Recognition for Mara Naboisho at the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2013

Mara Naboisho is nominated “Highly Commended” for the “BEST DESTINATION FOR RESPONSIBLE TOURISM” category at this year’s “World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM, sponsored by the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism”, and organised by responsibletravel.com.

The 10th annual World Responsible Tourism Awards ceremony was hosted at World Travel Market (WTM) in London (UK), as part of the World Responsible Tourism Day. The Awards were presented by Justin Francis, Managing Director of responsibletravel.com, organiser and founder of the Awards, and His Excellency Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad al Mahrzi, Sultanate of Oman Tourism Minister, headline sponsor of the Awards.

Justin Francis explained: “In the year we celebrate our 10th anniversary and re- named as World Responsible Tourism Awards, it was amazing to be joined by previous winners via video from around the world announcing all our winners. I was especially delighted to see even more inspired and inspiring female leaders in responsible tourism this year”.

The Minister stated: “Since 2010, the Oman Ministry of Tourism has sponsored a number of Awards; this year the Sultanate is delighted to cement its commitment to responsible tourism development, as the 2013 proud headline sponsor. The Sultanate of Oman leads the way in the Gulf Region and Middle East for the development of responsible tourism, and tries at every stage to remain a model example for others in the region to follow”.

The Mara Naboisho conservancy, Kenya’s first conservation social enterprise, was established in 2010 with, rather for, the community. The Maasai word Naboisho means ‘coming together’ and the judges were impressed with the transparency of the partnership arrangements between the tourism investors and Maasai landowners. The purpose of the conservancy was to ensure livelihoods for local people. Tourism was not the purpose although it is a means. Naboisho became the first conservancy to get a 15 year lease from landowners with rent payable monthly directly to the owners’ bank accounts. $700,000 is paid annually as land rent by the tourism partners regardless of their occupancy. All the camps in Naboisho employ between 85%-95% local Maasai staff and 95% of the conservancy staff are local Maasai community members. Naboisho has set up a community development programme, which provides a range of benefits including clean water points, clinics, solar energy, classrooms and scholarships for girls.

Awards judge Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director at World Travel Market added: “Congratulations to all the category winners. Being involved in the judging process for the first time I found it really inspiring to see so many travel companies acting in such a responsible manner.”

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