forth 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 manageand 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:
1. In the category of Tour Operators and Travel Agents:
NORTHERN SOUL WILDERNESS ADVENTURES, CANADA
2. In the category of Urban Accommodation:
THE PEFKOS BEACH HOTEL. SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AND THE ENVIRONMENT, GREECE
3. In the category of Rural Accommodation:
BUILDING LIVELIHOOD & ECO TAJ, INDIA
4. In the category of Transportation:
NATURAL HISTORY BY SEA KAYAK, THAILAND
5. In the category of General Countryside:
LESVOS PETRIFIED FOREST GEOPARK, GREECE
6. In the category of City and Villages:
THE ORANGE FLAG PROGRAMME: A QUALITY LABEL FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AND
7. In the category of Educational Programmes - Media:
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES OF THE GEOPARK NATURTEJO MESETA MERIDIONAL - UNESCO
EUROPEAN AND GLOBAL GEOPARK, PORTUGAL
8. In the category of Global Corporate Establishment: