The World Legacy Awards are a new initiative of the National Geographic Society, one of the world's largest and most prestigious nonprofit scientific, educational, and travel organizations reaching more than 450 million people worldwide, in partnership with ITB Berlin, the world's largest travel gathering. 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. Unprecedented in international visibility and promotion, World Legacy Awards winners and finalists will receive coverage in National Geographic Traveler and other National Geographic print and digital media, reaching a global audience.
Based on the three pillars of sustainable tourism, including environmentally friendly operations, protection of natural and cultural heritage, and support for the well-being of local communities, the five World Legacy Award categories are:
Recognizing cutting-edge leadership in environmentally friendly business practices and green technology, from renewable energy and water conservation to zero-waste systems and carbon emissions reduction.
Recognizing excellence in enhancing cultural authenticity, including implementing vernacular architecture and design, support for the protection of historic monuments, archeological sites, indigenous heritage, and artistic traditions.
Recognizing outstanding support for the preservation of nature, including restoring natural habitat, and protecting rare and endangered species, whether on land or in the oceans.
Recognizing direct and tangible economic and social benefits that improve local livelihoods, including training and capacity building, fair wages and benefits, community development, health care, and education.
Recognizing destination stewardship, including cities, provinces, states, countries, and regions that are demonstrating environmental best practices, protection for cultural and natural heritage, benefits to local people, and educating travelers on the principles of sustainable tourism.