TourCert Journal

We go fairwärts: The winners of the competition for sustainable travel 2019/2020 have been determined

The silhouette of a mountaineer in the sunset, standing on the edge of a cliff and looking down into the valley with a river.


Finally the time has come: The winners of this year’s fairwärts competition have been determined and officially announced. In addition to the public’s favorite, the winners of this year’s three competition categories “Biodiversity in Tourism”, “Sustainable Customer Journey” and “Fair Encounters” were also announced. The entries were very colorful and varied and did not make the choice easy for the jury. Due to the Corona Protection Regulation, the planned award ceremony at the Fair Trade Fair in Stuttgart unfortunately had to be cancelled.

The non-profit organization KATE Environment & Development is organizing the fairwärts competition for the third time together with the innovation and certification company TourCert. Together, the two organizations are committed to responsible tourism. Supported by experts from the Global Nature Fund (GNF), Service Quality Germany (SQD) and the Study Cyle for Tourism and Development, this time everything revolved around sustainable travel and service offers around the three focal points biodiversity, sustainable service quality and fair encounters. Fairwärts is funded by Engagement Global on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Das Logo des fairwärts-Wettbewerbs.
Fairwärts,the competition for sustainable travel, was successfully held for the third time.    

The competition and education project fairwärts addresses itself to German tour operators, accommodations, Destinationen and travelers. They are motivated to deal with topics such as fair encounters in travel countries, human rights, environmental protection, biodiversity or sustainable service quality. During the application period from November 2019 to February 2020, tourism companies could submit sustainable travel and service offers, campaigns and projects as competition entries in one of the three competition categories. A jury of five experts then selected one prize winner per category. In addition, an online public voting was organized until April 2020, in which everyone could vote from the submitted travel offers and projects for his or her favorite, the public’s favorite.

Seltener Vogel sitzt auf einem Ast im Regenwald.
The fairwärts competition motivates to deal with topics such as the protection of biodiversity.

 1st place in the category “Biodiversity in Tourism” goes to travel-to-nature, tour operator for worldwide sustainable nature tours with a focus on Costa Rica and Cuba. At travel-to-nature, tourism and environmental protection go hand in hand. In particular the rainforest project “La Tigra” in Costa Rica for sustainable rainforest reforestation impressed the jury. The project began several years ago with the reforestation of a small, unwooded plot of land, initiated by the managing director Rainer Stoll. Today the heart of the project is the sustainably operated “La Tigra Lodge” as a recreation paradise in the middle of the jungle. Those who visit La Tigra Lodge actively contribute to nature conservation. Through various trails, guests can explore the area themselves and plant a native tree under the guidance of experts. The staff of the lodge are Costa Ricans from the region who are passionately involved in the project and are trained in environmental protection and reforestation. The jury was impressed by the commitment to protecting biodiversity and the not only ecological but also social character of the project.

Die „La Tigra“ Lodge in Costa Rica von oben.
Travel-to-nature was able to convince the expert jury with the rainforest project “La Tigra” for the reforestation of the rainforest in Costa Rica. Part of the project is the “La Tigra Lodge”.

1st place in the category “Sustainable Customer Journey” went to the destination management organization (DMO) Ammergauer Alpen GmbH, which had applied with its concept for sustainable tourism development in the nature park region. The Ammergauer Alpen GmbH scored points with a well thought-out traffic concept for the promotion of sustainable mobility as well as with a comprehensive strategy for sustainable visitor management. Part of this strategy are nature park rangers, who take care of nature conservation as well as being contact persons for guests and locals, thus providing valuable information. Nature trails and guided nature tours range from moorland and bird trails to beaver and eagle observations, herb tours and orchid walks. The jury justified their choice by saying that the unforced approach of locals and guests to a respectful treatment of nature and the motivation for more environmental and nature protection was a key factor in their choice.

Eine Berglandschaft in den Ammergauer Alpen.
The Ammergau Alps are a near-natural mountain region that attracts numerous visitors every year. For sustainable tourism development, Ammergauer Alpen GmbH focuses on information work for environmental protection and on mechanisms for visitor guidance.

1st place in the category “Fair Encounters” goes to the tour operator Fairaway Travel with the “Indonesia Impact Travel”. The travel package impresses with numerous authentic travel experiences such as workshops with local artists and bicycle tours with local guides, stays with host families in indigenous communities, cooking courses as well as joint hikes and plantation visits with locals. With all these offers, the travelers are already sensitized to the behavior and traditions of the respective culture by a local guide during the travel preparation. Fairaway Travel was able to convince the jury with a well thought-out and deeply effective concept, in which a special focus is placed on involving the local population at eye level and the sustainably and fairly design of not only individual travel components , but the entire travel offer.

Eine Reisegruppe von Fairaway Travel auf einem kleinen Boot in Thailand.
A group of Fairaway Travel on a boat in Thailand. The tour operator offers authentic travel experiences, in which the local population is particularly involved.

Finally the tour operator Feel the World Travel can be delighted about a clear lead in online audience voting. The trip “Feel Islands” convinced the most voting participants. On the 14-day round trip young adults get to know the most diverse corners of Thailand far away from classic tourist hotspots. Instead, they immerse themselves in the culture of former sea nomads, the Moken. The participants will stay overnight in tents near a Moken settlement and experience numerous authentic activities such as handicraft workshops for traditional jewelry, diving and rowing with a traditional Moken boat. Feel the World Travel works primarily with local providers in its “Adventure tours that make a difference”, so that locals can benefit as much as possible from the tourist activities.

Eine Reisegruppe von Feel the World Travel in Thailand .
The Thailand trip “Feel Islands” by Feel the World Travel enables young adults to dive deeply into the culture of former sea nomads and to get to know natural beauty off the beaten tourist track.

The planned award ceremony to honor the winners at the Fair Trade Fair in Stuttgart in April 2020 unfortunately had to be cancelled due to Corona-related prohibitions and restrictions of events. Therefore the honouring of the winners of this year’s fairwärts competition will be moved to the web and implemented via social media, the fairwärts website and other campaigns. Together with two of the four winners and a jury member, KATE and TourCert also implemented a joint web seminar in May 2020 as part of the digital sustainability weeks at universities in Baden-Wuerttemberg. The web seminar “Fair Travel – How does sustainable tourism work” can be viewed additionally at (in German).

Further information on the winners can be found at Remain always on the current conditions under and further use the offer of the knowledge modules, which are permanently available to you. These mediate practice-oriented information to different lasting topics and can be found under (available in German).

fairwärts, fairwärts, Partner, sustainable travel, Winners