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Planeta.com Presents 2010 Colibri Ecolodge Award to Verena Gerber in honor of World Environment Day

COLIBRI WIKI

Publication Date: June 2010

Verena Gerber and the Yucatan Governor, Ivonne Ortega Pacheco

FLICKR ALBUM: Colibri Award


OAXACA DE JUAREZ, MEXICO -- To celebrate World Environment Day, Planeta.com presents the tenth annual Colibri Ecotourism Award in the form of our first Colibri Ecolodge Award to Verena Gerber.

ABOUT THE COLIBRI AWARD

Colibri means 'Hummingbird' in Spanish and in 2010 the Colibri Award celebrates its tenth anniversary, making this one of the longest-running ecotourism awards. Previous winners include Steve Bridger, Gerhard Buttner, Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, Jorge Chàvez de la Peña, Fernando Garcia Aguinaco, Marlene Ehrenberg, Juan Carlos Ibarra, Pedro Martinez, Jennifer Morfín, Antonio Suárez and Francisco Verástegui. In 2010 Verena shares the spotlight with Colibri Ecotourism Award winner Allan Rhodes.

The winner of the award is selected by Planeta.com founder Ron Mader following consultation with previous award winners and colleagues.

CRITERIA

Planeta.com presents the Colibri Ecotourism Award to those whose work in Mexico is exemplary and who share what they learn. Good ideas require good work to come to completion and good work needs to be documented so that lessons can be shared.

Nominees participate by helpful edits, connecting using Web 2.0, Planeta Wiki or contribute editorial suggestions for at least a year. Bonus points are given to those who participate on other websites and forums. This is part of Planeta.com's desire to create incentives for communication, collaboration and continuity, all vital elements in the development of responsible travel and ecotourism.


WINNER

Verena opened EcoParaiso in 1996. Located on one of the most fascinating Mexican biological reserves, nestled on a 3-mile virgin beach, Hotel Eco Paraiso is located on the edge of the Celestún Biosphere Reserve in the Yucatán Peninsula.

EcoParaiso is eco chic, providing impeccable comfort and service in tranquil, natural surroundings. It offers a magical experience in a pristine environment, while providing a warm ecological oriented ambiance with wellness facilities and healthy activities for the guests well-while in intimate contact with nature. Highlights include a yoga center, juice therapy, pools and massage cubicles.

Verena and Marlene

"We've persevered 15 years," Verena said. "The work has been titanic in scope -- changing the way beach resorts have been developed and promoted. It wasn't easy at the beginning and it's not easy now, but it's a challenge we've accepted. Every day the tourists are becoming more savvy in terms of what they're seeking and it's my belief that we will thrive in the changing tourism environment."

Verena sees her role as a representative of private industry as a way of changing an attitude that seeks partnerships. "It's important to work together so that we can all benefit. Private industry invests in tourism and we're betting not just on tourism but on ecotourism". On top of Verena's wishlist -- deeper support and better promotion of ecotourism from Mexico's tourism officials.

MORE ABOUT THE WINNER

b Flickr Gallery
b Website

DISCLOSURE

Editorial note from Ron: I think it's incumbent for awards to disclose financial transactions. In full disclosure: I have received a payment from Verena for the past few years for a listing in the World Travel Directory. This has had no bearing on Verena winning the award. I have been a long-time fan of her work for about 15 years, since the time I was researching the Mexico: Adventures in Nature guidebook.


TESTIMONIALS

Pasan crisis y huracanes pero el ecoparaiso de Verena Gerber en Celestún, Yucatán, sigue ahí. Ahora, además con posibilidades de ofrecer retiros de Yoga. No se que otra señal espero para ir y saludar una vez más a Verena.
- Fernando Garcia Aguinaco, Ganador Colibri

Verena Gerber has created Ecoparaiso Xixim as refreshingly different from most of the Yucatan Peninsula resorts and beach hotels, blending into the surroundings and is respected in the neighbouring community of Celestun, a first impression confirmed through my regular contact with Xixim's main ecotourism guide, a community member of Celestun, while spending time in the town myself.
- Gerhard Buttner, Colibri Winner

Verena Gerber is the personification of dynamism and energy. Her contributions to the conservation of the dunes in front of the Eco Paraiso resort and the creative implementation of measures to protect bird species especially the endemic ones are countless. I have seen her work many hours consulting with the experts to do the correct thing in order to preserve nature be it sewage treatment or keeping the natural vegetation untouched. I have a great respect for such a human being. I hope we had more Verena Gerbers in the world. She has been an remarkable example of work ethics and perseverance to me.
- Alfonso Escobedo, Ecoturismo Yucatán

Muy merecido el premio Colibrí por tus esfuerzos y perseberancia, se necesitan factores ideologicos muy especiales para continuar en esta lucha contra la destruccion del medio ambiente, me siento parte de ella y por tanto te brindo mi apoyo incondicional, FELICIDADES a todo el equipo de Xixim.
- Elena Gottdiener

Congratulations to Verena Gerber for winning the 2010 Colibri Ecolodge Award. The work to develop sustainable tourism seems endless, but it pays off in the end. Verena is a hard worker and has a commitment to conservation and protection which is so important to our Yucatan!
- Linda A. Schramm, AmigoYucatan

Yo también me pongo de pie y aplaudo al bello Xixim. Sra. Verena, muchas gracias por su enseñanza en el cuidado de la naturaleza y el medio ambiente. A la fecha sigo sus recomendaciones de separación de basura y protección a la naturaleza. Es Usted todo un ejemplo a seguir y me da tanta alegría y emoción que se reconozca la gran labor que se hace en Xixim.
- Luz María Núñez

Muy merecido premio! Ejemplos como Eco paraíso son los que tenemos que estar fomentando en nuestro país, gracias por tener la energía y la perseverancia de creer en que hay una mejor forma de hacer las cosas.
- Gael Almeida, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza

Te felicito es un reconocimiento que te mereces. Ya sabes que tus amigos de Fondo Mexicano que además pudimos vivir el concepto de Eco Paraíso te admiramos y desearíamos que hubiese más mexicanas y mas seres humanos como Verena.
- Eugenio Clariond Reyes, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza

¡Muchísimas felicitaciones! Mereces este reconocimiento y muchos más, por tu tesón, tu visión, tu amor por la naturaleza y tu sacrificio personal durante tantos años. Y por lo mucho que has enseñado a otros. Es un privilegio y un honor ser colega tuyo en el FMCN.
- Steve Knaebel, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza




REFERENCES

Planeta.com
Colibri Ecotourism Award
Short history of the Colibri Ecotourism Award
Reflections on Awards
World Environment Day
Colibri Slideshow b

Colibri

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