September 2011 - Wilderness is both thrilled and humbled to be the recipient of the first Virtuoso® Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award. This award recognises outstanding leadership and commitment to sustainable tourism principles and practices within the Virtuoso travel network.
The judging criteria were based on globally recognised sustainable tourism standards by the United Nations Foundation's Tourism Sustainability Council. These reflect the core principles of sustainable tourism: environmentally sensitive operations, support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage, and direct and tangible economic and social benefits to local people. In addition, a successful business model and financial viability was also considered.
All these criteria are important elements of Wilderness' sustainability model, as framed under its "4Cs" strategy, the 4Cs being Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.
The Award was open to all Virtuoso preferred suppliers (tours, hotels, on-sites, cruise lines, airlines), and nearly 100 companies submitted applications. The judges included Virtuoso's Director of Sustainability, VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine's Editorial Director as well as two Virtuoso Member advisors.
Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch and Virtuoso President and COO Kristi Jones presented the award to Keith Vincent, Managing Director of Wilderness, in front of nearly 2 000 top level Virtuoso travel advisors at the Travel Mart Gala Dinner.
This award, newly launched in 2011, is a prestigious distinction offered to only a handful of network participants. According to Virtuoso, "Wilderness was selected above other nominees as the very best in a given category, demonstrating dedication, innovation, hospitality and overall performance."