Trade News
California Parks Company partners with Sustainable Travel International

The California Parks Company is a leading concessionaire working in local, state, and national parks throughout California. In an effort to continue to improve its services and develop a stronger understanding of its sustainability footprint, the organization chose to partner with Sustainable Travel International and enroll into the STEP Sustainability Management System (SMS).

As of December 2013, The California Parks Company has already enrolled four of its sites into the STEP SMS program. Through the program, The California Parks Company Green Team Leader is able to record natural resource consumption, purchases, and customer feedback for all four selected operations to better understand daily, month, quarterly and annual operations related to key sustainability performance indicators.

Additionally, The California Parks Company is currently developing internal documentation in support of effective sustainability management that will result in their own certification to the STEP Eco-Certification standard.

"We chose Sustainable Travel International to assist us in achieving our sustainability goals because STI is the leader in sustainable hospitality industry. Sustainable Travel International proved they have the experience to help us develop a holistic sustainability management strategy that is appropriate for our complex variety of operations. The training and support from Andrew Grossmann and the rest of the team, has made the process a fantastic experience. I look forword to continue working with them as we move through the STEP certification process." -Grant Roden, Director of Environmental Resources, The California Parks Company

WTTC Announces Judges for 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced this week the judges for its prestigious 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

The Awards recognise the very best in sustainable tourism worldwide. In their tenth year under WTTC stewardship, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have been expanded to reflect the broadening scope of WTTC’s sustainability agenda. There are now six award categories, with the addition of two entirely new awards to recognize the areas of human resources and innovation.

18 independent experts on sustainable tourism will select three finalists for each of the six Award categories:

  • Business Award
  • Community Award
  • Destination Award
  • Environment Award
  • Innovation Award (new category)
  • People Award (new category)

The Awards are among the most coveted in the Travel & Tourism industry, each year recognising the most innovative businesses and destinations in sustainable tourism best practices. The selection of finalists and winners includes a rigorous three-step judging process culminating in an on-site expert field evaluation of all finalists to document best practices in action.

Led by Costas Christ, one of the world’s top sustainable tourism experts, who also serves as Chairman of Judges, the judging panel will select a shortlist of 18 finalists, following which the second stage of the process, the on-site field evaluations, will begin.

The 18 judges on the Finalist Selection Committee for 2014 are:

  • Amber Marie Beard, Vice President Sustainability, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Thailand
  • Kelly Bricker, Chair of the Board, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, President, The International Ecotourism Society, US
  • Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters and Associates, Australia
  • Paul Clark, Group Director of Human Resources, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
  • Gail Henry, Sustainable Tourism Product Specialist, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Barbados
  • Marilú Hernández, President, Fundación Haciendas del Mundo Maya, Mexico
  • Xenia Hohenlohe, Marketing Director, Considerate Hoteliers, Germany
  • Judy Kepher-Gona, Director, Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, Kenya
  • Mariglo Laririt, Director of Sustainability, Ten Knots Development Corporation, Philippines
  • Alix Marcaccini, Owner, Cuixmala Eco Resort, Mexico
  • Dr Graham Miller, Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey, UK
  • Samson Parashina, President and Chairman of the Board, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Kenya
  • Jenny Rushmore, Director of Responsible Travel, TripAdvisor, US
  • Manal Saad Kelig, Executive Director, Adventure Travel Trade Association, Egypt
  • Mahen Sanghrajka, Chairman, Spirit of Big Five Foundation, Big Five Tours and Expeditions, US
  • Karma Tshering, Chief of Nature Recreation and Ecotourism, Department of Forests and Park Services, Bhutan
  • Jalsa Urubshurow, Founder and CEO, Nomadic Expeditions, Mongolia
  • Tony Williams, Director, Hospitality Operations, Qatar Foundation, Qatar

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said: ‘We are delighted to have such high calibre judges to select our finalists who will provide an important perspective based on their diverse cultural backgrounds and professional expertise in the Travel & Tourism industry. We eagerly await the announcement of this year’s winners at the WTTC Global Summit in Hainan, China, on 24 April 2014.”

Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges said:  "Each year, more than twenty international experts from around the world, representing the private sector, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and governments, come together as independent judges to select the finalists and winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. This truly prestigious group of judges, hailing from Australia to Mexico, and from Kenya to Mongolia, represent the heart of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme.  In addition, the independent on-site evaluation of every finalist ensures that sustainable tourism achievements are demonstrated in practice as well as in principle, helping to usher in a global transformation of the Travel and Tourism industry, as an opportunity to protect natural and cultural heritage and improve local livelihoods around the world.”

Meet past winners of the Travel and Tourism awards: Watch the video here!


Martha Ruiz Corzo Wins Champions Of The Earth 2013 Award

On 18th September 2013 in New York City, distinguished pioneers and leaders in environmental conservation were recognized with the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) "Champions of the Earth" Award.

Among the list of award-winners, were Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment; Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement; Izabella Teixeira, Brazil's Environment Minister and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD.  Mexican Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo, Director of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, received the award in the category of "Inspiration and Action".

"I'm sure that after this recognition, the strategies and solutions that we are putting into place in the Sierra Gorda will be scaled-up. This award will validate our work and give us presence and visibility on an international scale, so that the participative conservation tools that we have developed can be replicated throughout Mexico", she said on UN Radio.

Thanks to Ruiz Corzo's passionate work and a large team of environmental educators, hundreds of families in the Sierra Gorda, including farmers, forest owners, people reforesting, students and micro-entrepreneurs have become part of an environmental movement that really makes conservation possible. Ruiz Corzo has been creating a conservation economy in the Sierra Gorda, making conservation an economic activity for many people in the area, especially for those who receive payments for environmental services. Her vision has developed ecosystem products, such as, carbon offsets to protect biodiversity and combat poverty. It is the eighth time these prestigious accolades have been awarded and they are the UN's highest recognition of environmental achievement.

During the ceremony, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, drew attention to Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo's work:

"Let me thank UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, committed environmentalist, entrepreneur, and fashion icon Gisele Bundchen for gracing these awards too. Gisele, when we call on you, you are so often there for UNEP when we need you despite your hectic schedule.

Welcome to the American Natural History Museum-the second time that Champions of the Earth has been held here.

They are made to men and woman who are truly outstanding in their own right and as sometimes part of a wider effort by communities, countries, companies and cities to stand up, be counted and be catalytic in respect to the environment-in respect to a sustainable future.

Our co-winner for the Inspiration and Action category is a woman who, from her native Mexico, has become a beacon for those determined to make sense of nature and the natural environment in the context of the poor and livelihood-generation.

Today, and as a result of summits like Rio+20 and the work of UNEP and its Green Economy initiative-due too to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity launched via the G8-the world is awakening to the multi-trillion dollar services nature generates, from providing precious fresh water, natural ingredients for medicines, sites for eco-tourism, and countless more services on which economies across the world depend. The world is awakening also to the fact that the GDP of the poor is often dependent on the environment and its natural capital.

Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo knew that in the 1980s when she began to establish what today is known as the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. A "payment for ecosystem services" programme has been central to the success of the reserve which was granted protected area status in 1997-the first in Mexico to achieve this via a grassroots initiative.

The initiative assigned an economic value to fresh water, land, and other key natural resources. Local residents were paid US$30-40 per hectare of land for reducing cattle numbers and not cutting down trees, which improved local watersheds and reduced soil erosion.

Among a range of community schemes, the Biosphere Reserve operates over 100 recycling depots, which manage 900 tons of recyclable materials on an annual basis. The depots are run on a voluntary basis by local women.

But if there is a mother to these nature-based offspring, then who better than 'Pati' as she is known to many-a worthy Champion of the Earth and may I say a moving, eloquent and inspirational speaker for those who have had the pleasure to hear her talk”.

For more information about the prize, please visit:

For more information about Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda I.A.P., please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Chile and Peru Pilot New Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2013)
- The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has selected the Cusco-Sacred Valley-Machu Picchu corridor in Peru, and the shores of Lake Llanquihue, Puerto Varas, and Frutillar in the Lakes Region of Chile for the second round of its pilot program to test its new Criteria and Indicators for Destinations.  These new Early Adopters are the first South American destinations to participate.

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