National Geographic - World Legacy Awards
See the 2016 Winners & Finalists
Sustainable Tourism in Action
About the Awards
Honoring Leaders and Visionaries in Sustainable Tourism Best Practices
2015 Winner Gallery
Postcards from the Cutting Edge
The World Legacy Awards in the News
Discover What's New


2016 kicks off a great year for the World Legacy Awards leading up to the exciting Awards Ceremony announcing our winners on stage at ITB Berlin on 9 March 2016. As National Geographic and our partners at ITB Berlin honor the travel leaders and visionaries working to protect our fragile planet for future generations and support the well-being of local people in destinations around the world, be sure to visit our website over the coming weeks and months for news, interviews, travel stories and more about the global sustainable tourism transformation now underway.

Learn about what it is like to be a judge for one of the world's most rigorous travel awards, and read interviews with our Finalists on what it takes to be a sustainable tourism leader, from an indigenous tour company in New Zealand that connects travelers with Maori life and culture to a China resort company that is spreading the important message of sustainable tourism practices in the world's most populated country. There will be exciting travel stories too, including how one country has become a shining light for protecting Africa's most endangered species, and Nat Geo tips on how we can each become a better traveler. Stay tuned for more. Wishing you enlightened journeys!

Costas Christ
World Legacy Awards Chairman

About the Awards

The World Legacy Awards honor the companies, organizations, and destinations-ranging from airlines to hotels, from communities to countries-that are driving the positive transformation of the tourism industry, showcasing leaders and visionaries in sustainable tourism best practices, and sharing their stories with millions of today's travelers.


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World Legacy Awards Finalist Interviews

This year's 15 World Legacy Awards Finalists - 3 each in 5 different award categories - span six continents and range from a global tour company working to alleviate poverty in Africa and Asia to a tiny Norwegian town that has revitalized rural economic growth by celebrating and protecting their cultural heritage. In the process, all are demonstrating how a great holiday can also make the world a better place. We asked each of the Finalists for their views on sustainable tourism. Here is what they had to say.

World Legacy Awards Judge Interviews

World Legacy Awards Judges are passionate visionaries, movers and shakers working to save the planet, promote peace, fight poverty and safeguard cultural heritage - united under the banner of sustainable tourism. Meet four of our judges who, in their own words, talk about what it is like to be a judge for the world's most distinguished sustainable tourism awards, and their thoughts on the travel and tourism industry.

Jalsa Urubshurow
Jalsa Urubshurow
Jalsa is the recipient of the Order of the Polar Star - the highest civilian honor - from the President of Mongolia for his leadership in supporting sustainable tourism development in Mongolia beginning in 1990, when he founded Nomadic Expeditions... READ MORE »
Laura Turner Seydel
Laura Turner Seydel
Laura is an international environmental advocate and eco-living expert dedicated to creating a healthy and sustainable future for children... READ MORE »
Jessica Hall Upchurch
Jessica Hall Upchurch
With a deep love for the outdoors and children, Jessica spearheads the $15.5 billion Virtuoso global travel network efforts on ensuring the organization uses its influence to advance sustainable tourism practices... READ MORE »
Sandra Howard
Sandra Howard
Sandra served as the Secretary General of Sustainable Tourism for the Small Islands Forum and has represented Colombia at the Americas Commission of the United Nations World Tourism Organization... READ MORE »
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Related Content

World Legacy Awards Chairman and Traveler magazine Editor at Large Costas Christ is on the sustainable travel beat at National Geographic. Follow him on Twitter @CostasChrist and read some of his stories by clicking on the links below.

My Sustainable Travel Manifesto
Some people look for the pool. Others head to the concierge. Me? The very first thing I do when I arrive at a hotel is... READ MORE »
Saving Nature
A notable thing is taking place around the globe: Communities and conservation entrepreneurs are creating private nature reserves, from coral lagoons in Asia to sanctuaries in the Americas... READ MORE »
Jane Goodall
Questions for Jane Goodall
Conservation crusader, renowned primatologist, and Nat Geo Explorer-in-Residence Emeritus Dr. Jane Goodall talks about her hope for the future and the double-edged sword of tourism... READ MORE »
Hard Truths from the Backpacker Trail
I was a 21-year-old backpacker in search of paradise. I thought I found it in southern Thailand, then things went wrong... READ MORE »
Lessons From the Philippines
A tale of tourism development on two islands reveals important lessons for other travel destinations... READ MORE »
The Giver's Conundrum
Volunteering while traveling, or voluntourism, is growing but who really benefits... READ MORE »
A Sustainable Travel Compendium
A collection of tales and tips from Costas' National Geographic Column... READ MORE »
Show More »


  • Announcing the 2016 Winners READ MORE »
  • Announcing the 2016 Finalists READ MORE »
  • New Sponsors Announced for 2016 World Legacy Awards. Learn about their sustainable tourism efforts. GO NOW »
  • View the 2015 Winner's Gallery. VIEW NOW »

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