Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts recently won the Silver Award for ‘Best in Responsible Tourism’ at the International Travel and Tourism Awards held for the first time by the World Travel Market in London recently. Cinnamon was the only Sri Lankan brand to be recognised at the award ceremony, competing with tourism destinations such as Kerala to bag this prestigious award for the Cinnamon Elephant Project, executed in association with Cinnamon Nature Trails and supported by the John Keells Foundation.
Dileep Mudadeniya, Vice President; John Keells, Group Head of Brand and Marketing, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts and CEO Cinnamon Life Mall said, “We give importance to projects of this nature as it addresses timely causes in the country and showcases Sri Lanka not only as a destination with diverse offerings, but also a socially responsible one. The brand Cinnamon has continuously paved the way for unique initiatives that create awareness in this regard and is widely known for identifying sustainability need gaps by consistently measuring and monitoring material, economic, social and environment impacts to ensure its contribution to society.”
Cinnamon was honoured among an audience of more than 500 senior industry professionals at the gala event near WTM London’s ExCeL venue. Judged by an independent panel of experts from around the world, the 14 awards showed the best in class of the global travel and tourism industry.
Nick Pilbeam, Divisional Director of WTM London’s parent company, Reed Exhibitions, led the judging panel alongside UNWTO’s Director of Communications, Marcelo Risi. ITTA’s Co-Founder Paul Nelson said, “We have been delighted with the response from the industry to the ITTAs and blown away by both the quantity and the qualities of the entries. All the finalists represent what these awards are about, celebrating the success of national, regional and city tourist boards and recognising outstanding private sector companies and individuals.”
The International Travel & Tourism Awards, presented by WTM London, celebrate the success of national, regional and city tourist boards and recognises outstanding private sector companies and individuals.
Commenting on this achievement, Carmeline Jayasuriya, Head of CSR and Assistant Vice President of the John Keells Group stated, “We are delighted to have partnered Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts on this long-term initiative to study the elephant gathering, behavioural and dispersion patterns in Anuradhapura District. We supported this initiative from its inception as it aligns to our Environment pillar in terms of promoting environmental conservation and sustainability and is also expected to recommend solutions to the human-elephant conflict which has become a pervasive issue in Sri Lanka. We applaud the initiative and commitment of the Nature Trails team in identifying and acting on critical environmental issues of the country in furtherance of responsible tourism.”
Considered to be among the top 10 greatest natural animal spectacles in the world, the Elephant Gathering is the largest wild gathering of the Asian elephant, occurring annually within the safety of the protected Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The Cinnamon Elephant Project a collaborative effort initiated in 2014, between Nature Trails and the Centre for Conservation and Research with the full funding support from John Keells Foundation. This integrates both long-term conservation efforts of the endangered Asian elephant, and inclusive ecotourism practices in Sri Lanka through elephant viewing based on this annual elephant gathering.
“We take great pride in the work that we do to promote responsible tourism in Sri Lanka, and the Cinnamon Elephant Project is one that is extremely significant to us due to the critical nature of this sensitive issue and that this effort will generate valuable information which can be shared encouraging best practices in eco-tourism especially concerning elephants and their habits,” stated Chitral Jayatillake, Head of Nature Trails at Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts. “Nature Trails together with Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts are delighted to be recognised for an initiative that has reached the bar set by WTM and the International Travel and Tourism Awards.”