National Geographic World Legacy Awards - Apply

In honoring the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, congratulations to all of the 2017 Winners and Finalists of the World Legacy Awards, who are leading the way to a brighter sustainable tourism future. We are currently working to reshape and redefine the World Legacy Awards to take travel further in 2018 and beyond.

If you have questions or need additional information or assistance, please contact us at

Awards Categories

Based on the three key 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:

Earth Changers

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. READ MORE

Applicants in this category will showcase specific environmentally friendly operations and innovative technologies they are using that demonstrate tangible and quantifiable benefits to the environment, including how those benefits are measured and monitored to address issues such as climate-change mitigation, renewable energy, water conservation, zero-waste initiatives, among other innovative environmental solutions.

Sense of Place

Recognizing excellence in enhancing cultural authenticity, including using vernacular architecture and design, support for the protection of historic monuments, archeological sites, indigenous heritage, and artistic traditions. READ MORE

Applicants in this category will showcase how they are involved in the protection and promotion of cultural heritage, providing examples of their projects and initiatives, along with results. These may encompass using vernacular architecture and design, protection of historic sites, support for local cultural and artistic traditions, helping to safeguard indigenous peoples' heritage, and efforts to share and expand on the importance of protecting cultural heritage, including educating local stakeholders and travelers.

Conserving the Natural World

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. READ MORE

Applicants in this category will showcase how they are involved in the protection of natural heritage, providing tangible examples of their projects and initiatives, along with outcomes. This may include the protection of wildlife such as terrestrial and/or marine species, expanding and restoring natural habitat, preserving fragile ecosystems, and supporting biodiversity conservation awareness and education among local stakeholders and travelers.

Engaging Communities

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. READ MORE

Applicants in this category will showcase how they are involved in providing social and economic benefits to local people and host communities. This may include capacity building and training for career advancement in the tourism economy, support for community development projects, and providing opportunities for local communities to become tourism partners and stakeholders, including developing their own businesses.

Destination Leadership

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. READ MORE

Applicants in this category may apply on behalf of a destination and will showcase how they are engaged in a multi-stakeholder process that involves different organizations, businesses, governmental entities, and communities working together to promote and develop sustainable tourism best practices at the destination level, delivering tangible results, along with educating travelers about their efforts.

Why Apply?

Celebrating National Geographic's mission of inspiring people to care about the planet, the World Legacy Awards honor today's leading sustainable tourism destinations, organizations, and businesses, and share their stories with travelers around the world. The awards are unprecedented in their international visibility and promotion, reaching National Geographic's global audience.

Who May Apply?

Any travel and tourism company, organization or destination—ranging from airlines to hotels, from cities to countries, and from luxury tour operators to adventure travel outfitters—is eligible to apply for the awards in one of the five categories. Only one application may be submitted in one category during any given year.

Rules For Entry

Thank you for your interest in the World Legacy Awards. We are in the process of reshaping and redefining the World Legacy Awards and have put a hold on accepting entries for 2018. Please be sure to check back for further details at a later date.

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