Driving force in sustainable development named as first recipient of World Green Tourism Award

Maurice Strong to receive prestigious new accolade at World Green Tourism conference and exhibition in Abu Dhabi

The Honourable Maurice F. Strong, Senior Advisor to the 2012 Rio+20 Summit, has been named as the first recipient of the inaugural World Green Tourism Award in recognition of his pivotal role in shaping the global sustainable development agenda and in recognising the potential of Travel & Tourism to make a contribution to mainstream green growth transformation.

Strong will receive the award at the World Green Tourism conference and exhibition, taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from December 5-7, where he will be invited to deliver the valedictory address.

Sponsored by Etihad Airways in partnership with the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP), the award recognises Strong’s outstanding efforts to encourage thought leadership and action for green initiatives in travel and tourism.

Among his many public and private sector appointments, Strong has served as Secretary General of the 1972 Stockholm Environment Conference, and as the First Head of the UN Environment Programme. In 1992, he was Secretary General of the Rio Earth Summit, the United Nations conference on environment and development.

During the Rio Conference, he proposed an “Agenda 21 for Travel & Tourism.” This became the basic framework for global programmes by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and UNWTO to start the development of a travel and tourism sector that was environmentally, socially, and culturally sustainable.

Strong comments: “I am delighted to receive this inaugural World Green Tourism Award, at such a critical time in mankind’s history.  We still have a small window of opportunity to make the fundamental “change of-course” called for by leaders at the Earth Summit in 1992, to effectively manage our impact on our sustainability. The future of human life on Earth depends on what we do, or fail to do in this generation.  It will require a degree of cooperation beyond anything we have yet experienced - all elements of the economy and society will have to respond in unprecedented ways.  I have long believed that Travel & Tourism can and must be a leadership sector in this transformation. You are the people who are well positioned to undertake this while experiencing and protecting the wonders of our planet as your business is linking nature, development and humanity. You have a huge stake in and a special responsibility to lead our response to these challenges”

Strong was selected by a distinguished panel of judges chaired by Professor Geoffrey Lipman, President of ICTP along with Erica Harms, Global Sustainable Tourism Council; Laila Yousef Al Hassan, Manager of Communications and Marketing, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD); Vijay Poonoosamy, VP International & Public Affairs, Etihad Airways; and Hisham Zaazou, Senior Assistant Minister of Tourism Egypt.

“Throughout his distinguished career as a public servant and entrepreneur, Maurice Strong has consistently identified the travel and tourism industry as a key sector in sustainable development,” said Lipman. “He understands the fact that the environment is at the core of travel and tourism’s product and thus it must be at the core of its strategy, policy and action. He continues to do so, half a century on and is an inspiration to all of us.”

Lipman added: “The World Green Tourism Award was launched this year to serve as an inspiration to the travel and tourism sector as it shifts to a green growth paradigm. Delivering the inaugural award at the World Green Tourism Conference in Abu Dhabi is a significant milestone, given that the event is the leading global focal point on sustainable travel and tourism. With the Durban Climate meeting underway and next year’s Rio + 20 in sight, the timing of the award is also highly relevant”.

Organised by Streamline Marketing Group, World Green Tourism, the first commercial conference and exhibition specifically for the sustainable tourism sector, is hosted by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. It is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, ADTA’s Chairman. .

About ADTA: Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has wide ranging responsibilities for managing and assisting the development of the emirate’s tourism industry and the marketing and promotion of the emirate as a world-class destination of distinction. Its responsibilities include; destination marketing; infrastructure and product development and regulation and classification. A key role is to create synergy in the international promotion of Abu Dhabi through close co-ordination with the emirate’s hotels, destination management companies, airlines and other public and private sector travel-related organisations.

About EAD: The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) was established in 1996 to preserve Abu Dhabi’s natural heritage, protect our future, and raise awareness about environmental issues. EAD is Abu Dhabi’s environmental regulator and advises the government on environmental policy. It works to create sustainable communities, and protect and conserve wildlife and natural resources. EAD also works to ensure integrated and sustainable water resources management, to ensure clean air and minimise climate change and its impacts.

About Streamline Marketing Group: Streamline Marketing Group (www.smg-online.com) is a boutique events agency with a 12-year track record of launching specialised trade events in the Arabian Gulf both on its own in partnership with international media groups, global governmental organisations and NGOs. Providing professional and proactive services, with a strong focus on government-related and niche marketing projects, the group’s philosophy is to provide tailor-made and cost-effective service, offering its clients complete turn-key management.

About Etihad Airways:Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, began operations in 2003, and in 2010 carried more than seven million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways serves 86 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, with a fleet of 63 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and 100 aircraft on order, including 10 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. For more information, please visit: www.etihadairways.com.

About ICTP: The International Council of Tourism Partners is a grassroots travel&tourism coalition of global destinations committed to Quality Service and Green Growth. It helps member destinations and their stakeholders share quality and green opportunities. It advocates:- sustainable aviation growth; streamlined travel and fair coherent taxation www.tourismpartners.org

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