Sustainable tourism initiatives recognized by the UNWTO Awards

PR No.: 16008

The Itaipu Technological Park (Brazil), the Treetop Walking Path (Lithuania), the Sisterhood of Survivors Program (Nepal) and Re-Inventing the Government in Tourism (Indonesia) were the winners of the 12th UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism. The projects were selected among more than 100 candidatures from 30 countries (Madrid, Spain, 20 January 2016).

The Awards, recognizing innovation in four categories - Public Policy and Governance, Enterprises, NGOs and Research and Technology –, were announced last night at the UNWTO Awards Ceremony in the Spanish Tourism Fair (FITUR).

“The UNWTO Awards aim to honor those that everyday work for the benefit of host communities, supporting the livelihoods of local people and protecting our environment and our culture for future generations. All 16 finalists are an example to all of us of how the principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the objectives set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can inspire sustainable tourism” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, opening the Ceremony.

The UNWTO Ulysses Awardees for Innovation, distinguished in the four categories, were:


UNWTO Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance


Re-Inventing the Government in Tourism, Pemkab Banyuwangi, Indonesia

First Runner-up:

East Africa Tourism Platform, Kenya

Second Runner-up:

Green Certifications Program, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Puerto Rico

Responsible Tourism and Free of Crime in Medellín, Alcaldía de Medellín, Colombia


UNWTO Awards for Innovation in Enterprises


Treetop Walking Path, Anykščiai Regional Park Direction, Lithuania

First Runner-up:

Bali Beach Clean-Up, Garuda Indonesia, Indonesia

World´S First 100% Electric Tour Bus, Switzerland Explorer Tours, Switzerland

Second Runner-up:

Plentifulness Project, Projeto Fartura, Brazil

First Professional Experience Project, Meliá Hotels International, Spain


UNWTO Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)                                                                                


Sisterhood of Survivors (SOS) Program, Samrakshak Samuha Nepal (Sasane), Nepal

First Runner-up:

Coral Reef Reborn, Yayasan Karang Lestari, Indonesia

Second Runner-up:

The Child safe Movement, Friends-International, Cambodia

Children in the Wilderness, South Africa


UNWTO Award for Innovation in Research and Technology


Itaipu Touristic Complex, Fundação Parque Tecnológico, Brazil

First Runner-up:

Mobile Application Bike Rijeka, Rijeka Tourist Board, Croatia

Korea Medical Tourism Online Platform, Korea Tourism Organization, Republic of Korea

On the occasion UNWTO has also conferred the UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement to the late Arthur Haulot, founder of the International Social Tourism Organization for his contribution in promoting social tourism and the right to tourism for all and the UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge in Tourism to Dr. Richard Butler, author of one of the most influential theories about tourism – the Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC).

The 12 UNWTO Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner was organized by UNWTO and FITUR with the support of the Government of Macao (China), Tourism Board of Galicia (Spain), PortAventura, Amadeus, Hilton Worldwide, Etihad Airways, MAPFRE Asistencia, and the Government of Paraguay, as well as the news agency EFE and the trade media HOSTELTUR (Spain) as media partners.

The UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism are the flagship awards for the global tourism sector, recognizing knowledge creation, dissemination and innovative solutions. The annual Awards Ceremony takes place at the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain.

Useful links:

UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism

UNWTO Awards Forum

UNWTO activities at Fitur 2016

12th UNWTO Awards Ceremony (Gala pictures)