National Geographic - World Legacy Awards
World Legacy Awards 2017 Call for Entries is now closed
Finalists will be announced in December 2016
About the Awards
Honoring Leaders and Visionaries in Sustainable Tourism Best Practices
2016 Winner Gallery
Postcards from the Cutting Edge
The World Legacy Awards in the News
Discover What's New


2016 continues to be an exciting year for the World Legacy Awards, following a great awards ceremony and celebration dinner at ITB Berlin in March to honor this year's winners and finalists - watch the winner videos on this site to see how they are working to help protect our fragile planet for future generations and support the well-being of local people around the world. As National Geographic Travel and our partners at ITB Berlin work together to honor the sustainability leaders and visionaries at the forefront of travel today, be sure to visit this website through the coming weeks and months for more news, interviews and stories about the transformation of travel.

This year's Call for Entries is now closed, and will culminate in the announcement of the finalists and winners on stage at ITB Berlin in March 2017. The World Legacy Awards honor the companies, organizations, and destinations - ranging from airlines to hotels, from local communities to entire countries - that are driving the positive transformation of tourism for people and the planet. We will recognize their best practices and share these stories with millions of today's travelers.

Are you a fellow traveler? If you have taken a great trip that inspired you to care about the planet, and introduced you to a new way of thinking about travel as a force to help protect nature and benefit local people, then tell us about it in 200 words or less and, if we select it, we will share your story on the National Geographic World Legacy Awards website with millions of our followers. Encourage those travel companies that inspired you to also apply to the World Legacy Awards.

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 »
Show More »
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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