KARACHI: Arabian Travel Market (ATM) has revealed the 2014 shortlist for its annual New Frontiers Awards, with three deserving nations nominated for this year’s award, which will be announced at a special roundtable session on Wednesday 7th May.
According to a release issued from DUBAI on Wednesday, the trio of shortlisted destinations includes the Philippines, Pakistan and India, each of which has had to deal with the dual trauma of significant human and economic losses in the last 12 months due to a number of devastating natural catastrophes.
“While we are powerless to stop nature’s often destructive path, as an industry we must support those countries that are impacted on an economic and personal level to the detriment of the lives of the local population as well as the tourism industry. The New Frontiers Award, which is now in its 10th year, is committed for the long term to highlighting and applauding in-country efforts to repair, rebuild and recover,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
The New Frontiers Award was created in 2005 to recognise outstanding contributions to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity, supporting the chosen destination by donating exhibition space at the event to the value of US$10,000.
Following the introduction last year of an interactive roundtable session format attended by previous awards recipients, the 2014 announcement will welcome last year’s recipient, the Philippines, with representatives from the country’s tourism ministry providing an update on sector recovery and the outlook for the industry in 2014.
“Once again, participants will be able to share their own experiences and receive encouragement – and invaluable insight – from previous award recipients who have rebuilt their tourism proposition, often from the ground up, to bring destinations back to life and boost economic prospects,” remarked Walsh.
As well as physical rebuilding, the award also focuses on the strategic redevelopment of a destination as nations seek to repair market confidence and attract tourism back to the region.
“Humanitarian relief and subsequent infrastructural rebuilding is the first, and vitally important step, in the process, however, Governments, tourism authorities and businesses all have a strategic role to play in repositioning a destination and driving tourist footfall for the future, and ATM provides a unique support platform for communicating the challenges and successes of deserving nominees,” noted Walsh.
Previous award recipients include Phuket, Thailand; Cancun, Mexico; Sichuan, China; Mumbai, India; Chile; Japan; and the Philippines. The 2014 nominees have all had to repair, rebuild and recover, with efforts ongoing in some destinations.
The Philippines suffered two of its worst natural disasters to date in late 2013 with the Bohol earthquake hitting the Central Visayas region followed by Typhoon Haiyan, which wreaked havoc across large tracts of the country in November. Entire coastal cities were wiped out with infrastructure across many areas completely destroyed. An estimated 4.4 million people were displaced with humanitarian efforts still ongoing in some places.
The September 2013 7.7-magnitude quake inflicted heavy human and livestock casualties in Pakistan’s largest province of Balochistan, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless and 90% of buildings in the predominantly rural region destroyed.
India was affected by two life-changing events barely five months apart, with the northern state of Uttarakhand devastated by heavy floods and landslides in June 2013 and tropical Cyclone Phailin touching down in the northeast of the country in October. Significant fatalities and the displacement of more than 1.1 million people were further exacerbated by the destruction of entire communities and wholesale destruction of crops and farmland.