MEXICO CITY -- To celebrate
Environment Day, Planeta.com proudly presents its first-ever
award for excellence in ecotourism -- the Colibri
Ecotourism Award -- to Juan Carlos Ibarra and Antonio Suárez.
The friends have worked for the past decade in promoting responsible
tourism in rural Mexico.
Ibarra and Suárez first developed bicycle tours and
more recently have conducted community tourism workshops under
of Consultoria Balam.
This work, performed at the grassroots level, aims to protect
the environment and empower local communities.
The Colibri Ecotourism Award is accompanied by a $1,000 cash
award from Columbus Copper
Canyon Travel. Approving of the award winners were Mexico
Ecotourism Network (Red Mexicana de Ecoturismo) founding
members Marlene Ehrenberg and Jorge Chávez de la Peña.
The United Nations celebrates World Environment Day each year
on June 5 as a way to stimulate worldwide awareness of the
environment and enhance political attention and action.
ABOUT THE COLIBRI AWARD
First presented in 2001, the Colibri Ecotourism Award
is presented to a leading authority at the vanguard of ecotourism.
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
all vital elements in the development of responsible
travel and ecotourism.
Juan Carlos Ibarra and Antonio Suárez were selected by
Planeta.com Webhost Ron Mader because of their practical field
work, conceptual framework and commitment to communication.
Based their experiences in the field, these pioneers have
delivered presentations across Mexico, and many of their useful
resource documents are featured online the Web -- on Planeta.com,
the Mountain Forum and the Mexico Ecotourism Network Forum.
"This award gives us great hope and no doubt, it will help
us improve our work," said award-winner Antonio Suárez. "Our
goals have always been three-fold: 1) generate employment in
rural areas; 2) promote an appreciation of the beauty of Mexico's
landscapes and the people and 3) convert tourism into a tool
that provides for conservation."
"We are honored to sponsor this award with Planeta.com and
we are also honored to have Consultoria Balam as the first recipient
of the award," said Emilio Kifuri, director of Canyon Travel.
"Their rural community ecotourism development focusing on
nurturing the inner strengths is a testament to our enterprising
human spirit which transcends cultures and unites us all. This
insightful and sensitive training may well become the model
for all future rural community development programs worldwide.
Also to be commended is their innovative development of other
community endeavors like fish farms and greenhouses simultaneously
generating alternate benefits as well as support to ecotourism."