Tour operator Intrepid Travel and Ol Malo Lodge & Trust in Kenya have scooped joint first place in a scheme that recognises commitment to responsible tourism. This year's First Choice Responsible Travel Awards - organised by online travel agent www.responsibletravel.com - highly commended both organisations.
Intrepid Travel clinched the award after standing out for its efforts with communities by establishing businesses and using local operators. Kenya-based eco-lodge Ol Malo Lodge & Trust was recognised for helping to eradicate Trachoma - a cause of painful blindness in adults - from the area.
In other categories, The Orchid Hotel, Mumbai, India, won the Best Large Hotel category for providing a responsible tourism model for other hotels to follow. Efforts included a ‘zero garbage' policy and a host of initiatives to be more energy efficient.
Best Small Hotel went to II N'gwesi Commnity Lodge, Kenya, where 40% of profits go to the 600-plus families with a share in owning the lodge.
A special award was given to Mark Smith, otherwise known as The Man in Seat 61, whose enthusiasm for train travel led to the creation of his highly regarded travel website.
Online travel agent www.responsibletravel.com launched in 2001 and caters for travellers seeking an environmentally-friendly way to holiday.