The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are one of the highest accolades in the travel and tourism industry. The Awards were established to highlight and promote sustainable tourism best practices worldwide. On behalf of El Nido Resorts, Ms. Mariglo Laririt (Director for Sustainability and Environment) and Mr. Laurent Lamasuta (President and CEO) received the Tourism for Tomorrow 2013 Award for the Community Benefit category last April 9, 2013 during the WTTC’s 13th Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The Philippines is ahead of Abu Dhabi by a few time zones so we actually found out that we won at around 12:15 am on April 10. Ms. Marigs posted the simple status message “We. Won.” and a photo of the trophy. A flurry of internal screaming, furious tweets and retweets, and Facebook shares later, I finally fell asleep with a smile on my face. Why is winning Tourism for Tomorrow such a big deal?
- It’s recognition. Sustainable tourism is only now just getting off the ground in the Philippines but El Nido Resorts has been at it since we opened 31 years ago as a dive camp in Miniloc Island. It’s not easy to do – the stories that Ms. Marigs can tell you! – so recognition that we’re an industry leader is always welcome. As an industry leader, we hope to become a case study for how to grow a tourism business without sacrificing the foundation of the business – the environment and the local community.
- It’s validation. We already know that we’re doing the right thing – hiring locally, investing in staff training, protecting the environment, and supporting local businesses – but having an outside party composed of international experts agree with us is still pretty cool.
- It’s more promotion for us. We’re still a business after all. Increased media exposure for us means (hopefully!) more guests. More guests means more staff, more local purchases, and more funding to continue what we’re doing. We wouldn’t have been able to install mooring buoys around Bacuit Bay in the 1990s if we didn’t have any money. More guests means more students of sustainable tourism. We also hope that as a result of the promotional blitz for our win, we get more guests who chose to spend their holidays with us because of what we’re doing.
Ms. Marigs is asking us to plan a victory party. It’s going to take some doing since we have to coordinate with the resorts, ITI, TKP, and our partners in the local community. It’ll be worth it though because we’re going to celebrate a win that was 31 years in the making 🙂Macy Anonuevo.