The Geotourism summit raised awareness of the huge potential to bring about fundamental change to the tourism industry through geotourism - the need for tourism to sustain and enhance the heritage, aesthetics and culture of a destination. Blue Ventures was selected from 516 nominations, from 89 countries.
At the Responsible Travel Awards, Blue Ventures was highly commended - its fourth commendation since the awards began in 2004. The awards, a collaboration between ResponsibleTravel.com, The Daily Telegraph, Geographical Magazine, BBC World News, and Virgin Holidays, attracted 1,976 nominations for tourism ventures that benefit local communities and destinations.
Justin Francis, founder of The Responsible Tourism Awards, and former Head of Worldwide Marketing for the Body Shop, said: "In this, the fifth year of the awards, the bar has been raised for responsible tourism yet again. What inspires me is the efforts that businesses and destinations are making in order 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."
Since 2003, Blue Ventures has pioneered new models of environmentally and culturally responsible tourism in Madagascar - an approach which has resulted in the distribution of growing economic and environmental benefits for local communities, including the creation of the country's largest network of marine reserves.
"Blue Ventures is firmly committed to demonstrating the enormous power of geotourism," said Kathleen Edie, manager of Blue Ventures' volunteer tourism programmes. "By showing the tremendously positive impact that tourism can have, we are challenging the traditional paradigm of mass-market tourism. All too often this causes considerable harm to cultures and habitats in some of the world's most vulnerable regions."
Blue Ventures has been an active ambassador of the growing geotourism and responsible travel sector, advocating the leading role this industry must play in empowering local communities to benefit from tourism at a grassroots level. At a time of growing global financial uncertainty the need for a new, decentralised approach to tourism, built on the principals of sustainability, has never been greater.
An award-winning not-for-profit dedicated to working with local communities in Madagascar to conserve threatened marine habitats and resources for the betterment of people and nature. Funded almost entirely through ecotourism revenue, Blue Ventures brings paying volunteers to project sites and trains them in scientific research, community outreach and on-the-ground conservation.
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