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Okavango Delta among the top three finalists

Staff Writer
The Okavango Delta has been selected as one of the top three finalists in the World Travel and Tourism Council WTTC) prestigious 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

The awards launched in 2003 under the stewardship of the WTTC, recognise and are meant to demonstrate best practise including helping to improve the livelihoods of communities and supporting the protection of natural and cultural heritage through sustainable tourism development. The awards are presented in four (4) categories namely; destination stewardship award, conservation awards, community benefit award and global tourism business award. Over 160 entries were received this year, from over 45 countries.

Applicants included governments, NGOs, businesses, or community organisations on behalf of destinations. Botswana Tourism Board entered the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site (ODRS) in the Destination Stewardship category. This entry is in recognition of the Delta's contribution to the upliftment and advancement of tourism and the livelihood of not only people living around it, but that of the people of Botswana. The Botswana government supports and encourages sound sustainable tourism development, with initiatives taken to develop policies to guide the development of the sector, emphasizing regard for the environment. Some of the instruments developed so far include the National Ecotourism Strategy, the Ecotourism Best Practise manual and the recent introduction of

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the Eco Certification Programme, which are all intended to guide and recognise efforts made in sustainable tourism development.

A total of 12 finalists in all the four categories were selected by an international team of independent judges in each of the categories, with three finalists in each category.

The Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands officially designated the Okavango Delta as a Ramsar Site in 1996. The convention recognises wetlands of international importance.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the forum for business leaders in the Travel & Tourism industry. With Chief Executives of some one hundred of the world's leading Travel & Tourism companies as its Members, WTTC has a unique mandate and overview on all matters related to Travel & Tourism.

WTTC works to raise awareness of Travel & Tourism as one of the world's largest industries, employing approximately 220 million people and generating over 9.4 per cent of world GDP. Winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow award will be announced in Beijing in May 2010.



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