NEW YORK, Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Conde Nast Traveler announced the winners of the magazine's fifth annual World Savers Awards, honoring travel companies from around the world for their leadership in social responsibility in six key areas: education, health, poverty, preservation, wildlife, and "doing it all."
In a recent poll of Conde Nast Traveler readers, 93 percent thought travel companies should be responsible for protecting the environment, while 58 percent said their choice of hotel is influenced by the support it gives to the local community. Six percent said that more than two days was an ideal length of time to volunteer while on vacation, and 44 percent thought a half-day would be sufficient. The good news is that the World Savers Awards offer up opportunities for vacations where you can relax on your holiday in luxury, feeling at peace in the knowledge that the money you are spending is helping to support worthy acts of global citizenship.
The 2011 World Savers Awards Winners:
Education: Guludo Beach Lodge
Located on the white sandy beaches of Mozambique, this hyper-secluded getaway has leveraged upscale travel to change the lives of 15,000 Mozambicans by giving them access to clean water when they never had it before. They also provide school meals for 800 children, have distributed 9,000 mosquito nets, have built two new primary schools, and have provided 162 secondary school scholarships.
This Euro-chic hotel chain (which includes the brands Sofitel and Novotel) has 4,200 properties in 90 countries and is helping to fight AIDS in Africa, has trained more than 10,000 employees to recognize and report pedophiles to the authorities to fight child trafficking, and encourages guests to save water—for every five towels guests reuse, the company plants one tree.
An elegant farmstead on a wildlife reserve set in South African wine country has created a self-sustaining ecosystem and economy whose guests receive a lesson in wastewater management. The hotel also pays employees more than 30 percent above what the law requires, with a goal for all workers to afford access to health care as well as education for their families, and enabled 13 previously disenfranchised farmers to rent land directly from the government.
Preservation: Banyan Tree
All 29 of their hotel properties, set in unusual Asian locales and Mexico's Caribbean and Pacific coasts, operate in harmony with cultural heritage and the environment. The parent company committed in 2007 to plant 2,000 trees per year for ten years and has planted more than 96,000 to date.
Wildlife: Lindblad Expeditions
The company offers small-ship trips for adventurers who like their comforts. The ships carry scientists and guests into environmentally fragile places (the Galapagos Islands, the Arctic, the Amazon, etc.) to inspire—and institute—conservation.
Wildlife: Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa
This eco-friendly resort and spa is located in the Australian bush and has reintroduced decimated plant species, strives to be carbon neutral (using some 100 solar panels as well as windmills to pump water), and has protected small marsupials by establishing a "feral-free" habitat.
Overall Winners for "Doing It All," by Industry Category:
Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises
City Hotel: Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo, Brazil
Small Hotel Chain: Six Senses, Asia
Tour Operator: Abercrombie & Kent
Large Resort: Spier, South Africa
Small Resort: Guludo Beach Lodge, Mozambique
Large Hotel Chain: Accor
The 2011 World Savers Awards are featured in the September issue, which hits newsstands nationwide on August 23rd. World Savers Awards winners will be recognized in an awards ceremony during the 2011 World Savers Congress in Singapore this October.
World Savers Awards Methodology: The award winners have to meet exacting standards. The editors chose 53 finalists from 131 applicants. The judges (including academics, CEOs, philanthropists, and Conde Nast Traveler editors) then ranked the applicants in each area of social responsibility: poverty relief, preservation (environmental/cultural), education programs, wildlife conservation, and health initiatives. The final winner of each award was determined by compiling the judges' rankings.
David Alport, vice president, GBCHealth
Bill Chameides, dean, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Studies, Duke University
Laurie David, co-producer, An Inconvenient Truth; board member, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Kevin Doyle, news editor, Conde Nast Traveler
Chantal Dunbar, global marketing and communications manager, EarthCheck
Dorinda Elliot, global affairs editor, Conde Nast Traveler
Erika Harms, executive director, Global Sustainable Tourism Council
Martha Honey, co-director, Center for Responsible Travel
Herve Humler, president and COO, Ritz-Carlton
Kara Hartnett Hurst, vice president, BSR
Jorie Butler Kent, vice chairman, Abercrombie & Kent
Ron Mader, founder, Planeta.com
Brian T. Mullis, president and CEO, Sustainable Travel International
Hans Pfister, president and co-owner, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality
Kate Roberts, vice president of corporate marketing and communications, PSI
Linda Rottenberg, co-founder and CEO, Endeavor
Mika Vehvilainen, president and CEO, Finnair
Tensie Whelan, president, Rainforest Alliance
Gary White, executive director, Water.org
SOURCE Conde Nast Traveler