Awards Finalists of the 15th UNWTO Awards announced

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced the finalists to win the 15th UNWTO Awards, which recognize inspirational projects having made an invaluable contribution to advance sustainable tourism. The nominees are praised for contributing to advance the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Initiatives from Canada, Colombia, India, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Philippines made it to the list of finalists for 2019’s UNWTO Awards, ranging from community-based tourism development and innovation-driven nature conservation to heritage tourism and promotion of accessible tourism.

For this edition, the jury committee was made up of eight tourism experts from the public sector, private companies and universities:

  1. Ms. Diana Robino, Global Tourism Partnerships Lead, Mastercard
  2. Prof. Dimitrios Buhalis, Head of Department Tourism and Hospitality, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom (Affiliate Member)
  3. Mr. Eduardo Santander, Executive Director/CEO, European Travel Commission
  4. Mr. Istvan Ujhelyi, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament
  5. Mr. Jae-sung Rhee, CEO, Seoul Tourism Organization (Affiliate Member)
  6. Ms. Judy Kepher-Gona, Founder & Director, Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda – STTA Kenya
  7. Professor Kaye Chon, Dean and Chair Professor Walter Kwok Foundation Professor in International Hospitality Management School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Affiliate Member)
  8. Ms. Sally Davey, Director, Industry Affairs, Trip Advisor (Affiliate Member)

The UNWTO Awards recognize the contribution of public and private institutions, as well as NGOs, in the development of a more competitive, responsible and sustainable tourism sector that works towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 SDGs.

For the 15th year of the UNWTO Awards competition, a total of 190 applications from 71 countries were received in the three categories: Public Policy and Governance, Enterprises, and Non-Governmental Organizations.

List of Finalists (in alphabetical order):

UNWTO Award in Public Policy and Governance

  1. Tourism and Peace Programme, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Colombia
  2. Love San Sebastián, Live Donostia, San Sebastian Turismo & Convention Bureau, Spain
  3. Sustainability Whale Watching Charter, SPET – Turismo De Tenerife, Spain

UNWTO Award in Enterprises

  1. Community Impact by V Resorts, V Resorts (under the aegis of Bliss Inns Pvt. Ltd.), India
  2. Fighting food waste at sea: 4GOODFOOD programme, Costa Crociere S.p.A., Italy
  3. Masungi Georeserve: Innovations for Conservation, Masungi Georeserve Foundation, The Philippines

UNWTO Award in Non-Governmental Organizations

  1. Embracing Our Potential, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Canada
  2. Amuse Project, Fundacion Once, Spain
  3. Treadright Foundation Heritage Initiative, Treadright Foundation, Switzerland

Useful links:

15th UNWTO Awards

Information on the finalists

Information on the Jury

Previous UNWTO Awards

Levi’s Chip Bergh on rebuilding a brand

Along with The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future, the NRF Foundation Gala honors The Visionary, a retail executive with a proven track record of orchestrating change in the industry. Earlier this year, Levi Strauss & Co. President and CEO Chip Bergh was selected due to the momentous turnaround the company has experienced under his leadership.

Captions courtesy of NRF

Ahead of the Gala — and NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show — STORES Editor Susan Reda spoke with Bergh about connecting with customers, company culture and the importance of leading with integrity. Here’s a sneak peek at the conversation; check out the NRF 2019 STORES Show Daily for the full interview. Bergh will also be a keynote speaker at NRF 2019.

On rebuilding the brand

When Bergh joined Levi’s, he realized the brand had lost sight of the consumer and needed to regain that connection. His solution: In-home visits with Levi’s customers to hear directly from them, along with a lot of internal questions about what consumers want. “We started to redefine what ‘being at the centre of culture’ meant in today’s world,” Bergh says, which led to an emphasis on connecting with consumers in an authentic way — along with Levi’s gaining the naming rights to the San Francisco 49ers stadium.

Part of that consumer connection involves remaining relevant, and Bergh says a large part of that comes down to focus. “So often organizations get distracted by rumors and speculation,” he says. “We’ve navigated a highly complex and tumultuous landscape and we’ve come out on top because we stayed focused on what we could control — and we had contingencies in place for things we had no control over.”

On taking a stand

Levi’s Worker Well-being initiative, launched in 2011, seeks to improve the lives of the people who make Levi’s products in factories around the world. It has reached more than 150,000 workers in 12 countries to date, covering more than 80 factories; the effects are far-reaching and inspirational. “We believe a rising tide lifts all boats, which is why we’ve open-sourced this program so others in the industry can adopt these same practices.”

It goes beyond worker initiatives, though: Bergh believes companies must speak out about issues that impact their communities, starting with their leadership. “As CEOs, we have a moral obligation to do the harder right rather than the easier wrong,” he says, “even if that means taking an unpopular stand.”

Lightning Round

How many pair of Levi’s do you own?

Let us just say I have a lot of options!

What’s your favourite pair and why?

I have a pair of U.S.-made Levi’s 501s which I’ve owned for over 10 years. They have never been washed in a washing machine and they are amazing.

What’s the last book you read? “Bad Blood”

If you could change on thing on your resume, what would it be and why? I would change my current title to Chief Values Officer.

What’s the last thing you changed your mind about?

A flight from New York. I moved it up to get home earlier to see my family.

Rank the following in order of importance: Investors, Management, Colleagues, Customers, Oneself

It really depends on the situation, but I would say as the leader of LS&Co.: Consumers, Colleagues/Management, Investors, Oneself. I struggled with putting “oneself” first because I am a firm believer that if you are not taking care of yourself, how can you be useful to others?

Who do you turn to for advice?

My wife is my “go-to” on most things and I have a handful of mentors that I look to for big decisions. Our Chairman of the board, Steve Neal, has been a sage advisor throughout my tenure as CEO.

How often do you get to Levi’s Stadium?

I try to get to as many home 49ers games as possible and have attended a bunch of concerts and other special events there.

What’s the most memorable event you’ve seen there?

Super Bowl 50 — it was indescribable and such a proud moment.

Grabher Group has won two awards: 2018 was the most successful business year in the company’s history

–              Günter Grabher awarded as entrepreneur of the year 2018 at the 10th SME Award in Vorarlberg, Austria

–              Smart Textiles Shirt QUS has been awarded the Red Dot Award 2018 in Singapore

Textile entrepreneur Günter Grabher, innovator and pioneer par excellence, has been awarded as Entrepreneur of the Year 2018, awarded by the region Vorarlberg and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich – WKÖ). The Grabher Group is located in Vorarlberg, Austria. For the last ten years, the awards for the best small and medium-sized companies from Vorarlberg have been awarded in the Dornbirn exhibition center and for the 6th time the SME Entrepreneur of the Year has been honoured. Günter Grabher, who started his own company in 1995, is now the shareholder of eight specialized companies, each focusing on a specific processing stage along the value chain. He is a pioneer in the industry and a textile visionary, since he always strived to further develop the potential of textile technologies for groundbreaking sectors. Today, his companies stand for intelligent developments and are a supplier for products in a wide range of applications, from automotive or medical to aviation. Günter Grabher, managing director Grabher Group and CEO of the Smart Textiles Platform Austria: “I have always been looking at topics in an interdisciplinary way, maintained and cherished international networks and local partnerships. The big advantage of the region Vorarlberg is the high level of vertical integration in a geographically limited region. We can rely on constant support from the entire textile value chain in our region and thus are well prepared for future challenges.” Nine years ago Günter Grabher took over the Smart Textiles Platform, being highly successful. As initiator and head of this forum he has been recently appointed as member of the technology advisory council by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit). Apart from this he has been asked to join the Supervisory Board of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). As an active member in those important national steering committees he can focus on topics like innovation and future orientation in a truly interdisciplinary and sustainable manner.

Günter Grabher

Smart Shirt QUS: winner of the Red Dot Award Design Concept 2018 Developed by the start-up Sansirro, the Smart Shirt QUS is the first truly washable intelligent sports shirt. Via special sensors integrated in embroidery, that have been developped by the research facility Vtrion, part of the Grabher Group entities, biometric data can be read directly from the body. All relevant body data can be recorded and stored in the cloud without using any troublesome chest strap, thus optimizing training cycles. Vital parameters such as cardiac and respiratory rates, position and movement data as well as calorie consumption are recorded by sewn-in stainless steel electrodes and forwarded to an on-board-unit (OBU), which is integrated in the neck area of the shirt. The data are transmitted to a cloud service via a Bluetooth interface.

Fabrics and sensors are sustainably protected by a nanoplasma coating, thus ensuring washability without impairing the functional properties. The data can be analyzed on smartphones or other devices during or after training, to optimize the training cycles. This system is also applicable for targeted sleep monitoring. Hannes Steiner, CEO Sansirro GmbH, who financed part of the development costs through a crowdfunding program: “We guarantee 100 washing cycles, which is so far unique. Current success of the product is showing us that we are on the right track with our new lifestyle brand and that our product world appropriately meets contemporary needs and requirements of modern consumers.”

Catpture from the Award Ceremony

Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot: “This competition is an internationally unique forum to give ideas of tomorrow a professional framework.” The international jury consists of 20 design experts from all over the world. Out of 5,640 submissions from 55 countries, 265 concepts have been granted the Red Dot Award.

The Grabher Group is a partner of the Smart Embroideries Platform Austria, a coalition of 16 embroidery companies. The technological advantages of embroidery combined with new materials predestine them for technical applications, for example in lightweight components for the automotive and aircraft industries. Technical embroidery is also used as composite reinforcement and is considered as a key technology for the production and development of intelligent textiles (smart textiles). With the Plasmabionic GmbH the Grabher Group is a specialist, when it comes to the various processes of plasma treatment for the finishing of technical textiles.

The sanSirro GmbH, based in southern Styria, was founded in 2013 and produces customized sports and leisure garments. In 2016, the development of the QUS smart shirt was started in cooperation with the Grabher Group. In November, presale started via the online platform and as of spring 2019, the shirt will be available in the DACH region in selected sports retail stores.