Posted by: askelena | March 18, 2009

2009 Geotourism Challenge by National Geographic and Ashoka ($5000 USD prize!)

Again, this is the kind of information we will share will all the members of the ICCCR: grants, seed monies, contests, conferences, competitions, and green investment funds for eco-sustainable projects and programs throughout Costa Rica.  This is a recent example:

Enter Geotourism Challenge 2009: Power of Place – Sustaining the Future of Destinations by May 20, 2009.

Join National Geographic and Changemakers as we search for the most innovative examples of geotourism around the globe.

In recent decades tourism has exploded into one of the largest, most all-pervasive industries on Earth. Even in difficult times, hundreds of millions of us now travel. When done well, tourism can alleviate poverty, educate the public, and motivate preservation and conservation of unique cultural, natural, and historic resources. This beneficial type of responsible tourism is most attracted to destinations that are well taken care of.

But when done poorly, tourism may destroy environmental and cultural distinctiveness, perpetuate great disparities in wealth, and educate few. Careless or greedy local leaders may encourage the trend, seeking short-term profits rather than sustainability, and excessive quantity instead of high quality.

National Geographic is committed to protecting the world’s distinctive places. To further our mission, we welcome you to the second annual global Geotourism Challenge: Power of Place—Sustaining the Future of our Destinations, the second of three annual collaborative competitions in partnership with Ashoka’s Changemakers.

The goal of the Geotourism Challenge is to identify and showcase innovators—individuals and organizations—that directly or indirectly support good destination stewardship and the approach known as geotourism: “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” Innovators who improve or protect that character of place are as important as geotourism practitioners.

We invite you to participate in Ashoka’s Changemakers collaborative competition through several actions:

  • Nominate candidates for the 2009 Geotourism Challenge through May 20, 2009;
  • Enter the competition itself and encourage others to do so, starting February 18, 2009;
  • Read entries and comment in the online discussion throughout the competition, to help innovators refine and improve their ideas;
  • Vote for three Geotourism Challenge winners from a slate of finalists chosen by expert judges, during the summer of 2009. 

There is a dynamic relation between tourists and the places that host them.  Help us identify innovative ways for that interaction to do the most good and the least harm. We seek information on innovators from around the world and from every kind of business, government, or organization–large and small– who are helping destinations benefit from tourism while protecting the assets that make their places special.

Who are the best Geotourism Challenge candidates? People and organizations that build community pride, increase knowledge about a place, help to protect or enrich the character of a place, and improve residents’ well-being.

Please share your knowledge with us and with the world. Even if you do not nominate a candidate or enter the competition, visit Ashoka’s Changemakers community discussion and comment online. Whether you are a traveler, tourism professional, or resident, you may already be working to improve a particular destination, to make that locale more attractive for both visitors and the local population.  Your insights will be valuable and help shape the growing field of geotourism.  Together, we can move tourism toward a model that protects and enhances the world.


The competition will be open to all types of organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that:

  • Reflect the theme of the competition: geotourism.
  • Entries are invited from organizations in all countries.
  • We are looking for innovations that are beyond the idea stage.
  • Entries must be submitted in English or in Spanish and be complete in order to be eligible.

The Changemakers community votes online to select the three award winners from the field of finalists. The Changemakers Collaborative Competition winners, the three finalists that receive the most votes, will each receive a cash prize of US$5,000.

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