Since the World Responsible Tourism Awards were founded in 2004, Responsible Travel have worked closely with Professor Harold Goodwin and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism to design the Awards’ judging process – that’s why the awards schemes in the family, including the African Responsible Tourism Awards, are the most rigorous and competitive of their kind in the world.

We also bring together the expertise of our prestigious judges from across the tourism industry, inviting them to share their unique perspectives and considerable experience to assess our nominees. Read more about the process below.


Rather than handpick our nominees, we rely on those tourism ventures with exciting stories to share to submit themselves for the Awards. Submissions can be made in any of our main categories.


Once we have taken submissions from the industry, a team of expert researchers process the submissions, conducting preliminary research into their responsible tourism policies and eligibility for the Awards.

Our researchers are not just looking for the basics – they want entrants going above and beyond to create innovative responsible tourism experiences. They will sort, sift and carefully select a longlist of approximately 15 to 20 per category to go forward to the next stage of the process.


Longlisted organisations are invited to complete a comprehensive questionnaire designed in conjunction with the ICRT and our judging panel of experts in the industry. This questionnaire is designed to put our longlist through their paces – requesting detailed information and quantifiable data about their achievements in responsible tourism. It takes time to complete.

The questionnaire focuses on evidence of change made by an organisation, and each one is designed for a specific category and updated yearly based on feedback and changes in the industry. This ensures that competition between our nominees remains as focused as possible.

Judging Day

Our panel of judges meet to debate which organisations, individuals and destinations should be recognised for an Award. In a discussion chaired by Professor Harold Goodwin our experts from across the tourism industry use their considerable experience and knowledge in a round-table debate to choose the most innovative and inspirational nominees as shining examples in Responsible Tourism. Read more about our judging criteria here.


A carefully selected shortlist of organisations are selected ahead of the Awards ceremony. The shortlist is announced to the media and public.

Shortlisted organisations, destinations, etc are then invited to our prestigious ceremony at WTM Africa where we announce the winners and celebrate their stories with an audience of their peers, the media, and global tourism organisations.