The Indian Responsible Tourism Awards (IRTA) are India’s responsible tourism (RT) awards. Starting 2016, the awards recognise and applaud champions of ethical travel across the country. The goal is to inspire and motivate the local fraternity, highlight replicable RT models, and spread the word through online and print platforms, including those owned by the Outlook Group.

IRTA is a regional partner of the reputed World Travel Market (WTM)’s Responsible Tourism Awards held in London. Known for their formidable line-up of judges, and a thorough and transparent judging process, the awards have brought global recognition to nearly 400 holiday providers so far. The awards have chapters in Ireland, Africa, and India.

The judging process for IRTA is both intensive and rigorous, spearheaded by a jury of industry experts from India, who are familiar with the country’s unique set of challenges, and international experts, who bring to the table their knowledge of global best practices. Winners of the award automatically qualify to compete on an international platform at WTM, London.

All entries must fulfil basic demands of RT — quantifiable social and economic progress for local communities, and sustainability, marked by traditional, green practices. In addition, they must highlight their efforts in the category under which they have submitted their application. Applications can be submitted for more than one category.

I. Best Heritage Property

Private homes or larger properties with historical and traditional value that have shown exemplary effort in conserving and restoring built heritage, using local materials and skills. Highlight how the project connects with travellers, providing opportunities to value and support heritage structures.

II. Best Wildlife Property

Properties that coexist with their environment, providing visitors a chance to experience wildlife beyond big-ticket animals. Indicate how the property limits its impact on the habitat and rather, gives back to it, aiding in its conservation and propagation. Deeper engagement with local communities and customs is expected.

III. Best Boutique Property

Small sustainable hotels that provide visitors unique stay options during their travels, with enough innovative on-site and off-site engagements, walks, local food and other seasonal experiences, to allow for a seamless (and respectful) interaction with the land, its people and its culture. A hotel that also inspires others, and directly or indirectly, has a positive impact on the nature of tourism in the area.

IV. Best Individually-owned Homestay

Private homes that have opened their doors to visitors, providing them an opportunity to be a part of the host family (residing on the premises) for a while, and to truly live like a local. We’re looking for powerful, inspiring stories.

V. Best Community-owned/Agritourism Homestay

Communities that have—with or without the help of a private or public organisation—set up homestays in their village to supplement their income, generate new tourism-related jobs and showcase local culture and living. Ideally, the experiences designed for tourists shouldn’t seem like ‘interruptions’ in their daily lives, but a part of it.

VI. Best Outdoors Operator (Wildlife, Adventure, Easy Activities for All Ages and Abilities)

Service providers who enable travellers to experience the outdoors—whether on a mountain trek, wildlife safari, or water tours—in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner.

VII. Best Cultural Immersion Operators

Travel operators who highlight the best of local culture through experiences that enable the traveller to delve into arts, textiles, handicrafts, music, traditional foods and festivals. Highlight contributions to reviving dying local traditions by involving the local community.

VIII. Best Urban/Neighbourhood Tourism Operator

Travel companies that enable travellers to discover the wonders hidden in our urban spaces through walking, cycling or other tours to neighbourhoods, designed around history, architecture, food, immigrant settlements, street art, artists’ hubs, nature (urban green lungs) and more.


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