El Nido Resorts was awarded the World Travel & Tourism Council Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2013 for the Community Benefit category last April 9, 2013 during the WTTC‘s 13th Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Tourism for Tomorrow is one of the most prestigious awards in the travel and tourism industry. Entries are judged by an international team of experts, including a site visit. Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, visited El Nido in February to observe resort operations and interview key personnel and members of local government, non-government organizations, and the Protected Area Office. Ten Knots Development Corporation’s Director for Sustainability, Ms. Mariglo Laririt and TKDC President Mr. Laurent Lamasuta received the award on ENR’s behalf.
From the WTTC news article on the winners:
“El Nido Resorts plays a vital role in community development – 90% of all staff – including senior level positions – are from the local area. It actively supports staff development and the creation of community enterprises. Examples include micro-finance support to employees who now own and manage recycling facilities, provide boat transfers and excursions and produce a diversity of fresh, local farm products, among other businesses. In addition to providing wages and benefits to employees that go beyond national requirements, training and education is emphasized, including a Be GREEN course for all staff, promoting environmental best practices. El Nido Resorts also purposefully educates guests on how their vacation can be good for the planet and local people. It has always believed in partnership with local communities, demonstrating the power of tourism to address poverty alleviation, improve local livelihoods and protect cultural and natural heritage for future generations. ”
During her acceptance speech, Ms. Laririt said “It [this journey] began 31 years ago when Ten Knots opened a dive camp in Miniloc Island with the vision of achieving harmony between nature and the local community. This award is a tribute to our company forebears who were clearly ahead of their time. They may not have called it sustainable tourism back then but their vision was perhaps so sensible that it withstood the test of time. Thirty one years, I believe, is long-enough time for us to be able to claim that we have proven that harmony begets sustainability.”
Mr. Lamasuta says “This recognition represents a testimony of years of an aligned vision and commitment towards doing the right thing for the welfare of the community and the safeguard of the environment we operate in. This would have never been possible without the ENR men and women, who everyday not only delight our guests with such a genuine hospitality but have been keeping a watchful eye on protecting our piece of paradise through amazing dedication.”
The other Awards categories are “Destination Stewardship”, “Global Tourism Business”, and “Conservation Award”. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards attracted 133 applications from destinations and businesses in more than 46 countries on 6 continents worldwide.