New Delhi, 20th January, 2017: Outlook Traveller, with its focus on conscious travel, hosted the second edition of the Outlook Traveller Responsible Tourism Summit and the first Indian Responsible Tourism Awards on January 19, 2016, at The Grand, New Delhi showcasing the very best of meaningful travel and hospitality experiences in India. The day-long event was attended by travel writers/bloggers, travel operators, hoteliers, homestay owners, travel portals/groups and anyone interested in finding out more about the landscape of ethical tourism in India right now. Key speakers at the conclave included some of the most respected names from the industry such as Amitav Ghosh, Author of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable; Dr Harold Goodwin, MD, Responsible Tourism Partnership & RT advisor, WTM, London; and Garry Wilson, Managing Director, Product & Purchasing, TUI Group.
Treating guests well was always a matter of instinct and pride in this country. And for the longest time, our holidays were invariably ‘slow’, often involving days of cross-country train travel for a wedding in the family or a festival ‘back home’. But with more and more Indians travelling every year and opting for cookie cutter package tours today, we seem to have somewhat abandoned our natural sense of hospitality and our responsibility towards the environment and the local communities that host us. Although we want to ‘travel like a local’ and discover ‘offbeat’ places, we rarely know how to do it, or where.
Yet change has arrived, as it always does. And a small but significant number of individuals and travel businesses in India are rooting for better, more meaningful travel experiences. Because… the future is conscious travel as we saw at the second edition of the Outlook Traveller Responsible Tourism Summit 2017 and the first Indian Responsible Tourism Awards 2016.
Unlike a typical travel conclave and awards function, our intention was not to ‘sell’ more tourism products, but to strengthen India’s position as a leader in the ethical and responsible tourism space, and to put the community, especially the rural community, at the centre of all conversations related to travel and culture.
While Snow Leopard Conservancy — India Trust and Planet Abled were the overall winners, Farm of Happiness was chosen as the best responsible tourism property. Snow Leopard Conservancy — India Trust also won the gold award for being the best in contribution to wildlife conservation. The Blue Yonder bagged the gold for being best for cultural immersion, while Biksthang Heritage Farmhouse did for being the best community-based homestay project. Planet Abled got the gold award for best innovation by a tour-operator and Arco Iris emerged as the winner for best built-heritage conservation.
Ours is a neutral platform, mostly for India-specific debate and discussions—with insights from global ethical tourism experts as well. The Summit was supported by a wide network of public and private stakeholders, including the Ministry of Tourism (India), who encourage knowledge-sharing through case studies, and are key to shaping policies in the long run. This year, we also tied up with the World Responsible Tourism Awards at the World Travel Market (WTM), London, to reward local tourism providers, who encourage community-conscious, green travel in India. Dr Harold Goodwin, one of the most respected names in the world of responsible tourism, is our mentor.
MEET THE WINNERS:
Snow Leopard Conservancy — India Trust
Best responsible tourism property
GOLD: Farm of Happiness
SILVER: Atali Ganga
Best contribution to wildlife conservation
GOLD: Snow Leopard Conservancy — India Trust
SILVER: Madras Crocodile Bank Trust & Centre for Herpetology
Best for cultural immersion
GOLD: The Blue Yonder
SILVER: Rural Pleasure
Best community-based homestay project
GOLD: Biksthang Heritage Farmhouse
SILVER: Kabani Community Tourism & Service
SILVER: Daragaon Village Retreat (Gurung Homestay)
Best innovation by a tour operator
GOLD: Planet Abled
SILVER: Grassroutes Journeys
Best built-heritage conservation
GOLD: Arco Iris
Come ideate, inspire, share stories of success… and failure. Come change the way India travels!
# Listen to eminent national and international speakers
# Learn from inspiring case studies
# Register for the focus group bonfires on digital tool optimisation, brand communication, and tapping new domestic/international markets
# Applaud the winners of practices in this country
# Watch Indian artisans work their magic
The jury of the first Indian Responsible Tourism Awards:
Akhil Kapoor, Convivium Leader, Slow Food India (Delhi chapter)
Aman Nath, Chairman, Neemrana Hotels
Ananda Banerjee, author and award-winning wildlife conservation journalist
Belinda Wright, Executive Director, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), and Proprietor, Kipling Camp
CB Ramkumar, Board Member, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and Founder-MD, Our Native Village
Emma Horne, Founder, Emma Horne Travel
Jaya Jaitly, Founder and President, Dastkari Haat Samiti
Ratish Nanda, Projects Director, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India
Sheema Mookherjee, former Publisher of Lonely Planet (India) and Proprietor, Salban, the Kanha Homestay
Steve Borgia, honorary President, Eco-tourism Society of India
Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism
Dr Venu Vasudevan, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism
Case studies and real-life stories from:
Amadubi Rural Tourism Centre, Jharkhand
Grassroutes Journeys, Maharashtra
Spiti Ecosphere, Himachal Pradesh
Kutch Adventures, Gujarat
& other responsible initiatives