By Willow Aliento
5 February 2014 — Skyrail Rainforest Cableway at Cairns has been recognised for achieving world’s best practice in sustainable tourism, with the World Travel and Tourism Council selecting the high-flying forest adventure as one of three finalists in the Environment Award category of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.
The award recognises organisations and companies that have achieved environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change and green operations. The other two finalists in the same category are Great Plains Conservation in Botswana and Jetwing Vil Uyana in Sri Lanka.
Managing director of Skyrail Max Shepherd said that ecotourism and sustainability were the founding concepts behind the Skyrail development and are cornerstones of its ongoing operation.
“To be recognised in this way is a real honour,” Mr Shepherd said.
The cableway stretches through the rainforest from Cairns to Kuranda, giving visitors a 7.5 kilometre birds-eye view of the tropical forest canopy. Members of the judging panel will get to experience the trip for themselves, as the second phase of judging includes an on-site evaluation of each finalist carried out by international sustainable tourism experts.
Chairman of judges Costas Christ said the awards were helping to transform the travel and tourism industry.
“This year’s finalists continue to demonstrate that when carefully managed, tourism can be a powerful force for improving livelihoods and protecting our planet for future generations,” Mr Christ said.
Winners and finalists will be recognised at WTTC’s Annual Global Summit in Hainan, China, on 24 April 2014.
For those who would like to draw up a bucket list of fabulous sustainable destinations and sustainable travel businesses that can get you there, here are the other 15 finalists:
- Business Award – TUI Travel (UK), Asilia Africa (Tanzania), Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
- Community Award – companies and organisations committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage: Abercrombie & Kent (Kenya), Arviat Community Ecotourism (Canada), Basecamp Explorer Kenya (Kenya)
- Destination Award – commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations: Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark (Ireland), Temes SA – Costa Navarino (Greece), Bonito (Brazil)
- Innovation Award – providers of innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced in implementing sustainability: Ecosphere (India), Chepu Adventures Ecolodge (Chile), Lapland Vuollerim Welcomes You (Sweden)
- People Award – dedication to capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce: SA College for Tourism – Tracker Academy (South Africa), Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (Laos), Central College Nottingham and The Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia (UK & Gambia)