Colombo, Jan 27 (NIA) – Cinnamon Wild Yala, part of Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts was recently shortlisted as a Finalist of the ‘2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards’.
Conducted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the 2017 Awards feature a total of 15 Finalists from five continents, and Cinnamon Wild Yala has emerged as a top-three Finalist in the Community Award category.
Now in its 13th consecutive year, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme recognizes businesses that effectively address and balance the needs of people, the planet and profits within the tourism sector.
The Community Award celebrates tourism organizations that have shown a commitment to sustainable tourism leadership by ensuring the social and economic well-being of local communities through engagement, education and empowerment.
These organizations are required to demonstrate exceptional levels of community engagement, evidence of their investment in community projects and their commitment to preserving local cultures and heritage and providing direct local employment opportunities.
Cinnamon Wild Yala, which is located adjacent to Yala National Park, has applied a broader approach to community engagement over the years, carefully considering the mutual benefits of ensuring the well-being of both the community and the pristine environment in which the hotel is located.
The hotel has also played a pivotal role in addressing human-wildlife conflict in the area. Under the stewardship of Cinnamon Nature Trails, the hotel launched the Pen Project to protect local farmers’ livestock from leopard attacks, which were leading to attacks of retaliation on the park’s leopards.
The initiative has garnered significant local and international media attention and has ensured that local farmers minimize their losses whilst Yala’s leopard population remains protected and continues to thrive.
The hotel has also made considerable efforts to continuously support the local community. A total of 80% of all hotel staff are recruited from the local neighbourhood and Cinnamon Wild Yala has partnered with drivers from the area who are contracted to supply safari jeeps for guests.
Local school children are engaged through a nature club and are taught to appreciate their natural surroundings and efforts are made to source select ingredients and produce from members of the local community on a regular basis.
All sustainability and CSR initiatives implemented at Cinnamon Wild Yala, stem from corporate level policies and are applied, monitored and assessed on a regular basis.
Commenting on Cinnamon Wild Yala being shortlisted as a Finalist, Sunimal Senanayake, Sector Head – Leisure Resorts at Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts – said, “We are privileged to have been selected as a Finalist of the WTTC’s ‘2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards’. This is an extremely competitive programme, which attracts the best applicants from across the globe, and being selected as a top-three Finalist in the Community Award category is truly an honour for our entire team. We are also pleased that Cinnamon Wild Yala and the Cinnamon brand are receiving global recognition for our ongoing efforts to positively impact communities and the planet through our operations.”
A Tourism for Tomorrow Award is globally hailed as one of the travel industry’s most prestigious and revered accolades.
The 2017 Finalists were selected after a rigorous judging process and will undergo further assessment and an on-site evaluation.
The winners in each award category; Community, People, Innovation, Destination and Environment, will officially be announced at the WTTC’s Global Summit, which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand this April.
Previous winners of the awards include some of the world’s largest and most respected businesses in the travel industry including TripAdvisor GreenLeaders, Air New Zealand, ILUNION Hotels, the Soneva Group and much more.
(The pic featured above shows Cinnamon Wild Yala, Project Leopard- Dileep Mudadeniya, Head of Brand Marketing- Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Chitral Jayatilake, Head of Cinnamon Nature Trails and Cinnamon team)