AND THE ECO WARRIORS 2014 ARE …
(Posted 10th October 2014)
The annual Eco Warrior Awards this year took place in front of a record audience, which included 170 hosted buyers from 36 countries around the world, invited media representatives and of course Kenya’s who is who, none of whom wanted to miss witnessing the 2014 winners being announced and receiving their trophies.
The main ceremony was preceded by Judy Kepher-Gona’s launch of the inaugural edition of East Africa’s Premier Sustainable Tourism Report, copies of which were made available to those in attendance.
The Carnivore Gardens main party tent was, inspite of heavy traffic, filling up to the limit and beyond, all keen to catch some of the dozens of raffle prizes, when Qatar Airways stole the show, well almost anyway, by offering two Business Class tickets from Nairobi to any point across their global network. Other top prizes included accommodation at some of Kenya’s finest beach resorts and safari camps, flights on Safarilink of Air Kenya included, plus many more offers of accommodation in safari parks and along Kenya’s fabulous beaches.
Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie captured the mood of the night when, in her address, she said: ‘You are all winners, we are all winners’.
And then came the long awaited moment, only made more tolerable by mountains of food and lakes of drink, when the judges of the event joined Eco Tourism Kenya’s Chairman Dr. Mohanjeet Brar, CEO Grace Nderitu and CS Kandie on stage to reveal the 14 winners in the respective categories.
1. Conservancy of the Year 2014 – Private (sponsored by Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association)
2. Conservancy of the Year 2014 – Community (Sponsored by Laikipia Wildlife Forum)
Ngare Ndare Forest Trust
3. Ecotourism Enterprise of the Year 2014 – Lodge (Sponsored by Kenya Tourism Board)
Severin Sea Lodge
4. Ecotourism Enterprise of the Year 2014 – Tented Camp (Sponsored by Tourism Fund)
5. Ecotourism Enterprise of the Year 2014 – Community Based Enterpise (Sponsored by Ecotourism Kenya)
Mlilo Community Tours and Safaris
6. Ecotourism Enterprise of the Year 2014 – Tours and Travel (Sponsored by Kenya Association of Tour Operators)
UNIGLOBE Let’s Go Travel
(Let’s Go Travel Owner and CEO Alan Dixson and key members of his team)
7. Ecotourism Enterprise of the Year 2014 – Airline (Sponsored by Sun Africa Hotels)
8. Eco-Rated Facility of the Year 2014 (Sponsored by African Wildlife Foundation)
Kicheche Laikipia Camp
9. Ecotourism Partnership of the Year 2014: Community-Investor (Sponsored by African Conservation Centre)
Westgate Community Conservancy-Sasaab Lodge
10. Ecotourism Guide of the Year 2014 (Sponsored by Kenya Wildlife Trust)
Onesmus ole Irungu – Rekero Camp
11. Ecotourism Journalist of the Year 2014 (Sponsored by Go Places)
Fleur Ng’weno – Nature Kenya
12. Ecotourism Student Innovation Award 2014 (Sponsored by Mahali Mzuri – Virgin)
Umi Mohamed Njoka – Kenyatta University
13. Ecotourism Training Program of the Year 2014 (Sponsored by AFEW)
Dedan Kimathi University – Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management
14. Ecotourism Student Host Organization of the Year 2014(Sponsored by Ecotourism Kenya)
Mlilo Community Tours & Safaris
These annual awards are firmly positioning Kenya in the league of countries going and staying green and countries in the region have already shown interest to start, along the lines of Eco Tourism Kenya’s principles and operational standards, similar perhaps even franchised schemes to promote environmental awareness and best global practice in not just reducing the carbon footprint but also move towards a fully sustainable status when it comes to using solar panels to generate electricity and heat water. This, many local companies have learned as a result of ETK’s advocacy and implementation programmes, will lead to significant savings on a daily basis by reducing if not eliminating the use of costly diesel in conventional generators and saving forests by no longer using firewood to heat water over the olden days ‘Tanganyika Boilers’, which are basically drums stacked on low support walls under which a wood fire was lit to heat the water for showers and baths.
A great night for the environment, a great night for Kenya Tourism and a great experience for the 170 hosted buyers from around the world who were able to get a glimpse into the real Kenya we, who live in the country or the region, have come to love.
Congratulations to the 14 winners, actually the 13 winners as Mlilo Community Tours and Safari bagged two prices on the night.