The Non-Governmental Award recognizes an organization for its use of grassroots, partnership, governance, and/or civil society actions as key factors for its achievements.

The award goes to an initiative that is original and inspiring in its nature, objectives, resource management and results, highlighting tourism as a strategic tool for balanced and sustainable development in economic, social and/or environmental aspects.

For the 15th year of the UNWTO Awards competition, a total of 190 applications from 71 countries were received in the three categories: Public Policy and Governance, Enterprises, and Non-Governmental Organizations.

Since their creation, the UNWTO Awards have recognized more than 70 institutions for their innovative tourism initiatives. The contribution of the awardees is in line with UNWTO's Global Code of Ethics for Tourism as the awards are given to public and private institutions, as well as NGOs, that have contributed to the development of a more competitive, responsible and sustainable tourism sector that works towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 SDGs.

Initiatives from Canada, Colombia, India, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Philippines made it to the list of finalists for 2019’s UNWTO Awards, ranging from community-based tourism development and innovation-driven nature conservation to heritage tourism and promotion of accessible tourism. The awards are meant to recognize inspirational projects that have made an invaluable contribution to advance sustainable tourism. This year’s finalists have been praised for contributing to advance the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The TreadRight Foundation - and as an extension of that, The Travel Corporation - is honoured to have been named a Finalist in the Non-Governmental Organizations award category,” said Shannon Guihan, Program Director, The TreadRight Foundation. “We thank the UNWTO for its thoughtful recognition of our sustainability efforts. It is immensely rewarding to simply see the number of worthy initiatives from around the world that applied for this year’s awards. Witnessing just how many tourism organizations have joined our shared mission of achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 SDGs is incredibly encouraging.”

For this edition of the UNWTO Awards, the jury committee was made up of eight tourism experts from the public sector, private companies and universities. They are:

  • Diana Robino, Global Tourism Partnerships Lead, Mastercard
  • Dimitrios Buhalis, Head of Department Tourism and Hospitality, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
  • Eduardo Santander, Executive Director/CEO, European Travel Commission
  • Istvan Ujhelyi, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament
  • Jae-sung Rhee, CEO, Seoul Tourism Organization
  • Judy Kepher-Gona, Founder & Director, Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda – STTA
  • Kenya Kaye Chon, Dean and Chair Professor Walter Kwok Foundation Professor in International Hospitality Management School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Sally Davey, Director, Industry Affairs, Trip Advisor
  • The Travel Corporation News