A new awards initiative is aiming to celebrate initiatives dedicated to social and environmental impact and companies and individuals acting as a catalyst to encourage transformation within the travel industry.
The Regenerative Travel Impact Awards have been launched by Regenerative Travel, a benefit corporation and online booking platform for a collection of independent eco-luxury hotels and lodges worldwide.
“We are searching the globe for inspiring change makers working to solve our biggest challenges and inspiring positive action, both inside and outside of travel,” said Amanda Ho, co-founder of Regenerative Travel.
She added the new awards would “celebrate and honour individuals, companies, and conservation projects that inspire and improve people’s lives, communities, and the world around us”.
The closing date for entries is 25 June and the awards are free to enter. They are open to all organisations and individuals involved in designing a product or service that creates social or environmental impact in travel and has been brought to the public since 1 January, 2020.
The categories include Regenerative Hotelier of the Year, designed to praise hotel owners or managers who are “catalysts for change and are innovating in hospitality to promote positive social and environmental impact”.
The Regenerative Travel Initiative of the Year looks to champion something in the travel and tourism sector that has drawn attention to social and environmental issues, and inspired action.
Others awards include Regenerative Activist of the Year, to recognise “a passionate campaigner recognised for their contributions to bring about social and environmental change”, and the People’s Choice, with the public able to vote for their overall favourite individual or project.
Other awards will be given under the categories of Conservation, Food and Agriculture, Climate, Education, Health and Wellness, and Community.
Finalists will be announced in August, and each subsequent award winner will receive a professional development package to help take their work to the next level, Ho said, including access to a three-hour virtual session that includes leadership coaching, networking, and skill development around branding and marketing.
Each winner will also have the opportunity to meet with one of the judges for a one-hour informal virtual mentorship session.
The Regenerative Travel Summit is also set to enter its second year, with a virtual event this September and a new element designed for the trade.
2020 was the debut year for the conference, when 2,000 people attended online to see more than 40 speakers.
The three-day summit this year will take place online 21-23 September, followed by a new one-day virtual trade show element on 24 September, aimed at connecting value-aligned travel agents, tour operators, and hotels.
The trade show will offer a series of group exhibitor presentations and educational workshops for trade from brands and hotels, covering adventure, honeymoons, nature and wildlife, cultural immersion, family, and wellness within the broader context of regenerative travel.
Early-bird tickets for the three-day summit go on sale on 5 July from $50 ($75 thereafter), but the trade show element will be free for agents to attend.
“Our goal with the summit is to demonstrate that the travel industry can be designed to thrive, and serve as a catalyst for change that generates economic, social, and environmental wealth,” said Ho. “This year we will be bringing together diverse perspectives in regeneration — from established thought leaders to emerging innovators from within the travel industry and beyond, in addition to offering practical solutions for consumers to live more consciously and tools to move the travel industry forward.”
The winners of the Regenerative Travel Impact Awards will also be announced during the summit.
TTG Luxury will also partner with Regenerative Travel on these initiatives for the first time, encouraging wider engagement with the trade on the events and the regenerative travel concept in general.
“Amanda and her team were already spearheading such an important movement, but the pandemic has given more people – and businesses – the chance to stop and think about their impact on the planet, the next steps in sustainability and beyond, and this needs to continue. We’re delighted to play our part in that and thrilled to be a trade partner with Regenerative Travel on these inspirational events and ideas,” said April Hutchinson, editor of TTG Luxury.