Spain wins UNWTO award

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, 16 September 2019: The Spanish city of San Sebastian was awarded the 2019 World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) prize for Public Policy and Governance at a ceremony attended by leaders of the global tourism sector in St Petersburg, Russian Federation.

Held during the 23rd Session of the UNWTO General Assembly, the 15th edition of the awards aimed to celebrate the very best examples of tangible and sustainable improvements in policy, processes, and governance.

Alongside cities and regional authorities, NGOs and private sector enterprises are eligible to be considered for the annual awards.

For the latest round of awards, nominees from Canada, Colombia, India, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Philippines made it to the final shortlist.

A jury committee made up of eight tourism experts from the public sector, private companies and universities announced St Petersburg San Sebastian’s “Love San Sebastian, Live Donastia” initiative as top award winner.

In the Enterprises category, “Community Impact by V Resorts”, an initiative of V Resorts under the aegis of Bliss Inns Ltd India, took home the top award.

Also, Fundación Once from Spain won the award for the best non-government organisation.

Announcing the awards, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “These awards for excellence and innovation in tourism celebrate our sector at its very best. I congratulate San Sebastian for showing how tourism can be effectively managed to be sustainable and an effective tool for promoting and protecting local cultural heritage.”

The 15th edition of the UNWTO Awards was also notable as it marked the launch of the Accessible Tourism Destinations (ATD) initiative.

Organised by UNWTO in partnership with the Spanish NGO ONCE, this initiative recognises destinations that are proactively working to make tourism more accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or mental ability.

Turismo Portugal was awarded the first international distinction of Accessible Tourism Destination (ATD2019), launched by UNWTO and the ONCE Foundation to recognise those destinations that are making laudable efforts so that they can be enjoyed by all tourists, regardless of their physical, sensory or cognitive abilities. Destino Barcelona (Spain) was conferred a special mention as an exceptional urban tourism destination, while the city of Thrissur in Kerala (India) received a special mention as an emerging destination on the global accessible tourism market.