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The Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark (Greece) won an International Ecotourism Award

Source: Source:Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark Published:Oct 30,2008

On October 13th, the 7th Annual Skål International Ecotourism Awards were presented during the Opening Ceremony of the 69th Skål World Congress in Taipei.

The nomination was hiding a surprise for the Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark managing board and stuff. And that was because the winner of the Skål International Ecotourism Award in the category of General Countryside for 2008 is … the Lesvos Petrified Forest European and Global Geopark. The award comes as a recognision from the tourism industry of their constant efforts towards quality in their services to their geo-tourists, with respect to their geo-heritage and the local communities and is a motivation for them to try even harder.

Apart from the Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark, winners of a Skål International Ecotourism Award 2008 is also another Global geopark :

Educational Programmes of the Geopark Naturtejo Meseta Meridional - Unesco European and Global Geopark, Portugal (category of Educational Programmes - Media)

Other winners are:

Northern Soul Wilderness Adventures, Canada (category of Tour Operators and Travel Agents), The Pefkos Beach Hotel, Sustainable Tourism and the Environment, Greece (category of Urban Accommodation), Building Livelihood & Eco Taj, India (category of Rural Accommodation), Natural History by Sea Kayak, Thailand (category of Transportation), The Orange Flag Programme: A quality label for sustainable tourism and environment, Italy (category of City and Villages), and Global Tourism Business, Kenya (Global Corporate Establishment).

Skål International was founded in 1934 as an international association and is today the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals worldwide, counting 20,000 members, from hoteliers to travel agents, airlines, tourism media and tourism academies, etc. The association is aiming at quality in tourism. It values sustainable development in Tourism as the key to the industry’s future success and considers Ecotourism but one area of the various components of sustainable development and responsible tourism. To encourage the conservation of the environment and help to promote the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, Skål International initiated an awards program in 2002, during “The Year of Ecotourism and the Mountains” as declared by United Nations. While the purpose of these awards was to highlight best practices in ecotourism around the world, they were also created with the aim of acquainting the world with this new concept that puts emphasis on the importance of the interaction of the physical, cultural and social environment, the traveler’s responsibility and the need for active community participation for ecotourism.

The great international support to the award programme is reflected in this year’s 53 entries from 24 countries (9 from Asia, 18 from the Americas, 15 from Europe, 7 from Africa and 5 from Oceania). The primary criteria for the evaluation are based on points such as contribution to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, community involvement, educational features, business viability and innovation. The nomination, among 13 candidates, of the Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark with the Skål Ecotourism Awards for the “General countryside” category comes as one more prove of the good practice of geo-conservation, promotion of eco- and geo-tourism and geo-heritage management by the Geopark and, consequently, by the Global Geoparks Network.