New Zealand is world's 'greenest' destination

24 November 14

New Zealand has been named as the overall winner of this year's Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism awards.

By Charles Starmer-Smith (telegraph.co.uk)

New Zealand has won this year's Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards, run in association with the Daily Telegraph.

The panel of judges, which includes Professor Harold Goodwin, co-director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism at Leeds Metropolitan University, Justin Francis, managing director of responsibletravel.com and Graham Boynton, group travel editor of Telegraph Media Group, declared New Zealand the overall winner for "proving that it is possible to develop a national strategy which uses tourism to help make better places to live and to visit".

At a ceremony hosted at World Travel Market in London, the Southern Hemisphere country also took the best destination award for its national, strategic approach to responsible tourism.

The judges said: "New Zealand has implemented many of the principles of the Cape Town Declaration on responsible tourism in destinations and demonstrated what national government can achieve – working with the private sector, local communities and local government – by harnessing tourism to benefit their people and their environment. If more national governments followed their example, tourism would make a much more positive contribution around the world."

A total of 13 awards were presented across a range of categories, which included best for poverty reduction (Gambia), best volunteering organisation (Camps International), best personal contribution (Jane Ashton, head of sustainable development, TUI Travel PLC), best large hotel (Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island, Australia) and best cruise or ferry operator (Holland America Line).

"In this, the fifth year of the Awards, the bar has been raised for responsible tourism yet again," said Justin Francis. "What inspires me is the efforts that businesses and destinations are making to ensure that responsible tourism lies at the heart of their strategies and plans. Without a doubt, this is the only way to plan for the future – responsible travel is not a passing fad or a niche travel trend for marketing purposes. It is an entire, holistic approach to tourism operations."

Launched in 2004, the Awards are run in association with partners The Daily Telegraph, World Travel Market, Geographical Magazine and BBC World News.

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