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Planeta.com and SCBD Announce Winners of the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award

ITBW WIKI

Publication date: February 2009

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Winners have been announced for the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award!

The winner of the judged 2009 ITBW Award is Guurrbi Tours. Runners up are Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and Nguna - Pele Marine Protected Area.

The winner of the popular count 2009 ITBW Award is Indigenous Trails. Runners-up are TIME Unlimited NZ Tours, Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and Nguna - Pele Marine Protected Area.


ABOUT THE AWARD

This initiative is a collaborative effort between Planeta.com and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to showcase good practices in web-based technologies helping indigenous people manage tourism in a biodiversity-friendly way. More than 200 people made their selection.

The award is presented to an indigenous tourism operation which has a website that promotes sustainable practices and educates visitors on cultural protocols and biodiversity conservation.

 

2009 WINNERS

JURY AWARD - Guurrbi Tours (Australia) is run by Nugal-warra story-keeper Willie Gordon who keeps his ancestral rock art alive by sharing its stories with guests near Cooktown, Queensland.

Highlights on the website are features on Aboriginal Art Conservation and the Bama Way Map.

Guurrbi also uses a variety of Web 2.0 tools to communicate with a wide audience, including potential visitors and local Aboriginal youth who otherwise had not come across Willie's work. Highlights include videos on YouTube and a Facebook account which connect Willie to potential clients and to local Aboriginal youth.

Comments:
The site is tastefully simple, informative and easy to navigate. I enjoyed the Guurrbi News blog updates, photo galleries, and videos - to learn about Willie and the people he touches. I thought that these tools are being used effectively on the Guurrbi website to share Willie's storytelling experience online.

Guurrbi tours is unique in the world. Willie promotes greater understanding of Traditional indigenous australia in a special way, that goes beyond the surface, resulting in 'guests' examining their own lives and relationships with their fellow humans.

POPULAR COUNT - Indigenous Trails (New Zealand) holds strategic alliances with other Maori tourism operators, providing cultural travel experiences that are out of reach for most visitors to Aotearoa.

Highlights on the website include the company's policy promoting sustainability, responsible travel and a review of Maori Legends.

Web 2.0 highlights include videos on YouTube and a gallery of photos on Flickr.

Comments:
Indigenous Trails ... embodies the Indigenous values and create connections between the Indigenous people of NZ and all their clients. I still live on these personal interactions and experiences. Another fact that I think really speaks for Indigenous Trails is there Volunteer program. Through this program many young people get an unique insight on how the indigenous people in NZ live and work.

Indigenous Trails ... The design of web page seems represent well the Maori spiritual and earthy lifestyle projected as part of their tour. Our touring experience with this group was a learning experience with very positive results. Hence this website reminds us of the extra steps taken by this group to make our visit to New Zealand a special and memorable one.

2009 APPLICANTS

Bookabee Tours (Australia) is a family owned and operated business specializing in authentic Aboriginal experiences in Adelaide, South Australia and through the outback.

Chalalán Ecolodge (Bolivia) is located in a tropical Andean hotspot, the site hosts 45,000 different plant species and more than 1,000 tropical bird species.

Great Spirit Circle Trail (Canada) encompasses eight First Nation communities on Manitoulin Island and the Sagamok region in Northeastern Ontario, Canada.

Guurrbi Tours (Australia) is run by Nugal-warra story-keeper Willie Gordon who keeps his ancestral rock art alive by sharing its stories with guests near Cooktown, Queensland.

Huit Huit Tours (Canada) offers a variety of eco-culture trips in Cape Dorset and the south Baffin region. Inuit art and culture are a focus of town tours.

Indigenous Trails (New Zealand) holds strategic alliances with other Maori tourism operators, providing cultural travel experiences that are out of reach for most visitors to Aotearoa.

It's Wild! Bush Camps (Zambia) is owned by the Mwanya and Chifunda communities in Zambia's Luangwa Valley through a program called Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO).

Kapawi Amazon Ecolodge (Ecuador) is located in one of the most remote and well protected parts of the Amazon deep in the nearly two million acres of the Achuar people's territory.

Magic Mara Safaris (Kenya) is named for the Maasai tribespeople and the Mara River which divides it in the Masai Mara, a large park reserve.

Nguna - Pele Marine Protected Area (Vanuatu) is an indigenous, organization made up of sixteen communities on two islands dedicated to the sustainable use and long-term existence of marine and terrestrial resources.

Ricancie (Ecuador) is an organization of nine Quichua-Communities in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve on the Upper Río Napo offering an eco-tourism program and possibilities for cultural exchange.

Sani Lodge (Ecuador) is owned and operated by Sani Isla Kichwa community in Ecuador's Amazon.

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (Canada) shares the cultural practices of coastal and interior salish peoples. The center offers personalized guided cultural tours, indigenous performance arts and language programming, ethnobotanical walks and indigenous culinary tastings.

TIME Unlimited NZ Tours and Travel (New Zealand) provides unique and high quality Maori Cultural Tours.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park
(Australia) is located in Queensland.

2009 JURORS

Lois Peeler is an Aboriginal woman from Australia's Yorta Yorta tribe. Lois lives in Melbourne. Her involvement in the Australian Indigenous tourism industry spans more than fifteen years and she is co-author of the Respecting Our Culture Indigenous Tourism Certification Program.

Sylvie Blangy is a European scholar who has worked with Canadian Inuit and Cree communities. She completed her PhD on Ecotourism, indigenous communities, land management and conservation of biodiversity and has published a guide book on Indigenous tourism in French.

Deborah McLaren is a sustainable tourism consultant based in Minnesota where she assisted the start-up of a Journeys with First Nations Green Route initiative with tribal communities. She is the former director of Indigenous Tourism Rights International (ITRI), has served as a consultant with the UNDP, Government of Bhutan and several foundations.

John Scott is a descendant of the Iningai people of central Queensland, Australia (Barcaldine area) and since 2004 has served as the Programme Officer for Traditional Knowledge for the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

CRITERIA

The Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award represents an opportunity for indigenous people and communities to improve their websites. Among the criteria for selection, the website should ...
* be regularly updated
* link to other relevant sites
* reflect indigenous ownership, authenticity and heritage
* encourage sustainable livelihoods, respect of life on earth
* be user-friendly
* be trustworthy
* provide clear contextual information
* have text in English

Bonus points to applicants making the most of Web 2.0 channels, including Blogs, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.

SURVEY

Respondents were asked to rate how user-friendly the site appeared. They were also asked to evaluate how well the site reflects indigenous ownership, authenticity and heritage, how well the site encourages respect of life on earth.



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