Bhutan won first place for the World’s Sustainable Destinations’ Earth Award at the International Tourismus-Borse (ITB) Berlin on 7 March 2018. A jury representing 12 leading sustainable tourism organizations and networks selected Bhutan from among more than 100 top sustainable tourism destinations.
A press release from Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) states, “This is Bhutan’s first win at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair show.”
According to the press release, the award was initiated to recognize and appreciate tourism destinations that work towards sustainable tourism development and promotion. It also provides a platform to showcase green destinations to the world.
The press release states, “Most importantly, it is a testimony of the wise and visionary leadership of our Kings, the government’s commitment to protect and preserve our environment and the tourism industry’s effort in sustainable tourism.”
TCB said, “We would like thank the distinguished jury for recognizing Bhutan’s leadership on the global stage in its commitment to combat climate change, and protect and preserve the environment. We would also like to thank ITB Berlin, Green Destinations and Travelmore for organizing the award event.”
“The companies represented at the fair include, hotels, tourism boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies,” TCB said. ITB Berlin is a premium platform for global tourism players with over 160,000 visitors attending or participating in the event.
The Award Winners and the World’s Top 10 provide the best practice experience for destination managers to involve their local communities in tourism, and to avoid overtourism problems as seen in Barcelona, Venice, and many other fragile iconic places.
The award organizers said that local governments and protected areas have everything on the line to ensure tourism sustainability, but they were hardly visible in the larger tourism award schemes so far.
This the organizers said has now changed thanks to ITB Berlin, the world’s leading Travel Trade Show. ITB provides its prime auditorium (to a new mainstream award scheme exclusively dedicated to destinations: the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 Awards. This is the most prestigious opportunity to showcase “green destinations” to the world and the media.