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Ecotourism Spotlight Award


From the archives: the 2007-2010 Ecotourism Spotlight Award. We will be tracking down links from the contenders and talking up the continuing work toward eco travel during Responsible Travel Week, February 10-16

Original Announcement
Government websites that engage locals and visitors about ecotourism, responsible travel and the local travel movement are eligible to win Planeta.com’s annual Ecotourism Spotlight Award.

The winner is announced in celebration of World Tourism Day (September 27) to spotlight best practices from government institutions.

What’s in it for the nominees? International exposure and bragging rights!

The Ecotourism Spotlight Award helps the website managers focus attention on the natural world and conservation efforts. What are the results if one searches for ‘ecotourism’ on the portal? If other terms mean more or less the same thing is this clear on the home page? We encourage early application so that nominees have time to tweak their sites before voting begins in August.

STEP 1: NOMINATING WEBSITES – Only the managers of government websites can nominate their own sites.

STEP 2: SELECTING NOMINEES – We are asking for examples of best practices. The application asks what information the website includes, particularly the practical information for travelers about ecotourism, responsible travel, the local tourism movement, Indigenous tours and sustainable practices. We ask whether the site includes details about local operators, city parks and public transportation. Does the site includes exterior links to local businesses and conservation groups? Does the site highlight Indigenous or Aboriginal tourism options? If the site can demonstrate that it does spotlight some of these practices, nominees will be asked to add a link and logo.

STEP 3: VOTING – Voting takes place via a popular count in August 2010. Respondents will be asked to review all the sites and choose their favorite via selection using an exterior link. Multiple votes will not be permitted. Honesty counts!

STEP 4: ANNOUNCEMENT – The results will be tabulated and the winner announced in advance of World Tourism Day (September 27).

Planeta.com welcomes financial sponsorship to help develop this and other awards to encourage communication and conversation about ecotourism. Those interested should contact us!

Planeta.com is an award-winning website that presents articles and discussion about the environment and travel. The site debuted in 1994. Travelers will find tips on choosing eco-friendly, people-friendly and place-friendly trips. Professionals will find a number of helpful resources, including our Exploring Ecotourism Resource Guide.

The Ecotourism Spotlight Award represents an opportunity for managers of government websites to improve their websites. Among the criteria for selection, the website should …

  • be regularly updated
  • link to other relevant sites
  • encourage sustainable livelihoods, respect of life on earth
  • be user-friendly
  • be trustworthy
  • provide clear contextual information
  • have some text in English
  • add the award logo

International websites should show what’s happening in various regions.
Regional and national websites should show options for travelers.
City websites should show what’s new in town and how eco-minded travelers can choose the best services.
As we pay attention to climate concerns, we would like to see details about public transportation.
As we pay attention to food, we would like sites to educate visitors about local cuisine and the environmental considerations

Bonus points to applicants making the most of Social Web channels, including blogs, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and wikis.

Websites need to be active. Sites that cease to exist will be removed from the competition.

Winning Tips
Government websites are advised to:

1) Move toward conversation with locals and visitors.

2) Create an informative, content-rich website that provides detailed information for visitors seeking eco-friendly, people-friendly and place-friendly travel. Provide direct links to local operations and seek input from those at the vanguard of in-country ecotourism on making your site even better.

3) Add the logo and link for the award on your website. Alert visitors to check out all the contenders. Be generous!

Questions and Answers
How much does it cost to apply for the award? – The competition is free! There is no cost to apply.
Are private businesses or NGOs eligible for the award? – No. The award is given to websites managed or financed by government entities. Municipal, regional, national and international government websites are eligible.
Can parks departments and institutions working on conservation apply for the award? – Yes! There are multiple players working in ecotourism. The award is not limited to tourism institutions.
What does the winner receive? – Bragging rights!


2010 spotlight award (2,000+ views)
2009 spotlight award (7,000+ views)

The award always makes us analyze the site anew from an ecotourism perspective, and always gives us fresh impetus in our endeavors to cover ecotravel. For that, we’re very grateful to enter and to be considered!
– Dominic Hamilton, Quito Visitors’ Bureau

Links 2010

Links 2007-2009
Ron Mader Blog
Sustainability NZ
Tourism Review


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