Whale watching operator North Sailing in Húsavík is among the 15 Finalists shortlisted for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in 2016, as announced by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recently. These annual awards are among the highest accolades in the industry and represent the gold standard in sustainable tourism. North Sailing is among the three Finalists in the Innovation Category.
The Finalists were selected from hundreds of applications from 62 countries on all continents, with North Sailing being the only Nordic Finalist this year. The Winners will be announced during the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Ceremony at the 16th WTTC Global Summit in Dallas, Texas on the 7th of April 2016.
Gudbjartur Ellert Jónsson, General Manager of North Sailing: “This is a great honour for us and an acknowledgement of the environmentally friendly path we have embarked upon. The WTTC has been the voice of travel and tourism globally for 25 years, and the Awards are among the most prestigious within the sector.”
WTTC promotes sustainable growth for the tourism sector, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity.
Positive reactions a pleasant surprise
“We have always been an environmentally friendly company, finding innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint. This summer we launched the restored ship Opal, which is equipped with innovative technology that allows it to operate solely on renewable energy sources. The reaction, both here and abroad, has been a pleasant surprise. Not only have we received much attention, but we’ve also been recognized by respected international bodies and Awards.” Says Mr. Jónsson, mentioning for example receiving the Silver Awards at the World Responsible Tourism Awards last fall, being nominated among the top ten for the Green Tec Awards, and now being among the 15 Finalists for the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awarads.
6 carbon emission free departures a day
A lot is changing in regards to environment-friendly operations at North Sailing in 2016. Even though the company has for the past 21 years had sustainability as a guiding operating principle – the ships still had to rely on diesel engines for power.
North Sailing is now for the first time able to offer scheduled carbon emission free whale watching tours. During the high season this summer up to six departures per day are run solely on electric ships that are charged by Iceland´s green energy grid.