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Three tourist experiences named best worldwide for environmental, social responsibility

January 22, 2003 (Washington, D.C.) Conservation International and National Geographic Traveler magazine announced today the winners of the 2002 World Legacy Awards. The winners will be officially awarded at a ceremony hosted by Jordan's Queen Noor later tonight at the National Geographic Society world headquarters in Washington.

The three winners operate in South Africa, Thailand and Italy, and are considered the best examples in the tourism industry of the ideal balance between nature conservation, the protection of heritage sites, social responsibility and commerce.

The World Legacy Awards are the result of a new partnership between Conservation International and National Geographic Traveler magazine. They are unique in the world for their focus on environmental responsibility and respecting cultural heritage in the tourism industry. They are the only global tourism award to perform on-site verification visits by a team of scientific, anthropological and tourism professionals.

One winner was named in each category: Nature Travel, Heritage Tourism and Destination Stewardship. Applicants from more than 40 countries on six continents were considered for the Awards.

"Tourism is like fire out of control, it can burn down your house, but if you harness that energy, you can cook food with it. Through the World Legacy Awards, we want to make tourism a more positive force in the world," said Costas Christ, Senior Director of CI's Ecotourism Department. "These winners are outstanding examples of responsible tourism that both helps to protect nature and promotes the well-being of local peoples."

The winner of the Nature Travel Award, given to a group making significant contributions to the conservation of natural areas and biodiversity, is Wilderness Safaris, based in Rivonia, South Africa. Wilderness Safaris manages more than 2.5 million acres of pristine natural habitat in southern Africa, where they have 36 lodges in six count
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Contact: Brad Phillips
b.phillips@conservation.org
202-912-1532
Conservation International
22-Jan-2003


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