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World Responsible Tourism Awards Best for Engaging People and Culture: Urban Adventures


Sponsored by Audley Travel Winner’s background A division of Intrepid Travel, Urban Adventures offers more than 200,000 experiences in 82 countries and 120 cities, and employs 800 local guides. All the itineraries are created in partnership with independent local firms, with a view to giving tourists an insight into real life in the city.


What they do The Urban Adventures business model was created to benefit local entrepreneurs and empower them.


traditional Maldives meal in a local home. The tours have helped families in off-the-trail places like Samarkand, Varna and Tehran to gain income from welcoming travellers into their home. Urban Adventures is all about cultural


By working with local businesses offering trips and experiences in cities and towns around the world, this division of Intrepid Travel offers peer support in terms of marketing to its loyal clientele, as well as guidance on the creation of grassroots- led itineraries – for example, the Food Tours range from a Hoi An Food Trail to a


exchange and giving tourists access to tours that are created and led by local people for whom human connection and sharing heritage is not only profit-making but also instilling a pride of place.


Judges’ comments Urban Adventures provided urban experiences for 70,000 travellers


Best Hotel for Local Sourcing: Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge


Sponsored by Colorado Tourism Office Winner’s background An eco-kasbah with 11 rooms in the Argan Biosphere Reserve – a Unesco site to protect the endemic argan tree. Opened in 2009 and using ancient sustainable building techniques, it is the only accommodation of its type in the region, just 20 minutes from Agadir, in the High Atlas mountains.


What they do The Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge, which opened in 2009, looks like an ancient Berber fortress, but it was built from


community is a fundamental aspect of the kasbah’s work, and they have led sensitive training in the community to change the mindset of traditional families that women should not work outside the community. All staff are hired within the community, from hiking guides to hammam assistants. Co-owner Hassan Aboutayeb is Berber himself. The communities now supply


scratch over two and a half years using traditional techniques and local, natural materials. It was created by local craftsmen using ancestral knowledge of traditional architecture. Employing staff from the Berber


produce for the kasbah which, as well as food, local handicrafts and argan oil, are all highlighted at the kasbah, with bathroom products also made by Berber women. At present, their data monitoring system shows that 81% of


Best Accommodation for Disability Access (joint winners): Endeavour Safaris & Scandic Hotels


Sponsored by Enable Holidays Endeavour Safaris’ background A safari company based in northern Botswana, catering for people with access requirements –mobility, visual, hearing or other medical issues. With guests staying in specially designed safari tents, Endeavour Safaris is exemplary in promoting inclusive, highly accessible tourism in a wilderness environment.


What they do From their base in specially designed mobile tents, tourists travel to various places during the holiday, including remote spots such as the islands of the Okavango Delta, where they can camp under the stars after a day on safari. Inclusivity is at the core of


Endeavour Safari’s work, taking accessible tourism away from niche


to norm and showing that tourism accommodation, even in the wildest of environments, can be enjoyed by nearly all tourists. Working in safari destinations including Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, their safari tent accommodation is designed to maximise the experience not only for people with mobility issues but also for those with visual or hearing impairments. Their vision is also to have people with and without disabilities working alongside each other within the business, particularly with the forthcoming opening of their 100% inclusive lodge.


Scandic Hotels’ background Scandic Hotels is a market leader in Nordic hospitality with a network of 230 hotels. It has put accessible tourism at the core of what it does, not only to support its brand image of being a hotel chain that welcomes everyone, no matter what their background or needs.


What they do Scandic created the role of Accessibility Ambassador in 2003 and, since then, accessibility has been embraced on the ground and at board level. Giving detailed information on its website about accessible facilities, Scandic Hotels knows that giving the full picture about accessible tourism is vital in converting enquires to bookings. Scandic has also created an electronic document advising other hotels or tourism firms on best accessible tourism practices. From vibrating alarm


clocks that also signal a fire alarm to carpet-free conference rooms and hearing loops, the inclusivity list is long and impressive.


Judges’ comments The judges recognised two outstanding but very different ways of providing accommodation for people with disabilities. Scandic has worked to integrate accessibility into all parts of a mainstream hotel. Meanwhile, Endeavour Safaris (endeavour-safaris.com) has led the way in showing that it is possible to enable people with a wide variety of disabilities to take part in a safari.


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the kasbah’s income is spent within a 30-mile radius. The kasbah is also creating a Slow Food International Convivium in its village of Tighanimine Elba.


Judges’ comments The judges were impressed by the quality of the information that the ecolodge provides about its economic impact within a 30-mile range – 81% of its expenditure on labour, goods and services is spent locally and the management has plans to increase this by 5% by the end of 2016.


and locals in 2014. The judges were pleased that these were sold to travellers and locals, but also with a scalable business model in which local Urban Adventures Partners (UAPs) are able to own and manage their own business. In return for a commission on


tours sold, Urban Adventures gives local UAPs support to promote and sell their tours, which offer an alternative to the standard city tour, including opportunities to visit local neighbourhoods and support local businesses.


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