- Back to tourdust.com
Back in spring we decided to get involved with the Geotourism 09 prize. The process of collecting entries from all over the world, sorting them and picking three winners has finally come to a conclusion. We can announce that RiverIndia, CapeRace and Ger to Ger are our winners.
To me, Geotourism is travelling to experience (and support) local culture, local places and local people (you can read more about this in my previous blog on Geotourism). Our three winners are all putting on simply amazing adventure travel and cultural travel experiences, that they are all managing to do so whilst putting huge amounts back into the local communities is a miracle!
We spend a large portion of our time trying to find really authentic operators who have a genuine local expertise and run thing the way we like them run (small groups, expert guides, owners involved in operations, fantastic experiences). We were looking for a way to publicise this search with a contest to find the the most innovative exciting small travel companies from around the world and the Geotourism contest is a superb vehicle for it thanks to the efforts of the Ashoka Changemakers organisation. Ashoka Changemakers organise the Geotourism 09 contest and it is heavily supported by the National Geographic magazine.
We thought long and hard about the prize and have come up with something we hope will make a real and sustainable difference to the winners. There is a financial element to the prize which includes budget towards online marketing and participation at an International travel show. The other element is a mentor relationship with experienced travel industry professionals:
Christina Heyniger: Founder of Off The Radar and Xola Consulting Services, which works with owner-operators and innovative organizations blending adventure tourism and volunteer service. Christina is an Associate with the Adventure Travel Trade Association and serves on the board of directors for Sustainable Travel International, and Protect the Earth, Protect Yourself - an adventure travel/ volunteer tourism organization. She also serves as an advisor to the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Development.
Alex Bainbridge: Authoritative & insightful blogger on the travel ecommerce industry. Alex is the founder and MD of Tour CMS, a web-based reservation system designed for small and medium-sized tour operators. Alex has significant expertise in harnessing ecommerce and social media for small travel businesses.
Chris Noble: General Manager of World Nomads and co-founder of Footprintsnetwork. Footprintsnetwork is an alliance of online e-commerce companies making a difference with a solution that supports sustainable poverty alleviation community programs.
Photo of Ger courtesy of Flickr user the wandering angel.
Its cool. I am impressed with what Ger to Ger is doing and what off the radar and Xola consulting is doing.
More power to your elbows and keep up this good work. It serves as an inspiration to me.
VEGA Brian 11th February 2010
Ger to Ger...your tour company has come a long way, and job well done!
"The easy part for starting any task, is saying you will do it. The true challenge lies in acting on and completing it. Whether you are looking to accomplish a specific goal, or something else you truly desire, the key is to make sure your mind, body and actions are working towards the same goal. As you continue to work towards that goal, you will feel the greatest amount of happiness and self satisfaction. "
Becky 18th March 2010