BRIEF INFORMATION`S ABOUT WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION CENTURY AWARD
WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD
INFORMATION`S ABOUT WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD
President of Lao PDR and Government of Laos receiving WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD from European Council on Tourism and Trade delegation ( Vientiane , May 2013)
Syria`s Minister of Tourism Mr. Saadala Aga receiving WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD
The WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION is the highest honor to be awarded for a country for achievements in tourism . This award is offered to the countries that are complying with United Nations Tourism Division , UNESCO and European Union Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) principles on fair tourism, ethical tourism and safety standards and historic preservation of cultural sites.
In 2006 a collective of international specialists in tourism , tourist education, tourism regulation experts and academics from European Union member countries decided that the new century requires a special prize dedicated to influence and support development of tourism in non European Union countries , cultural tourism , historical sites preservation and to direct tourism towards countries of social and cultural values.
On this occasion was decided the title and the methodology of the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD.
According to 2006 decision of Board of European Union Council on Tourism and Trade the Prize should be awarded under such considerations as : This award must be offered to the countries that are embracing tourism as a resource for cultural and social development, who respect ethics of human relations and preserve cultural and natural heritage as the receivers cities and countries must prove their commitment towards sustainable development, fair tourism and historical preservation . The title should act as a booster for tourism in that place but in according with international tourism accepted laws and regulation as decided by European Union Council on Tourism and Trade .
Among the reasons for awarding this title the Board should have under consideration : the promotion of a free and fair tourism , safety of tourists , facilities offered, access to historical and cultural significance sites, the amount of investment in historical sites preservation, cultural protection investment , use of tourism income for the creation of an economic social balanced climate , historical value etc.
Nomination criteria and selection.
Every year the Academic Board of European Union Council on Tourism and Trade specifically invites qualified tourism academics, experts in tourism , European Union`s and world tourism policy makers, personalities, former recipient of the award to submit nominations for WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD .
These nominators are selected each year by decision of Board of European Union Council on Tourism and Trade :
- Members of European Union`s Tourism Organizations and National tourism Organizations from European Union
- Other members of national parliaments and national governments of European union`s members country`s
- Present members of Board of European Union Council on Tourism and Trade are ex officio participating
- Former members of Board of European Union Council on Tourism and Trade are participating by base to base invitation only
- University professors from fields of history , tourism , international relations, from European Union
- Important international personalities form tourism environment.
Nominations are usually submitted until 1 of August of the year in question but the update and new name are accepted until the completion is closed. The statues of WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD guarantee the secrecy of nominations, procedure, considerations and investigation for a period of 50 years after the prize have being awarded.
The nominations are not representing anything else than the opinion of the nominators and are not involving the European Union Council on Tourism and Trade in any way. Only the final public decision is endorsed by the European Union Council on Tourism and Trade .
Nominations are evaluated and consider on a year round basis by the Academic Committee until a short list of candidates is created and circulated. In the final stage each of the prior recipients of the award are requested to offer their opinion on the short listed candidates in 20 days. The decision is ideal if is a unanimous one but this is not always achievable so the largest consensus will be the base for final decision. There is not final date to announce the winner and no pressure on the committee in order to insure that they just and correct decision was taken.
Awarding the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD.
The President of European Union Council on Tourism and Trade presents the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD in the presence of a delegation of European Union Council on Tourism and Trade in the capital or city that is obtaining the status WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD.
The WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD receives a diploma of honor, a scroll certifying the authenticity of the title and a special trophy.
Honorable Kamla Pershad Bissessar –Prime Minister of Government of Republic of Trinidad and Tobago about
WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD
The award of World’s Best Tourist Destination will significantly assist in branding destination Trinidad and Tobago globally. We must change the perception of our country in the overseas markets. We must celebrate our country and work hard to sell our country abroad. It is anticipated that this award will open us to untapped European markets that are perhaps weary of the traditional leisure destinations and desire a more exciting vacation experience.
Honorable Kamla Pershad Bissessar –Prime Minister of Government of Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Date: Wednesday October 19, 2011
Venue: Regency 4, 5 &6 of Hyatt Regency Trinidad
I am indeed truly humbled and deeply honoured to be standing here today to accept, on behalf of the People of Trinidad and Tobago, the World’s Best Tourism Destination Award for 2012 from the European Union Council on Tourism and Trade. A non-governmental organisation, this body has a wide ranging membership of tourism representatives within the European Union.
We were also declared the World’s Favourite Cultural Destination in 2012 by the European Union Council on Tourism and Trade.
It is my understanding that this award was unanimously given to Trinidad and Tobago primarily for our history of impressive cultural festivals, environmental conservation and biodiversity protection amongst other factors.
It is not an award that is traditionally given to well-established tourism destinations but it is the highest honour awarded to non-European Union countries that have embraced sustainable tourism as a tool for cultural and social development and that respect and preserve their cultural and natural heritage.
I extend my heartfelt thanks to the European Union Council on Tourism and Trade for having us join other distinguished winners of this award such as the United Arab Emirates, Syria and South Koreea.
But moreover, I thank the Council for recognising what most of us fail to acknowledge and value. And this is … Trinidad and Tobago is brim-full with tourism potential.
We are not the traditional sun, sea and surf destination. What differentiates us from the rest of our Caribbean neighbours is our diverse and rich natural, cultural and built heritage.
This People’s Partnership Government is seriously committed and dedicated to the development of the tourism industry in Trinidad and Tobago. Tourism is an incredibly important pillar in our national economic diversification effort.
We are not paying “lip service” to the industry as some may have done in the past. For too long tourism has been looked down on as a second class service sector.
We recognise that tourism is a business and fiercely competitive. Tourism requires skills, talent, enterprise and more importantly the support of government.
The award of World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2012 is important for several reasons.
Firstly, it facilitates the formation of closer linkages with Europe for tourism, trade and investment possibilities. The European continent, as in its colonial past, is a formidable trading partner especially with the fall of communism and the rise of new economic powers.
Europe is, and will certainly continue to be, a cornerstone for our international business.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The economic and social advancement of this beautiful twin island Republic of ours depends to a large extent on how well we develop and harness our resources. And one such untapped resource is that of tourism.
The award of World’s Best Tourist Destination will significantly assist in branding destination Trinidad and Tobago globally. We must change the perception of our country in the overseas markets. We must celebrate our country and work hard to sell our country abroad.
It is anticipated that this award will open us to untapped European markets that are perhaps weary of the traditional leisure destinations and desire a more exciting vacation experience.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
An important opportunity that this award presents is a platform to advance the commitments of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
As many of you may or may not be aware, in 2008 Trinidad and Tobago, along with its neighbours in the rest of the region, embarked upon a reciprocal trade agreement with one of our largest trading partners – the European Union (EU). The signing of the EPA signalled a shift in our trade and economic development.
We are now required to open our markets to Eastern Union manufacturers and service providers; but the EPA also provides market access for our country’s export of services to the European Union.
The Economic Partnership Agreement also speaks to specific disciplines on tourism services because of its importance to the social and economic development of the European Union and the Caribbean. These rules are complemented by a commitment to legally binding open market conditions for each other. For instance, the Europe Union has made commitments for travel agencies, tour operators, tourist guides services.
Trinidad and Tobago, on the other hand, have made commitments in relation to hotels and restaurants, marina services and spa services.
The EPA also includes measures that would make it easier for European Union investors to invest in the Trinidad and Tobago. This award, then, will provide a platform to attract increased investment and to promote growth and development in the tourism sector.
The Economic Partnership Agreement is, therefore, rendered more relevant, more strategic and more focused on deliverables.
Honorable Prime Minister Kamla Pershad Bissessar receives WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD for 2012.
The World’s Best Tourism Destination award will, moreover, engender a measure of national pride amongst our citizenry and raise the level of public confidence in Trinidad and Tobago as a tourist destination.
We should be proud of our country and its tourism potential. We have so much to be proud of, so much to share with each other, and so much to show off to the rest of the world. Let us not doubt or question our intrinsic value.
In closing, ladies and gentlemen, I must take a moment to publicly acknowledge the hard work and sacrifices of our tourism community … the stakeholders in our midst. The last few years have been quite challenging for all in the tourism industry.
But rest assured that the tourism industry will get the backing it needs.
But we cannot do it alone. We have all to work together. The private sector in the lead but with government acting as a facilitator; supporting every step of the way.
I want to urge you to continue working with commitment, energy and enthusiasm for the betterment of the tourism industry.
I thank you. God’s richest blessings on us all.
MINISTER OF CULTURE, INFORMATION AND TOURISM OF LAO PDR
ACADEMICIAN BOSENGKHAM VONGDARA KEY NOTE SPEECH AT WORLD BEST TOURIST
DESTINATION AWARD CEREMONY
Date: Thursday May 9, 2013
Venue: Lao PDR, Vientiane, Don Chan Palace Hotel
On behalf of the Lao government and people, it is my pleasure and delight to welcome all delegates to the presentation ceremony of the World's Best Tourist Destination Award for 2013 to Laos.
Today, the Lao government and people are proud and delighted to have received this honourable prize, which demonstrates the great achievements of tourism development in Laos. Laos offers impressive tourist attractions and services for tourists from across the world.
Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of Lao PDR-Academician Professor dr. Bosengkham Vongdara and European Council on Tourism and Trade high ranking official`s delegation in Vientiane.
I would like to take this opportunity to praise and express my sincere gratitude to the European Council on Tourism and Trade and all tourists for highly valuing Lao tourism and selecting Laos as the World's Best Tourist Destination for 2013.
I would like, especially, to welcome Prof. Dr Anton Caragea, Chairman of the European Council on Tourism and Trade, and his delegation to Laos to attend the ceremony and present the award.
The Lao PDR is diverse in languages, cultures and customs, which have been inherited from our ancestors over thousands of years. The country is rich in spectacular natural resources as well as having a long and civilised history and well-known archaeological sites, which further boosts Laos' tourism potential.
With great effort and a high sense of responsibility by the Party and government since the 4th Party Congress in 1986 outlined a comprehensive renovation policy to open up for foreign cooperation, tourism has played an ever more prominent role in the country's socio-economic development.
The government has defined policy and taken action to develop and promote cultural, natural and historical tourism. To facilitate the growth of tourism and services, the government has done its utmost to develop infrastructure such as building roads to link all regions across the country as well as connecting with neighbouring countries. Over the past 4-5 years, the government has exerted utmost efforts to increase the number of border checkpoints to integrate with countries in the region and the world at large.
At present, the Lao PDR has 23 international checkpoints, of which 21 can issue visas. Laos has four international airports (Wattay International Airport, Luang Prabang International Airport, Savannakhet International Airport and Pakxe International Airport). Visas have been exempted for citizens of Asean member countries. Laos has also granted visa exemptions to citizens of Japan, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Russia, Mongolia and Luxembourg.
The authorities have redefined that visas issued at checkpoints permit the holders to stay in Laos for 15 days, reduced from 30 days previously. According to Prime Ministerial Order No. 15 issued on June 20, 2006, these visas can be extended by the provincial authorities instead of only by the Vientiane authority as before. In addition, the government grants three-month visas to foreign citizens of Lao origin who acquire visas from Lao embassies, which can be extended for another three months.
However, visas issued at border checkpoints grant only a two-month stay with another two months of extension. After implementing the aforesaid tourism development and promotion policy, the tourism sec tor has grown rapidly. From 1990 to 2012, foreign tourist arrivals have risen by an average of 20.36 percent annually. In 2012, Laos registered 3,330,072 foreign tourists generating total revenue as high as US$513,576,784. By 2013 the number of tour operators had risen to 275 companies.
Hotels and guesthouses have also increased and in 2012 there were 3,526 hotels and guesthouses offering 35,857 rooms. Laos now has 1,493 official tourist sites comprising 849 sites of natural interest, 435 sites of cultural interest, and 209 historical sites.
Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of Lao PDR-Academician Professor dr. Bosengkham Vongdara deleivering acceptance speech for LAOS: WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD IN 2013.
The Lao PDR shares similar characteristics with many other countries, such as different and diverse traditions and customs among its multi-ethnic people.
There are also impressive archaeological and historical sites such as Luang Prabang, the historic town and living world heritage site, and Vat Phou Champassak, which is another world heritage site dating back to the 12th century. In addition, the historic caves of Viengxay (deemed to be the birthplace of the Lao PDR) have become an open-air museum, while the Plain of Jars is expected to be listed as a world heritage site in the near future. The Lao PDR also has rich and beautiful natural sites suitable for development as ecotourism attractions and green industry without smog or hazardous pollution, which will become new relaxing sites to impress visitors from the region and the world.
Community-based eco-tourism programmes have become Laos' unique feature and have great potential because they give visitors the chance to get in touch with and taste nat ure, as well as the everyday life of local people and the customs practised by the Lao multiethnic people.
To translate the tourism development strategic plan for 2011-2020, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in collaboration with provincial authorities have carried out nature-based tourism activities with the participation of local people by making use of the local potential and conditions of each province. Such activities were first initiated in 2000 in Luang Namtha province, called the ‘Community-based Eco-tourism Programme'. Similar programmes now exist in all 17 provinces involving 40 districts and 160 villages, and have generated income directly for local people.
Because of these progressive great achievements of the Lao tourism sector coupled with the impressive progress made in socio-economic development across the country, Laos has been praised by tourists and friendly countries across the world, justified by the fact that Laos has been awarded many honourable and impressive prizes as follows:
In 2008, the New York Times named Laos as one of 53 countries it described as the world's top tourist destinations.
The world heritage site of Luang Prabang received the Top City Gold Award after being voted the world's top tourist destination by Wanderlust, a UK based travel magazine from 2006 to 2008, and again from 2010 to 2012.
The Community-based Eco-tourism Programme in the Nam Ha Protected Forest Area in Luang Namtha province also won an award for ‘best poverty alleviation project' and ‘best services' given by the United Nations Development Programme. And today, we feel proud and honoured that the European Council on Tourism and Trade awards Laos with the World's Best Tourist Destination Award for 2013. This honourable prize will make Laos even more popular among tourists across the globe, and will drive the development of the tourism sector in our country.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to Professor Dr Anton Caragea, President of the European Council on Tourism and Trade, for highly valuing the development of Lao tourism. I agree with his comment that “In the 21st century, tourism has become an important bridge for friendship and relations among nations in the world; it is also a way to promote peace and mutual understanding and lead the way to a good future.”
The Lao PDR stands ready to continue to develop the tourism sector to contribute to establishing and enhancing friendly relations among nations in the world to make a joint effort to promote peace and mutual understanding, together entering into the proper future of development under the sky of peace, friendship and sustainable cooperation.
On this auspicious occasion, I would like to wish Party and state leaders and honourable Lao and foreign guests participating in this ceremony good health, success in your noble tasks, happiness and prosperity, and further contributions to the tourism development of our country for progressive success.
I would like, especially, to wish Professor Dr Anton Caragea and high-level delegates from the European Council on Tourism and Trade good health, success in your noble tasks and happiness, and to further contribute to promoting Lao tourism in Europe and across the globe.
CRITERIA FOR WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARDING PROCEEDING
European Union Guide for Best Practice in Sustainable Tourism
All participants involved in a tourism activity should get their fair share of the income, in direct proportion to their contribution to the activity.
All participants involved in a tourism activity should have the right and opportunity to participate in decisions that concern them.
Both host and visitor should have respect for human rights, culture and environment.
- Safe working conditions and practices
- Protection of young workers
- Promoting gender equality
- Understanding and tolerance of socio-cultural norms
- Reducing consumption of water and energy as well as reducing, reusing and recycling waste
- Conservation of biodiversity and natural resources
- HIV / Aids awareness
The services delivered to tourists should be reliable and consistent. Basic safety and securityfor both host and visitor should be ensured.
Tourism businesses should establish mechanisms of accountability.
- Ownership of tourism businesses must be clearly defined
- Employees and other participants should be able to access information that concerns them
- Sharing of profits, benefits and losses must be transparent
The tourism businesses should strive to be sustainable.
- Increased knowledge through capacity building
- Improved use of available resources through networking and partnerships
- Economic viability through responsible use of resources
- Reduction of leakage through local purchasing and employment
- Support to historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs
Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria
- The Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria
- Working together for the universal adoption of sustainable tourism principles
· Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria Preamble
- Sustainable tourism is on the rise: consumer demand is growing, travel industry suppliers are developing new green programs, and governments are creating new policies to encourage sustainable practices in tourism. But what does “sustainable tourism” really mean? How can it be measured and credibly demonstrated, in order to build consumer confidence, promote efficiency, and fight false claims?
- The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria are an effort to come to a common understanding of sustainable tourism, and will be the minimum that any tourism business should aspire to reach. They are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning; maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community; enhancing cultural heritage; and reducing negative impacts to the environment. Although the criteria are initially intended for use by the accommodation and tour operation sectors, they have applicability to the entire tourism industry.
- The criteria are part of the response of the tourism community to the global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability – including climate change – are the main cross-cutting issues that are addressed through the criteria.
- Beginning in 2007, a coalition of 27 organizations – the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria – came together to develop the criteria. Since then, they have reached out to close to 100,000 tourism stakeholders, analyzed more than 4,500 criteria from more than 60 existing certification and other voluntary sets of criteria, and received comments from over 1500 individuals. The Sustainable Tourism Criteria have been developed in accordance with the ISEAL Code of Best Practice, and as such will undergo consultation and receive input every two years until feedback is no longer provided or unique.
- Some of the expected uses of the criteria include the following:
- • Serve as basic guidelines for businesses of all sizes to become more sustainable, and help businesses choose sustainable tourism programs that fulfill these global criteria;
- • Serve as guidance for travel agencies in choosing suppliers and sustainable tourism programs;
- • Help consumers identify sound sustainable tourism programs and businesses;
- • Serve as a common denominator for information media to recognize sustainable tourism providers;
- • Help certification and other voluntary programs ensure that their standards meet a broadly-accepted baseline;
- • Offer governmental, non-governmental, and private sector programs a starting point for developing sustainable tourism requirements; and
- • Serve as basic guidelines for education and training bodies, such as hotel schools and universities.
- The criteria indicate what should be done, not how to do it or whether the goal has been achieved. This role is fulfilled by performance indicators, associated educational materials, and access to tools for implementation, all of which are an indispensable complement to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.
- The Partnership conceives the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria as the beginning of a process to make sustainability the standard practice in all forms of tourism.
Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria
- A. Demonstrate effective sustainable management.
- A.1. The company has implemented a long-term sustainability management system that is suitable to its reality and scale, and that considers environmental, sociocultural, quality, health, and safety issues.
- A.2. The company is in compliance with all relevant international or local legislation and regulations (including, among others, health, safety, labor, and environmental aspects).
- A.3. All personnel receive periodic training regarding their role in the management of environmental, sociocultural, health, and safety practices.
- A.4. Customer satisfaction is measured and corrective action taken where appropriate.
- A.5. Promotional materials are accurate and complete and do not promise more than can be delivered by the business.
- A.6. Design and construction of buildings and infrastructure:
- A.6.1. comply with local zoning and protected or heritage area requirements;
- A.6.2. respect the natural or cultural heritage surroundings in siting, design, impact assessment, and land rights and acquisition;
- A.6.3 use locally appropriate principles of sustainable construction;
- A.6.4 provide access for persons with special needs.
- A.7. Information about and interpretation of the natural surroundings, local culture, and cultural heritage is provided to customers, as well as explaining appropriate behavior while visiting natural areas, living cultures, and cultural heritage sites.
- B. Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts.
- B.1. The company actively supports initiatives for social and infrastructure community development including, among others, education, health, and sanitation.
- B.2. Local residents are employed, including in management positions. Training is offered as necessary.
- B.3. Local and fair-trade services and goods are purchased by the business, where available.
- B.4. The company offers the means for local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area’s nature, history, and culture (including food and drink, crafts, performance arts, agricultural products, etc.).
- B.5. A code of conduct for activities in indigenous and local communities has been developed, with the consent of and in collaboration with the community.
- B.6. The company has implemented a policy against commercial exploitation, particularly of children and adolescents, including sexual exploitation.
- B.7. The company is equitable in hiring women and local minorities, including in management positions, while restraining child labor.
- B.8. The international or national legal protection of employees is respected, and employees are paid a living wage.
- B.9. The activities of the company do not jeopardize the provision of basic services, such as water, energy, or sanitation, to neighboring communities.
- C. Maximize benefits to cultural heritage and minimize negative impacts.
- C.1. The company follows established guidelines or a code of behavior for visits to culturally or historically sensitive sites, in order to minimize visitor impact and maximize enjoyment.
- C.2. Historical and archeological artifacts are not sold, traded, or displayed, except as permitted by law.
- C.3. The business contributes to the protection of local historical, archeological, culturally, and spiritually important properties and sites, and does not impede access to them by local residents.
- C.4 The business uses elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage in its operations, design, decoration, food, or shops; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities.
- D. Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts.
- D.1. Conserving resources
- D.1.1. Purchasing policy favors environmentally friendly products for building materials, capital goods, food, and consumables.
- D.1.2. The purchase of disposable and consumable goods is measured, and the business actively seeks ways to reduce their use.
- D.1.3. Energy consumption should be measured, sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted, while encouraging the use of renewable energy.
- D.1.4. Water consumption should be measured, sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted.
- D.2. Reducing pollution
- D.2.1. Greenhouse gas emissions from all sources controlled by the business are measured, and procedures are implemented to reduce and offset them as a way to achieve climate neutrality.
- D.2.2. Wastewater, including gray water, is treated effectively and reused where possible.
- D.2.3. A solid waste management plan is implemented, with quantitative goals to minimize waste that is not reused or recycled.
- D.2.4. The use of harmful substances, including pesticides, paints, swimming pool disinfectants, and cleaning materials, is minimized; substituted, when available, by innocuous products; and all chemical use is properly managed.
- D.2.5. The business implements practices to reduce pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone-depleting compounds, and air and soil contaminants.
- D.3. Conserving biodiversity, ecosystems, and landscapes
- D.3.1. Wildlife species are only harvested from the wild, consumed, displayed, sold, or internationally traded, as part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilization is sustainable.
- D.3.2. No captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities, and living specimens of protected wildlife species are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped to house and care for them.
- D.3.3. The business uses native species for landscaping and restoration, and takes measures to avoid the introduction of invasive alien species.
- D.3.4. The business contributes to the support of biodiversity conservation, including supporting natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value.
- D.3.5. Interactions with wildlife must not produce adverse effects on the viability of populations in the wild; and any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management.