For Immediate Release
TOP BGTW TOURISM AWARDS GO TO PROJECTS
IN RWANDA, LONDON AND FRANCE
Rwanda's Nyungwe Nziza Project was named winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers' top Globe Award, at the Guild's prestigious annual awards dinner in London's Savoy Hotel last night. Other major awards –all given to tourism projects completed in the past three years – went to Greenwich's Cutty Sark Restoration and to France's Loire à Vélo cycle trail.
Sited in south-west Rwanda's Nyungwe National Park, the Rwanda Development Board project was praised for harmonising tourism, wildlife, environmental and agrarian development in one of Africa's last surviving patches of primeval pre-Ice Age rainforests. One of the world's richest and most diverse eco-systems and home to 25 percent of all of Africa's primates, it was nominated by Guild members Melissa Shales, Rebecca Ford, Stuart Forster and John Bell.
In presenting the award, Guild Chair Roger Bray said: “We are aware that a recent UN report was highly critical of the Rwandan government's support for rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo and that the UK government has been under pressure to suspend aid to the country. Though politics and tourism can rarely be divorced, this award in no way implies support for the current regime there. Nyungwe Nziza is a model tourism project for developing countries whose benefits will long outlast this or subsequent governments."
The Rwandan project also came first in the awards' Wider World category where the two runners up were central Georgia's Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, nominated by Peter Lynch, and San Antonio, Texas's Morgan's Wonderland, nominated by Mary Moore Mason.
The former project, sited in the largest true wilderness area in continental Europe, has opened up accommodation, bridges and foot, bike and horseback trails to the public in the last few years, and the latter project is the world's first theme park designed specifically for physically and mentally disabled people.
Nominated by Kathy Arnold, the Cutty Sark Restoration, winner in the UK award category, has imaginatively brought back to life the world's only surviving tea clipper, built in 1869 and once the world's fastest ship.
The runners up were Glasgow's Riverside Transport Museum, nominated by David Prest, and Edinburgh's Extended and Improved Museum of Scotland., nominated by Paul Wade. The former is an outstanding collection of vintage cars, ships and boats set in a bold Zaheer Habib-designed building and the latter, the UK's most visited attraction outside London, has integrated two adjacent museums into one, adding 16 new galleries and displaying 8,000 objects for the first time.
The third category – for the best new European tourism attraction – was nominated by Gillian Thornton and honoured the completion of the safe, 800km Loire à Vélo cycle trail from Nevers to the Atlantic after 10 years of work by two French regions and six départements.
The runners up were France's totally revamped Toulouse Lautrec Museum, set in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Albi, and the Museum aan de Stroom (Museum on the River) in Antwerp, Belgium. Nominated by Kathy Arnold, the first attraction contains the world's largest collection – some 1,000 paintings – by world-renowned artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The second attraction, nominated by Stuart Forster and housing some 450,000 historical artefacts and works of art, has helped regenerate what had been the abandoned docklands north of central Antwerp.
The BGTW also presented travel writing and photography awards, selected by an outside jury, to its own members during the evening, which was attended by some 300 top travel industry and media representatives. It was sponsored by the city of Las Vegas, which presented an array of glittering entertainment.
Further information and photos available from the British Guild of Travel Writers Secretariat:
, 020 8144 8713.