2013 UNWTO Awards

A mobile application transporting visitors to the harbor of Arromanches in Normandy, France during World War II and an ecotourism project with a social entrepreneurship focus in Malaysia were among the innovative tourism initiatives recognized by the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Awards for Innovation. Now on its tenth year, the Awards were jointly hosted, for the first time, by UNWTO and the Madrid International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR), a valued UNWTO Affiliate Member.

“It is thanks to the organizations and individuals whom we honour with these Awards that tourism is increasingly becoming a transformative force, bringing in economic growth, creating jobs, and most importantly, changing people’s lives,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The UNWTO Awards represent our belief that knowledge plays a central role in tourism and it is through innovation and the application of knowledge that we can advance towards a more sustainable and competitive tourism sector in line with the principles of our Global Code of Ethics,” he added.



The awardees of the 2013 edition are:

  • UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge

    Professor Tej Vir Singh - Founder or the Centre for Tourism Research and Development

Professor Tej Vir Singh founded the Institute of Himalayan Studies, Garhwal University, Srinagar (1976), perhaps the first of its kind in India with focus on tourism studies and research.He published a sizeable literature, the best known of which are Studies in Himalayan Ecology (1980), Himalayan Pilgrimages and the New Tourism (1985) and Integrated Mountain Development (1985). Recognizing his work, The German Alpine Club invited him for a keynote address at their ‘Himalaya Conference’ in 1983 at Munich and awarded him with a golden crest. The International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) granted him the Ford Foundation senior fellowship to identify the real impacts of tourism on the Himalayas. The outcome of this seminal study was the book Kulu Valley: Impacts of Tourism on the Mountain Area (1989); in the same year, he brought out Towards Appropriate Tourism: The Case of Developing Countries prescribed in European University Studies. He has consulted for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the management issues of Huangshan Mountains in China and also represented UNEP at the ESCAP conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Dr Singh was elected a fellow of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism (1989). Amongst his much cited works are New Horizons in Tourism (2004) and Critical Debates in Tourism (2012). 

Singh’s most laudable work is the establishment of a self-financed and self-sustained autonomous centre of learning, the Centre for Tourism Research and Development (CTRD) in Lucknow, India and its publication Tourism Recreation Research (TRR). Currently, Dr. Singh is working as an Associate Editor of Encyclopaedia of Tourism being published by Springer (2014).



  • UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement

   Mr. Richard Quest, International Business Correspondent at CNN

Richard Quest is CNN’s foremost international business correspondent and presenter of Quest Means Business; delivering the definitive word on how we earn and spend our money.

Quest’s dynamic and distinctive style has made him a unique figure in the field of business broadcasting. He has regularly reported from G20 meetings and attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland each year. Quest has covered every major stock market and financial crisis since Black Monday in 1987 and has reported from key financial centres globally including Wall Street, London, Sao Paolo, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

In addition, Quest is the established airline and aviation correspondent at CNN. He currently presents the monthly CNN Business Traveller show, the authoritative guide to making the most of doing business on the road - moving from A to B on company time. As a business travel specialist, Quest has become a voice of authority on subjects like the launch of the Airbus A380.

He also co-presents the monthly Market Place Europe show, which puts the spotlight on one of the world’s most influential and interconnected continents as Europe faces up to the economic challenges and opportunities of the next 10 years.

His coverage of breaking news, which has spanned two decades, has seen him report on a range of stories from, the death of Yasser Arafat, the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 crash to the death of Michael Jackson. Quest is more than just business; there are few journalists who have had guests as varied, from His Holiness, The Dalai Lama to actress Joan Collins to founder of Playboy Magazine, Hugh Hefner.

Quest is British, holds an Honours degree in Law from Leeds University, and was called to the Bar.


  • UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance

Responsible Tourism Project at Kumarakom, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, IndiaKumarakon is an example of a public/private partnership. Through an inclusive Destination Level Responsible Tourism Committee, the initiative increased the linkages between tourism and residents by impacting positively on more than 1.000 members of the local community. Small and medium responsible tourism entreprise development policies have been central in providing sustainable benefits for the community.

Runner-ups: Interactive System of Tourist Information, Office of the Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship, Poland and Kwita Izina, Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda.


  • UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Enterprises

Arromanches 1944, Biplan, France - Arromanches1944 is a mobile application for visitors to discover the harbors of Arromanches as they were during the II World War that shows how technology can help promote the touristic and cultural value of historical places. All contents have been created as a result of a multidisciplinary partnership with museums, memorials and universities.

Runners-ups: International Quality Brand for Hospitality for All, Village for All, Italy; Hotel ICON Ltd, ICON Hotel, Hong Kong SAR, China and Talasoplaya Spa Project, Fundación Aqua Maris y Summum Design Global Projects, Spain.


  • UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations

From Charity to Social Entrepreneurship, Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies Society, Malaysia - This successful programme aims to move away from a charity mentality to one that empowers communities. Through ecotourism projects with a social entrepreneurship approach, it increases the contribution of tourism to poverty alleviation in Malaysia. Stakeholders’ collaboration, capacity building, community development and environmental conservation are at the forefront of this model. 

Runners-up: Alqueva Dark Sky Programme, Genuineland, Portugal and Big Blog Exchange, Hostelling International, United Kingdom.


  • UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Research and Technology

3D AR Virtual Portal, DSP Studio & Momentum Studio, Croatia - 3D AR Virtual Portal employs augmented reality technology to enable a customized cultural tourist experience. It implemented augmented reality projects in three of Croatia´s key cultural attractions, providing users with interactive information in real time and space. 3D AR Virtual Portal is also a research tool on how visitors interact with the attractions using the application and social media outlets.

Runners-up:Smart Tour Guide, Korean Tourism Organization, Republic of Korea and V4A Inside, Village for All, Italy.








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