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Winners of the 2008 Skål International Ecotourism Awards

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Sea Kayak of Thailand took home top honours for Eco Friendly Transportation at the recent 7th Annual Skål International Ecotourism Awards which were presented by the President of Skål International, Phillip Sims and Hulya Aslantas in the presence of the Minister of Communication and Transportation of R.O.C. Dr. C.K. Mao during the Opening Ceremony of the 69th Skål World Congress held in Taipei, Taiwan at the TICC (Taipei International Convention Centre).

To encourage the conservation of the environment and help to promote the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, Skål International launched the Eco Tourism awards which aim to highlight best practices in ecotourism around the world. They were also created with the aim of acquainting the world with this new concept that puts emphasis on the importance of the interaction of the physical, cultural and social environment, the traveler’s responsibility and the need for active community participation for Ecotourism.

In their seventh year the awards have received continued support worldwide and this year 54 entries were received originating from 23 countries; nine from Asia, eighteen from the Americas, fifteen from Europe, seven from Africa and five from Oceania.

The applications were evaluated by three independent judges, and the scores given by each separately are added up to find the winners. The primary criteria for the evaluation is based on such points like, contribution to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, community involvement.

The 2008 winners are:

- In the category of Tour Operators and Travel Agents: Northern Soul Wilderness Adventures, Canada
- In the category of Urban Accommodation: The Pefkos Beach Hotel, Greece
- In the category of Rural Accommodation: Building Livelihood & Eco Taj, India
- In the category of Transportation: Natural History by Sea Kayak, Thailand
- In the category of General Countryside: Lesvos Petrified Forest Geo Park, Greece
- In the category of City and Villages: The Orange Flag Programme, Italy
- In the category of Educational Programmes - Media: Educational Programmes of the Geo Park Naturtejo Meseta Meridional - UNESCO European and Global Geo Park, Portugal
- In the category of Global Corporate Establishment: Global Tourism Business, Kenya Livelihood & Eco Taj, India

Skål, founded as an international association in 1934, is one of the largest organisations of travel and tourism professionals in the world, embracing all sectors of the travel and tourism industry, in five continents, 90 countries and at over 500 locations, with 20,000 members from hoteliers to travel agents, airlines, tourism media, tourism academies etc.

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