Finalists Named for 2004 World Legacy Travel Awards
By Angela Burnford and Jonathan B. Tourtellot
National Geographic Traveler
|May 27, 2004|
National Geographic Traveler and Conservation International this
week named 12 outstanding tourism finalists in the 2004 World Legacy
Awards, which recognize excellence in environmental, social, and
cultural travel. The winners of the 2004 World Legacy Awards are to
be announced at a gala event hosted by Her Majesty Queen Noor of
Jordan on June 8 at the National Geographic Society in Washington,
D.C. A panel of independent judges evaluated applications from across
the globe to narrow down the selection to three finalists in each of
Finalists are travel enterprises specializing in wildlife and natural areas.
Al Maha Desert Resort, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
A luxury nature lodge patterned on a Bedouin camp, Al Maha Desert Resort (www.al-maha.com/home.htm) in Dubai promotes desert conservation in a peaceful, recently prosperous region that has had little infrastructure for environmental protection.
Guests can explore the desert on camels, observing some of the 33 mammal and reptile species indigenous to the Arabian peninsula, including the endangered Arabian oryx, and enjoying excellent desert bird-watching. With the government's support, Al Maha developed the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a 225-square-kilometer (87-square-mile) protected area that is to be designated a national park this year. Al Maha has thus protected indigenous wildlife from fast-spreading urban development.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Guests at this safari lodge can see elephants and lions roaming freely on the banks of the Great Fish River, where only worn-out farmland existed just five years ago.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve (www.ccafrica.com/reserve-1-id-2-8), operating under Conservation Corporation Africa (CCA), restored 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) along the Great Fish River, employing local residents to remove farm fencing. The reserve hired hundreds of former farm family members, some of whom receive training at CCA's Inkwazi Ranger Training School.
Guests staying in the all-suite lodge or the converted farmhouse can join a ranger for game viewing. Others might visit a neighboring community or join the resident historian for a historical and archaeological tour of the area.
Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar and Tanzania
Blue-spotted stingrays, colorful parrotfish, and the resident hawksbill turtle greet snorkelers led by an experienced resort guide through the Chumbe Island Coral Park (www.chumbeisland.com), a now protected reef sanctuary previously degraded by overfishing.
The resort's restaurant serves local, hand-prepared traditional Zanzibari cuisine, which helps sustain local farmers. Guest bungalows use state-of-the-art ecological measures, including solar power, filtering of gray water (wash water from sinks, showers, and so on), and compost toilets.
Finalists are travel enterprises specializing in culture or history.
Anangu Tours, Northern Territory, Australia
Anangu Tours (www.anangutours.com.au/), an Aboriginal-owned company, invites you into the shadow of Uluru (Ayer's Rock), deep in Australia's outback, to discover traditional Aboriginal values. Locals design tours and lead them in their own language, using an interpreter.
You'll stroll through the bush at sunset, hear Aboriginal creation stories, and visit caves holding ancestral paintings. Tours introduce visitors to tjukurpa, the traditional law involving ecological, economic, and religious rules for living.
Anangu Tours has used its profits to help the community establish the first Aboriginal secondary college. The tours have strengthened cultural pride and kindled a renewed interest in traditional skills among local youth.
Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya
Campi ya Kanzi (www.maasai.com/default.htm)is a safari camp with a difference. Not only is your safari guide likely to be Maasai, but in addition to such wildlife as black rhino, cheetah, and wild dog, you also get a firsthand glimpse of Maasai culture, meeting people in the local village.
Campi ya Kanzi helps the Maasai women preserve traditional craftmaking skills, and you can buy their work knowing your money benefits them directly, instead of going into the pockets of a distributor.
Campi ya Kanzi is a joint venture between the founders and the Maasai community, which receives about U.S. $30 per guest per day from operations. Together with its associated Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, the camp employs over 70 Maasai.
Moki Treks, Utah, United States
On Moki Treks (www.mokitreks.com), Native American tours, you discover the often misunderstood culture of North American Indiansfrom the Indians themselves.
Tour-goers explore Navajo country with a Navajo guide, learn Blackfeet traditions from a Blackfeet, and discover from the Nez Perce how their tribe saved the lives Lewis and Clark. Indians help develop Moki itineraries that are steeped in authentic Native American life: food, storytelling, dance, song, craftmaking, even the chance to sleep in a tepee.
Moki Treks purchases all food locally, contributes generously to the hosting tribes, and helps Indians protect their natural resources and preserve disappearing cultural practices.
HOTELS AND RESORTS
Finalists are general-purpose lodgings and resorts that make exemplary contributions to sustaining the local environment and cultural character.
Casuarina Beach Club, Barbados
Casuarina Beach Club (www.casuarina.com/) offers guests a rarely experienced Caribbean settinga 9 acre (3.6-hectare) wooded garden in a highly developed tourist area.
You can enjoy reef diving, local poetry readings, and the vast Casuarina art collection, which features Barbadian sculpture, paintings, and quilts. Recycling receptacles in every corner attest to the resort's strict environmental guidelines, which include water recycling and composting.
Barbados residents are encouraged to be part of the scene and may even invite you to join them in a cricket match.
Turtle Island, Fiji
From the privacy of your luxurious Turtle Island burea spacious two-room thatched cottage constructed by local Fijiansyou can watch the ocean change hue as a cloud passes and hear a coconut thump to the ground.
Turtle Island (www.turtlefiji.com/index.php) is one of the Yasawa chain of small islands. To experience local culture, just talk to the staffhalf are native Yasawansor attend church in a local village.
Turtle Island is also helping Yasawa villages turn their modest backpacker hotels into sustainable, profitable businesses. The resort has been reforesting its own island with thousands of mahogany, eucalyptus, and coconut trees. Your dinner includes vegetables, fruits, and herbs grown in the resort's organic garden.
Voyages Hotels and Resorts, Australia
With accommodations stretched across Australia, Voyages Hotels and Resorts (www.voyages.com.au/) offers travelers the experience of red-rock deserts, canopied rain forests, and floodlands of the tropical north. From a room at Voyages' Ferntree Rainforest Lodge in North Queensland, for instance, you can look out to jungly greenery and colorful butterflies, then try sea kayaking, horseback riding, or riding in a gondola above the rain forest canopy.
Throughout Australia, Voyages has established a reputation for environmental and cultural sensitivity that has extended to assisting Aboriginal communities with developing their own tour businesses.
Finalists are locales that take exemplary care to protect their natural and cultural character.
Gunung Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia
Gunung Rinjani (www.lombok-network.com/rinjani/index.htm), one of Indonesia's sacred sites, is a forested volcano perfect for trekking to awe-inspiring waterfalls, crater valleys, and panoramic ocean views.
Tourism businesses, mountain villages, and the local national park partnered to create the Rinjani Trek Management Board, which gives locals a voice in tourist management and revenue uses. Twice a month, park staff and local residents join in a clean-up patrol to remove garbage from the mountainside. Almost 200 villagers work as trek guides and porters, while local women produce handicrafts for direct sale to travelers.
Jurassic Coast, England
Walk along the southern coast of England's Dorset and Devon counties and you'll see fossils embedded in the sea cliffs. Some 185 million years old, the fossils of this Jurassic Coast (www.swgfl.org.uk/jurassic/) have earned it UN World Heritage status thanks to the efforts of active local civic groups. Many business owners and residents receive "Jurassic Host" training on the historical and cultural significance of the region, so that they can better inform visitors.
A visit to the region includes much more than fossils and geology, but also bird and sea-life watching, and a chance to learn countryside skills such as dry-stone wallbuilding and hedge laying.
Moosalamoo Region, Vermont, United States
Historic bed-and-breakfasts, blueberry farms, and peregrine falcon nesting sites enliven the Moosalamoo Region (www.moosalamoo.com/). Moosalamoo is a 10-mile-wide (16-kilometer-wide) area in west-central Vermont whose residents have developed a long-standing partnership with the Green Mountain National Forest, which occupies much of the area.
The Moosalamoo Association, the region's stewardship organization, works with the Forest Service to plan conservation and coordinate volunteer efforts by dedicated locals. One volunteer wrote a book on Native American sites and history, another developed a native-plant garden at her inn, and others manage hiking trails and maintain habitats for indigo buntings and chestnut-sided warblers. Small lodges throughout the region participate in the Vermont Farm Fresh Network, purchasing local produce such as eggs, carrots, flour, and maple syrup.
Watch this site on June 8 for the announcement of the four World Legacy Awards winners.
For more sustainable-travel news, scroll down.
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