Joe McClain - May 23, 2011

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will honor winners of its annual Ulysses Awards at the upcoming Algarve Forum in Portugal (1-3 June 2011). Prizes for innovation and sustainable tourism projects have already been announced and destinations and initiatives all over the world will be awarded.

The Ulysses Awards for Innovative Tourism are rewarded by the UNWTO each year to companies as well as non-governmental organizations for their efforts to promote innovative solutions to tourism. These need to reflect any of the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations and hopefully contribute to further developing and improving tourism knowledge around the world.

There are several categories in which the awards are announced. The key link, however, is the innovation factor.

In the Innovation in Enterprises Category, the Spanish Artemisa Project has been highlighted for its efforts to transform organic waste into biofuel and thus promote sustainable tourism in Ingelia (Spain). A Belgian survey monitoring tourists’ trip satisfaction or a Mexican tourism development project in the Mayakoba Tourism Resort have been also awarded.

The Innovation in Governance category promotes Peru’s Ruta Moche, a tourism destination featuring ancient archaeological sites of the Moche civilization, as well as beautiful nature reserves and pristine beaches. China Tourism Academy likewise received praise for the China Tourism Satisfaction index, and so did the Portuguese Madeira Regional Secretariat for Tourism and Transport and their Environmental Certificate.

The non-governmental organizations were awarded especially for helping improve the chances for tourists with disabilities; Slovenia and Canada both deserve praise for their special needs projects and dedication to the development of local accessible tourism. The Conservation Volunteers project in Australia has also received recognition.

The Ulysses Awards contribute massively to promoting innovation and sustainability in the tourism sector and hopefully will kick start an inspired discussion on how to improve the industry in times when tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

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