Published on Monday, November 17, 2008

IHRA Bestows -¬Ë-Tourism Visionary Award-¬™ to Costas Christ

Global sustainable tourism advocate, Costas Christ, was presented with the IRHA Visionary Award on November 16th, 2008 at a black-tie gala event held at the home of the Golden Globes in Beverly Hills, CA.

The Visionary Award honors an individual whose combination of ingenuity, tireless efforts and significant accomplishments, clearly illustrate the power of vision and values in travel and tourism. This individual leads by example, exudes direction and strength, and guides the hospitality and tourism industry to new, innovative frontiers.

-¬---We selected Costas Christ because of his long time dedication and work to promote sustainable tourism principles and practices that are transforming the travel industry today. Through his inspiring speeches and efforts to educate travelers and business leaders to embrace a new vision for tourism, Costas represents what the Visionary Award is all about,-¬~ said Toni Bakal, Executive Producer of the International Restaurant and Hotel Awards.

An internationally acclaimed expert on sustainable tourism, Christ will receive the Visionary Award for his efforts spanning nearly two decades to transform the travel and tourism industry into a catalyst for protecting the cultural and natural heritage of our planet.

His work has taken him to 126 countries across six continents. He is the Global Travel Editor for National Geographic Adventure magazine and works closely with the World Travel and Tourism Council to promote best practices through their Tourism for Tomorrow Awards program.

He is a passionate advocate for responsible travel that protects nature, supports cultural diversity and sustains the well-being of local communities. He has brought this message of a new vision for tourism to the top echelons of the global travel industry. A video tribute during the Awards Ceremony highlighted his contributions to biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation through sustainable tourism.

-¬---We are witnessing one of the most significant transformations in the history of modern travel as more people and more businesses engage in sustainable tourism practices that are redefining travel as we know it. The question is no longer does sustainable tourism work, but rather just how far can we take it to protect the environment, support cultural diversity and provide local economic benefit,-¬~ Christ said.

Christ was selected by an international jury consisting of travel and tourism industry experts. Other Award recipients include former British Monty Python comedian turned global traveler, Michael Palin, for Achievement in Travel; the late Robert Mondavi, for Achievement in Wine; and Carlos Petrini of Italy, Founder of the Slow Food Movement, for Achievement in Food and Dining.

In the tradition of the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, The Irhas and the International Restaurant and Hotel Awards-'¢ are the world-¬™s most prestigious awards recognizing outstanding leadership in travel and in best value, moderate and luxury hospitality establishments that go above and beyond industry standards.

The star-studded gala ceremony was hosted by Mark DeCarlo from Taste of America on the Travel Channel and included a destination Spotlight on New Orleans. Attendees included Award Honorees, the IRHA Jury, celebrity presenters, star chefs, top international designers, hoteliers and restaurateurs, representatives from top travel guides, publications and organizations.

Valere Tjolle



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