Sustainable Tourism

What does it mean?

The Skal International Sustainable Tourism Awards are geared towards enhancing the visibility and grant recognition to entities from the travel and tourism industry.

Expressed simply, it can be defined as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

Sustainable tourism should:

  1. Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.
  2. Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.
  3. Ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.

Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and it requires constant monitoring of impacts, introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary.

Sustainable tourism should also maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience to the tourists, raising their awareness about sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices amongst them

Awards Background

Skål International is an Affiliated Member of the UNWTO whose mission is to promote the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

The Sustainable Tourism Awards were launched by Skål International following the United Nations declaration of 2002 as the Year of Ecotourism and the Mountains to acknowledge best practices around the globe.

Skål, as an international organisation of the industry leaders, is a powerful force in the travel and tourism industry to initiate change and encourage the conservation of the environment in order to promote tourism and travel. The awards presented on these grounds, also serve the purpose of acquainting the world with this new concept that puts emphasis on the importance of the interaction of the physical, cultural and social environment the traveller’s responsibility and the need for active community participation for Sustainability.

A total of 648 applications from all over the world have been submitted since the launch of these prestigious awards in 2002.

Who's legible?

Any company from the public and private sector, NGOs and government agencies from all over the world linked to the tourism industry. All sustainable operations and activities must be implemented by the company, NGO or agency applying for the award. Projects that are yet not in operation are not eligible:

  1. Tour Operators – Travel Agents
  2. Urban Accommodation
  3. Rural Accommodation
  4. Transportation
  5. Countryside and Wildlife (Destination refers to a country, region or city specifically as a Tourism Destination – somewhere that wishes to attract visitors. The applicants for the Tourism Destination category must bring together a multi-stakeholder group such as accommodation, transportation, attractions, restaurants, etc. and reflect how their performance bring sustainability commitment and aim at the destination level.
  6. Marine
  7. Community and Government projects
  8. Major Tourist Attractions
  9. Educational Institutions/Programmes and Media
  10. Tourism Destinations*