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National Geographic Names Judges for World Legacy Awards

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The National Geographic Society has named the 18 judges of the inaugural World Legacy Awards.

The awards are a partnership between National Geographic and ITB Berlin to showcase leading travel and tourism companies, organizations and destinations, ranging from airlines to ecolodges and from cities to countries, that are driving the positive transformation of the travel industry based on sustainable tourism principles and practices.

The judging process includes three phases, starting with the selection of finalists in each award category, followed by an in-depth on-site evaluation to review sustainable tourism practices in action based on criteria of the United Nations Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and lastly the selection of winners.

Led by Costas Christ, one of the worlds top sustainable tourism experts who also serves as chairman of the World Legacy Awards and editor at large for National Geographic Traveler magazine, the judges are reviewing award entries in five categories:

Earth Changers: Recognizing cutting-edge leadership in environmentally friendly business practices and green technology, from renewable energy and water conservation to zero-waste systems and carbon-emission reduction.

 Sense of Place: Recognizing excellence in enhancing sense of place and authenticity, including support for the protection of historical monuments, archaeological sites, cultural events, indigenous heritage and artistic traditions.

 Conserving the Natural World: Recognizing outstanding support for the preservation of nature, restoring natural habitat and protecting rare and endangered species, whether on land or in the oceans.

 Engaging Communities: Recognizing direct and tangible economic and social benefits that improve local livelihoods, including training and capacity building, fair wages and benefits, community development, health care and education.

 Destination Leadership: Recognizing destination leadership, including cities, provinces, states, countries and regions that are demonstrating environmental best practices, protection of cultural and natural heritage, benefits to local communities and educating travelers on the principles of sustainability.

The 18 judges for the National Geographic World Legacy Awards are:

Eric Ricaurte, Founder, Greenview, Singapore
George Stone, Editor at Large, National Geographic Traveler magazine, Singapore
Gopinath Parayil, Founder, The Blue Yonder, India
Hitesh Mehta, President, HM Design, United States
Jessica Hall Upchurch, Community Liaison, Virtuoso Ltd., United States
Judy Kepher-Gona, Co-founder, Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, Kenya
Karma Tshering, Chief of Nature Recreation and Ecotourism, Bhutan
Keith Bellows, Editor Emeritus, National Geographic Traveler magazine, United States
Laura Turner Seydel, Chair, Captain Planet Foundation, United States
Mahen Sanghrajka, Chairman, Big Five Tours and Expeditions, United States
Manal Kelig, Executive Director, Middle East, ATTA, Egypt
Martin Krediet, General Manager, Francis Ford Coppolas Turtle Inn, Belize
Matthew Humke, Director, Latin America & Caribbean, Solimar International, Guatemala
Pegi Vail, Associate Director, Center for Media, Culture and History, New York University, United States
Richard Weiss, CEO, Strategic Travel Consulting, United States
Rika Jean-Francois, Director, ITB Corporate Social Responsibility, Germany
Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters and Associates, Australia
Tony Williams, Tourism Development Consultant, Qatar Tourism Authority, Qatar

Christ said, The very essence of the World Legacy Awards is the incredible team of judges who dedicate their time and effort to select the visionaries that exemplify the best of sustainable tourism and the National Geographic Societys work of inspiring people to care about the planet.

Finalists will be announced tomorrow (29 October), with the winners announced during an awards ceremony gala held at ITB Berlin in March 2015.

See also: Sustainable Tourism and Hotel CSR - Interview with Hansar CEO

See other recent news regarding: Interviews, Pictures, Videos, National Geographic, ITB, Berlin, Legacy, Sustainable Tourism, CSR

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