The Benefits of Awards

There can be a sense of self doubt when responding to an award opportunity. What is the motivation? Do awards achieve anything other than self glory? I write to propose a wider positive outcome –  inclusiveness. Awards can potentially be used to help nudge future responsible action.

The Kangaroo Valley Tourist Association had received a Highly Commended Award in the Best Destination category at 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards. A significant feat for a small community. But rather than gloat on the success alone I invited other key stakeholders to our association’s Christmas Dinner (presidents of the environment, community, events and historic societies plus the mayor, the deputy chair of the regional tourism board and national parks including their head indigenous ranger). After thanking everyone for their support during 2010 a group photograph was taken. This I hope will be published widely in the region – it is to my knowledge the first time such a picture includes all key stakeholders from the destination. These stakeholders all take part in some way to deliver Kangaroo Valley’s destination experience even though they may not consider themselves directly involved in tourism. Making sure they were all included in the award success helps to build the informal partnerships that exist. It also takes us all a step closer towards creating a better place to live.

I am still trying to achieve a similar outcome for Booderee National Park, where the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community, Parks Australia and regional civic leaders can come together to celebrate the Park’s win (Conservation of Culture category). This still has not been achieved (for various good, sad and bad reasons). But the power of that photo opportunity, the moment to share success and the later opportunities to nudge responsible action along should not be under estimated.

For these reasons I have not felt comfortable to shout about a recent personal commendation – EcoTourism’s Eco Medal. Its value has yet to be realised. Until that is I can find the opportunity to use it to underline the value of what I am staying (and been taught by ICRT), to nudge others closer to a collective responsible decision and build capacity for responsible action.

Thus the benefit of awards can be to achieve a greater good – a responsible ethos that helps to keep one focused.  Chris Warren 20 December 2010 www.chriswarrenonline.com.au

RT Highly Commended  Best Destination – Kangaroo Valley’s ‘whole of destination’ photo opportunity includes all key stakeholders not just the tourism association

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