The India Responsible Tourism Awards are part of the World Travel Mart’s Responsible Tourism Awards, which in addition to the global awards in London and India includes awards programmes in Ireland and Africa. The family of awards share the same processes and criteria. Each nominated business or tourism organisation makes a short submission which answers the fundamental question: what is it that you have done that warrants consideration for the particular award? From these nominations a longlist is drawn up, and a detailed questionnaire specific to each category is sent to each entrant. The questionnaires require that detailed evidence is provided along with two independent references. At this stage some applicants withdraw daunted by the information required. Others withdraw recognising that they are not perhaps as responsible as they thought. Two judges look at each of the categories, analysing the questionnaires and supporting data, checking websites and references and report to the full panel of judges, on judging day, on their shortlist, informed by the questionnaires and the references. The final judging takes the better part of a whole day and there is open debate and challenge around the table. These are tough awards to win.
The ambition of the Awards is to surprise and inspire the tourism industry and tourists by what it is possible to achieve with responsible tourism. We also want to challenge the sector, the competitors of the winners, to do more—competition can drive the adoption of better practices.
The judging criteria are common across the whole family of Awards.
- Quantifying achievements
- is a priority
- look also for clear methodologies for measurement and improvement
- Being a good influence
- must both do good work themselves & use their influence to ensure that their suppliers do too
- Previous winners
have real improvements on previous years been made?
- progress is essential to ensure Awards are dynamic
- New and innovative
- is genuinely a new approach or something different
- stands out from the crowd
- Real impact on poverty reduction
- better quality of life overall
- linkages with community members
- Sustainability of enterprise/initiative
longevity and sustainability of the project.
- Customer service experience
- delivers excellent customer service, with educational opportunities to learn about the destination, its people and environment
- responsible tourism ethos & achievements communicated clearly & easily accessible via website/social media
- minimum of 2 independent references
- gives evidence in support of an application for a specific category
- is written by a range of credible referees
- vary in length
The panel of judges is chosen for their breadth of experience and their independence of mind—the winners are debated. Many of the candidates are known to one or more of the judges, interests are declared; they can engage in the debate and are often questioned by other judges, but they cannot vote.