Tiny Island Volunteers Wins Responsible Tourism Award

Maldives Promotion House – During this year’s World Travel Market, Tiny Island Volunteers has won the first ever Responsible Tourism Award for the Maldives. Tiny Island Volunteers, that organise volunteers to help island communities in need across Maldives, won a Highly Commended award as the Best Volunteering Organisation, and the award was received by CEO Hana Thompson.

Initially geared towards bringing in foreign volunteers for the islands, Tiny Island Volunteers is also involved in marine conservation in Maldives, specially the conservation of sea turtles. They also run Tiny Island Conservation which is their Maldivian NGO. The conservation works in collaboration with other island NGOs like Naifaru Juvenile and Velidhoo Future Foundation.

“The judges were impressed by the range of activities which a relatively small organisation like Tiny Islands is able to support in the Maldives and the way in which a different form of tourism is being used to bring opportunities and development to the less developed islands,” The Managing Director of Responsible Tourism, Justin Francis said.

“It’s impressive that Tiny Islands had worked to respond to the unique problems of Youth anti-social behaviour caused by tourism in the Maldives, where the industry counts for 28 percent of the country’s GDP.  Their responsiveness to specific problems caused by tourism in their destination sets them apart and provides a replicable model for other organisations to aspire to.”

The winners were announced at the prestigious World Travel Market held to mark the World Responsible Tourism Day, on 9th November 2011, in London, UK. Supported by UNWTO the awards are unique and recognises the work of pioneers in the industry who continue to prove that the industry can indeed help build communities all over the world.

Founded in 2004, the Awards have attracted over 10,000 nominations from members of the public, leading to 201 unique organisations Awarded from 51 countries around the world. The Awards rest on the simple principle that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people.

Rather than handpick the nominees, they rely on travellers and the industry to nominate the tourism ventures with exciting stories to share, making the awards unique.  Once all the nominations are received the judging process really begins. Designed with the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, the judging process puts the nominees through their paces. At each stage the list gets shorter, until an expert panel of judges are ready to combine their knowledge to debate the winners such as Tiny Island Volunteers.

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