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Top Ten Geotourism Finalists Unveiled

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Three Sisters Trekking, one of last year's winners


The ten finalists have been announced in the second annual Geotourism Challenge – the competition sponsored by the National Geographic Society and Ashoka’s Changemakers


From now until Wednesday, Aug. 12, the public can vote online for the three finalists they consider most cutting-edge in providing visitors with authentic travel experiences. The three winners will be announced Wednesday, Sept. 9, and each will receive a $5,000 prize.


A panel of expert judges — including a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine, and the founder of Lonely Planet — selected the finalists based on their innovation, social impact and sustainability/viability.


The ten finalists are:


• Evergreen Brick Works of Toronto, Canada, is an adaptive re-use of the heritage structures at the Don Valley Brick Works, converting the city’s abandoned ravines into a much respected public park and nature exploratory center. See


• Mongolia’s Ger to Ger Foundation links visitors with genuine nomadic families and guides as a way to stimulate cultural understanding through non-commercial outdoor activities and to provide alternative incomes for these Mongolian people.


• Nature Air, the 100 percent carbon neutral airline in Costa Rica, offsets 100 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions to encourage reforestation of tropical forests in southern Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula.


• Virgin Islands Youth Heritage Exchange Farm Excursions focuses on food as the basis of youth identity and education, with visitors contributing to local mentoring through hands-on workshops and nature-based lifestyle-skill building.


• Context Travel, based in Philadelphia, offers walking seminars in major European cities. It encourages sustainable ways to visit urban destinations and contributes funds to cultural preservation projects — such as an artist apprenticeship — to benefit local residents.


•’s Bamboo Eco-Lodge River Trips help protect India’s Siang River through increased conservation and locally guided rafting, kayaking and fishing expeditions.


• Trout Point Lodge, a Five Green Key-designated nature retreat in Canada, has revitalized backwoods and Acadian French cultural tourism through its Nova Scotia Seafood Cooking School and staff naturalists providing guided access to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.


• PEPY, Cambodia’s Educational Volunteer Tourism Program, is where on-site learning projects combine with donations to personally invest visitors in sustaining and enhancing education in Cambodia.


• Wikiloc Community Maps, created by a company in Girona, Spain, are built on information provided by visitors and hosts to offer honest and authentic impressions about


• Reality Tour Viagens e Turismo Ltda’s Route of Freedom commemorates the “Memory of the African Diaspora in Brazil” with seven interpretive trails winding through 15 cities of the Paraiba Valley.




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Categories: Voluntourism,Sustainable Tourism


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