Local travel company wins tourism award

Gavin Bate, founder of Adventure Alternative, Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi; Undersecretary of Oman Ministry of Tourism and Nova Alexander, Tobago House of Assembly.

Gavin Bate, founder of Adventure Alternative, Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi; Undersecretary of Oman Ministry of Tourism and Nova Alexander, Tobago House of Assembly.

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A Coleraine man’s adventure travel company has won a major honour at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in London.

Adventure Alternative, which is based inPortstewart won the gold award in the Best for Poverty Reduction category.

Now in their 11th year, the World Responsible Tourism Awards are headline sponsored by the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism, and were founded in 2004 to celebrate the most inspiring stories in responsible tourism.

Best for poverty reduction is awarded to a tourism organisation with a creative and long-term approach to reducing poverty among local communities.

The judges’ citation said: “Judges’ reasons for winning: “We have previously awarded Gavin Bate, when he won Best Personal Contribution in 2009, but the judges felt that the extent to which he has expanded the operation of Adventure Alternative and increased the flow of benefits to the local communities with which the company works, deserved further recognition. Over twenty years,

“Adventure Alternative has developed companies in Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania, Malaysia, Morocco and Russia using responsible tourism and equitable contracts to create sustainable livelihoods and help people out of poverty. The judges were impressed by the wealth of detail that Adventure Alternative provided on their impacts and the way in which it is building self-reliant locally owned businesses”.

Adventure Alternative began in 1991 as a small expedition company taking mountain lovers to far out there or, more precisely, up there destinations such Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania, Malaysia and Morocco.

The company’s mission has always been to ensure that the people they work with in developing countries not only have an equal share in tourism profits, but also further their careers while always gaining a disposable income

The company is also building the first tourism college in the Himalayas with a curriculum in responsible tourism.