During the opening ceremony of the 75th Skål World Congress held at the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel in Mexico City, Karine Coulanges, International President of Skål International, presented Sustainable Tourism awards to eight winners. Conducted with the help of Sealed Air’s Diversey Care division, a leading global provider of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions, the awards honour tourism initiatives that support environmental sustainability.
Skål, founded in 1934, is the largest organization of travel and tourism professionals in the world. To encourage the conservation of the environment and help promote the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, Skål International initiated an awards program in 2002, during “The Year of Ecotourism and the Mountains” as declared by the United Nations.
Karine Coulanges (left), International President of Skål International, presents the Sustainable Tourism award (Urban Accommodation) to Brian Anderson (right), Sustainable Development Manager of Chiva-Som Health Resorts.
Since their launch in 2002, the awards have received strong ongoing support and attracted a high level of participation, with a total of 506 entrants. This year, a total of 24 projects from 12 countries entered the eight different categories.
To evaluate the projects, Skål International selected a panel of three independent judges from important institutions/organizations and experts in Eco and Sustainable tourism. The primary criteria for the evaluation are based on points, such as contribution to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, community involvement, educational features, business viability and innovation.
Thailand won a handful of awards, including Chiva-Som International Health Resorts in the ‘urban accommodation’ category; and MEPSEC Hua Hin (Mangrove Ecosystem Preservation & Scientific Education Center) in the Marine: Coastal tourism, underwater, beaches, lakes, rivers, water sports, etc., category. Brian Anderson, Sustainable Development Manager of Chiva-Som Health Resorts who is also the President of Skål International Hua Hin & Cha Am was there to receive both the awards.