The Changemakers: Indian Responsible Tourism Summit & Awards 2024

Here's a look at Outlook’s annual Indian Responsible Tourism Summit & Awards 2024
A photo of all the winners
A photo of all the winners

2024 is a momentous year for us. We turned 9 this year, and we’re very proud of the wonderful community we’ve built over these years. A community that understands and values the power of collective wisdom and collective action. Which is why, at Outlook’s annual Indian Responsible Tourism Summit & Awards 2024 in New Delhi, we made a simple wish of ‘Growing Together, Growing Responsibly’.

ORTA Trophy
ORTA Trophy

As travel bounces back, we ask ourselves whether we are ready to make the most of this post-pandemic swell. Are we ready to do what it takes to create a tourism ecosystem in India that will not only survive but thrive in the long-haul? As we shift gears again, and look for a new roadmap for the future, we take inspiration from initiatives like the Travel for Life campaign that the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has been actively promoting to make India a truly sustainable destination.

The 9th Indian Responsible Tourism Summit & Awards invited inspiring people from all over the country to share their learnings and their journeys in adventure, architecture, food, craft, community initiatives and wildlife tourism, on stage and off it. The Summit also took a deep dive into key subjects like consumer behaviour and adapting to change in the global tourism sector with experts who travelled all the way from Bulgaria and the Nordics. It invited everyone in the responsible travel community in India to dream, to dare, to DO!

The Winners

Sustainable Leadership Homestays

Jade House, Leh, Ladakh (Gold) - Jade House is home to Tsezin Angmo, who believes in building community networks, particularly with local entrepreneurs and women-led initiatives, to make sure travellers have a deeper sense of place and purpose in Ladakh. 

Mystic Village, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh (Silver) - This is a community initiative by members of the pastoral Himalayan tribe of Gaddis. Five homes, local youth, and an entire village come together to preserve their own heritage, and create new opportunities for cultural exchange.

PaliGhar, Kalimpong, West Bengal (One to Watch) - A seventh-generation farm-turned-farmstay, PaliGhar is known for its conservation efforts, resilience during the pandemic years, and business innovations that could be replicated by other small and sustainable family-run units.

Sustainable Leadership BNBs & Guesthouses

Jujurana Stays, Banjar, Himachal Pradesh (Gold) - Named after the critically endangered Western Tragopan, the jujurana or king of birds, this cottage by a stream in the Great Himalayan National Park harnesses renewable energy and manages its water and waste efficiently.

Binsar Forest Retreat, Kumaon, Uttarakhand (Silver) - Planted in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, the Retreat encourages travellers to engage with nature and with the local community in meaningful ways, and assumes responsibility for actions that have an impact beyond its own boundaries.

Sustainable Leadership Hotels

Lchang Nang Retreat, Nubra Valley, Ladakh (Gold) - A champion of local culture, community and architecture, Lchang Nang shows serious commitment to sustainability by relying almost entirely on renewable energy, solar water heating, gravity-fed water and local supply chains.

Nine Furlongs, Kumaon, Uttarakhand (Silver) - A restored colonial property in Binsar, the lodge takes its environmental and social responsibilities seriously by investing in solar power and rainwater harvesting, and focusing on the welfare of its local staff, including medical insurance.

Sustainable Leadership Travel Enterprises

Healing Himalayas
Healing Himalayas

Healing Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh (Gold) - From ‘Treks with Purpose’ — to clean up popular trails — to setting up Material Recovery Facilities at tourism hubs, they work towards safeguarding the delicate Himalayan ecosystem.

Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu (Silver) - For 20 years, this global non-profit has engaged over a thousand volunteers every year in sustainable projects in India, focusing on reforestation, food security and rural resilience, impacting lives and landscapes.

Dakshin Endeavours, Andamans & Karnataka (One to Watch) - Using travel as a springboard for awareness and education, this initiative sparks curiosity and encourages critical thinking in children, while helping them understand the symbiotic relationships between people, places and nature. 

Astrostays, Ladakh (One to Watch) - Stargazing meets social change in remote rural destinations of Ladakh through this initiative that  encourages local youth to become astro-preneurs by offering dark sky experiences to guests at their homestays, or at community-run experience centres.

Sustainability Champions - Pathfinders

Ishita Khanna, Himachal Pradesh (Gold) - For over two decades, Ishita Khanna and her organisation, Spiti Ecosphere, have worked with the local community to build resilience in an extremely eco-fragile landscape, and created opportunities for travellers to contribute to these efforts.

Nirmal Kulkarni, Goa (Silver) - Known as a seasoned snakeman and ecologist, Nirmal Kulkarni has been a leading stakeholder in key conservation efforts in the Western Ghats, especially in his home state of Goa, with a significant impact on the environment and local community.

Mackinlay Barreto, Goa (One to Watch) - Mackinlay Barreto is opening up the Goa of 70s and 80s as a practitioner of mindful tourism. The limited capacity, micro-local experiences he offers employs locals, bans the use of single use plastic and forbids the geo-tagging of locations.

Sustainability Champions Grassroots Heroes

Punyo Chada
Punyo Chada

Punyo Chada, Arunachal Pradesh (Gold) - A teacher and changemaker, Punyo Chada, planted the seed and nurtured the idea of sustainable development for years in Ziro Valley, home to the Apatani tribe. Through the initiative, NgunuZiro, or Our Ziro, he continues to set a wonderful example of community action for rural destinations.

Kartik Gaggar, Rajasthan (Silver) - Through his enterprise Rajasthan Studio, Kartik Gaggar connects the custodians of traditional arts, crafts, textiles and music, and local businesses, with culturally curious travellers, both online and offline.

Journeys of Sustainability

At the Outlook Indian Responsible Tourism Initiative, we believe in travel that is gentle on the earth and invested in the growth and happiness of the local communities. We also believe in collective wisdom and sharing knowledge. So, we invited leading experts from remote corners of our country to share their learnings and help us open our hearts and minds to new possibilities and opportunities. 

“When you take people to the source of the food, get them to meet communities, & taste food, it's transformative.”

- Chef Thomas Zacharias, Founder, The Locavore

Falling in Love with Indian Ingredients (Again).

Adil Hussain
Adil Hussain

“The intent of a traveller has to come from the ground up. Ideally it should be... 'How is it possible for me to gently challenge myself?'”

 - Adil Hussain, Award-Winning Actor

Malavath Poorna
Malavath Poorna

“My aim is to create a thousand more Poornas.”

- Malavath Poorna, Youngest Woman to Scale Mt.Everest, & Team Leader, TARC Academy

Inspiring Young Indians to Find their Own Peak

 “Bhraman means a state of mind. It means as much as you travel outside, you should be able to travel inside.”

- Raj Basu, Co-founder, Help Tourism, & Advisor, Rural Tourism & Homestays, States in the Northeast, Myanmar, Bhutan & Nepal

Hjörtur Smárason
Hjörtur Smárason

“That’s one of the fantastic things about humanity. When we put our minds together, we can really create something new and we can change things.”

- Hjörtur Smárason, Founder & Lead Strategist, Saltworks, Denmark, & Former CEO, Visit Greenland

Adapting to a Changing World… Climate, Sustainability, & Destination Management

Milena Nikolova
Milena Nikolova

“Travel is about people. It is at the core of why we embark on a journey.”

- Milena Nikolova, Founder, BehaviorSmart, Bulgaria

Decoding & Reshaping Consumer Behaviour

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