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EXPLORING ECOTOURISM

Ecotourism Laos Wins 2007 Ecotourism Spotlight Award

PLANETA WIKI

Publication date: September 2007


FLICKR ALBUM: Ecotourism Spotlight Award


Planeta.com announces the winner of the 2007 Ecotourism Spotlight Award: Ecotourism Laos funded by the Laos National Tourism Administration.

The award is announced in advance of World Tourism Day (September 27) as way of pointing out best practice in sustainable travel and ecotourism.

There were two other nominees for the Ecotourism Spotlight Award. Runners-up were Quito Visitors' Bureau and US Agency for International Development / FRAME Program.


LAOS

The original nomination for the Ecotourism Laos gave kudos to this " clearinghouse for just about every local tourism related business and ecotourism product in the country." Planeta.com readers agreed, casting the majority of votes for this nominee.

Supporters called attention to the ecotourism resources section with its maps, manuals and brochures.


ACCEPTANCE

Mr. Sounh Manivong, Director-General of the Lao National Tourism Administration's Department of Planning and Cooperation said, "We are very happy and proud to receive Planeta.com's Ecotourism Spotlight Award in recognition of the Lao Government's effort to promote sustainable ecotourism."

Mr. Soun added, "I would like to extend a special thanks to the team responsible for creating and maintaining Ecotourism Laos and also thank Planeta.com for acknowledging the role government websites can play in promoting sustainable ecotourism products and services."

TESTIMONIALS

Comments from the voters:

The site focuses on the importance of including local communities and ethnic groups.

I liked the dos and don'ts!

This site makes it very easy to do research on ecotourism in Laos.

This site stresses the cultural diversity of the country and how travelers can visit in a responsible manner.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Nominations for the next Ecotourism Spotlight Award will be accepted at the start of 2008. Financial sponsorship is welcome in the development of this initiative.

KUDOS

Thanks in to everyone for assistance in developing this award. Special kudos to Green-travel, Travelmole, DestiNet, Asia Observer, Laos Travel Center, Tony Charter, Practical Environmentalist, e-Travel Blackboard and StepUp Travel.


Q&A: ECOTOURISM SPOTLIGHT AWARD

Q - What is the objective of the Ecotourism Spotlight Award?
A - The award creates a much-needed incentive for improved communication from government portals. This award allows us to highlight best practices and hopefully show other managers of government websites how to showcase operations striving toward sustainability and ecotourism. We hope the award is a driving force behind upgrades to government websites and its communication with media and prospective travelers.

Q - What is the origin of this award?
A - During the 2007 Communication and Sustainable Tourism E-Conference we proposed "there could be an award for National Tourism Boards websites that illustrate a country's sustainable tourism practices. National tourism portals could be rated not only by what they have online, but also by how they participate in independent groups (ECOCLUB, green-travel, and Planeta) and whether or not they link to independent sites, including blogs (internet logbooks) and flickr galleries."

Q - Who voted?
A - Voting was open to the public. We asked that individuals review the finalists and make one vote in each category.

Q - What is story behind Planeta.com?
A - Planeta.com is an award-winning water cooler that conducts seminars and features tips for all stakeholders about eco-friendly, people-friendly travel. Our fortee is linking environmental conservation and tourism, particularly the development of ecotourism highlighted in the popular Exploring Ecotourism Resource Guide.

Q - What other awards has Planeta.com created?
A - We have created two other awards. The Colibri Ecotourism Award was launched in 2000 and highlights the leaders developing ecotourism in Mexico. We also have established a 'readers' choice' award to select the book of the year.

Q - Can I link to the award from my blog/website?
A - Yes! Please add a link to the Ecotourism Spotlight Award page and you can use the logo.

Q - Why does this award spotlight government websites?
A - There are many tourism awards for individuals, places and operations. That said, there are no awards for government portals. If we want to create incentives for communication from government officials, an award is a sound place to start!


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