BERLIN (March 4, 2014)—The World Legacy Awards were launched today at ITB Berlin in a groundbreaking collaboration between two giants in the world of travel. With a mission of “inspiring people to care about the planet,” the National Geographic Society reaches more than 500 million people worldwide each month through its magazines, television, books, radio, maps, exhibitions, expeditions and online, tablet and social media platforms. ITB Berlin is the largest travel gathering on the planet, attended annually by nearly 200,000 delegates.
The World Legacy Awards will showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organizations and destinations — ranging from airlines to ecolodges and from cities to countries — that are driving the global transformation of the travel industry based upon sustainable tourism principles and practices.
The awards are in five categories:
Eco Innovation Award — Recognizing cutting-edge leadership in environmentally friendly business practices and green technology, from renewable energy and water conservation to zero-waste systems and carbon-emission reduction.
Cultural Heritage Award — Recognizing excellence in enhancing sense of place and authenticity, including support for the protection of historical monuments, archaeological sites, cultural events, indigenous heritage and artistic traditions.
Biodiversity Conservation Award — Recognizing outstanding support for the preservation of nature, restoring natural habitat and protecting rare and endangered species, whether on land or in the oceans.
Community Engagement Award — Recognizing 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.
Sustainable Destination Award — Recognizing destination leadership, including cities, provinces, states, countries and regions that are demonstrating environmental best practices, protection of cultural and natural heritage, benefits to local communities and educating travelers on the principles of sustainability.
Keith Bellows, senior vice president and editor in chief of National Geographic Travel Media, said, “For more than 100 years, National Geographic has supported more than 11,000 scientific, conservation and exploration projects around the world. We believe that travel, when planned and managed well, is a critical tool to protect and preserve the world’s most valued treasures. The World Legacy Awards recognize the visionaries who are creating fresh and important advances in sustainable travel. We believe ITB Berlin is a perfect fit with National Geographic — and a powerful partner in this initiative.”
The Call for Entries for the World Legacy Awards will start on June 1, 2014, when applications can be submitted for review by an expert judging panel led by Costas Christ, chairman of the World Legacy Awards and one of the world’s foremost experts on sustainable tourism. The awards ceremony will be held at ITB Berlin in March 2015.
Dr. Christian Göke, chief executive officer of Messe Berlin, said, “As the world’s largest travel trade show, with a strong commitment to promoting corporate social responsibility and sustainable tourism best practices, we are delighted to partner with National Geographic Travel on the launch of the World Legacy Awards at ITB Berlin.”
in addition to being recognized on stage at ITB Berlin during the March 2015 awards ceremony, winners and finalists of the World Legacy Awards will be featured in National Geographic Traveler magazine and other National Geographic media reaching a global audience.
Jalsa Urubshurow, a founding partner sponsor of the awards and CEO of Nomadic Expeditions, said, “Like millions of other people, I grew up reading National Geographic magazine and watching travel documentaries, including those about my ancestral homeland of Mongolia. I can think of no better honor than to be a founding partner sponsor for these prestigious travel awards.”
For more information about the World Legacy Awards and how to apply, go to www.nationalgeographic.com/worldlegacyawards.
About National Geographic Travel
National Geographic Travel is the travel arm of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, founded in 1888. National Geographic Travel creates meaningful and engaging travel content and experiences through National Geographic Traveler magazine; National Geographic Expeditions; travel books; maps; apps; digital media; and travel photography programs. National Geographic Traveler (eight issues per year) is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and has 14 international editions. It is available by subscription, on newsstands in the United States and Canada, and digitally for tablets. National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the Society, offers a variety of unique travel experiences led by top experts to more than 60 destinations across all seven continents. Travel opportunities include family and student expeditions, active adventures, private jet trips and voyages on the six expedition ships in the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, as well as photography workshops, expeditions and seminars. The National Geographic Travel digital group offers inspiring and authoritative digital travel and adventure content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps. National Geographic Travel Books bring readers curated travel advice and inspiration. Follow National Geographic Travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention
ITB Berlin 2014 will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, March 5 to March 9. From the Wednesday to the Friday, ITB Berlin is open to trade visitors only. The ITB Berlin Convention is held parallel with the trade fair, from Wednesday to Friday, March 5 to March 7. It is the world’s largest specialist convention for the industry. More details are available at www.itb-convention.com. ITB Berlin is the leading trade fair for the worldwide travel industry. In 2013, a total of 10,086 companies and organisations from 188 countries exhibited their products and services to 170,000 visitors, who included 110,000 trade visitors.