The 2015 Eco Warrior Awards are right around the corner and the nominee list of those fighting it out for this year’s prize is already out.

The awards are an initiative by Ecotourism Kenya to honour and celebrate the outstanding contributions to ecotourism practice in Kenya. This year will be the 10th since the awards were launched in 2005.

The Eco Warrior Awards aim to motivate the tourism industry to embrace practices that are ecologically and ethically sustainable in order to compete with the best in the world.

Participants compete in 8 categories and the finalists are announced in a colourful dinner ceremony. This year’s event will take place at the Leisure Lodge Resort in Diani in Kwale County on Friday 16th October 2015.

The Gala Dinner will be part of the itinerary for the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE2015) also happening in the county around the same time.

This is the list of the 30 Eco Warrior Awards nominees in the 8 categories:

  1. 2015 Ecotourism Community Conservancy of the Year Award
    1. Naboisho Conservancy
    2. Tawi Conservancy
    3. Il Ngwesi Group Ranch
    4. Westgate Conservancy
  2. 2015 Eco-rated Lodge of the Year Award
    1. Saruni Mara
    2. Saruni Samburu
    3. Saasab Lodge
    4. Tawi Lodge
  3. 2015 Eco-rated Tented Camp of the Year Award
    1. Karen Blixen Tented Camp
    2. Sanctuary Olonana
    3. Cottars 1920s Safari Camp
    4. Porini Mara Camp
    5. Joy’s Camp
    6. Tortilis Camp
  4. 2015 Community Owned Enterprise of the Year Award
    1. Ngare Ndare Forest Trust
    2. Watamu Marine Association
    3. Kaya Kinondo
    4. Kuruwitu Welfare Association/Community Marine Park
    5. Ol Kinyei Conservancy
  5. 2015 Eco-rated Hotel of the Year Award
    1. Medina Palms
    2. Turtle Bay Beach Club
    3. Baobab Sea Lodge
  6. 2015 Ecotourism Tour Operator of the Year
    1. Kobo Safaris
    2. Uniglobe Let’s Go Travel
    3. Selective Safaris/Albatros Travel
    4. Game watchers
  7. 2015 Ecotourism training program of the year
    1. Amboseli Institute
    2. Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute
  8. 2015 Ecotourism Airline of the Year
    1. Safarilink
    2. Air Kenya

You can attend the Gala Dinner as an individual by paying KES 5,500.00. If you prefer to come as a group of 10, you can get a table for KES 50,000.00. Individual Ecotourism members pay KES 4,500.00 or KES 40,000.00 for a table of 10.

These rates do not include travel and accommodation costs. By the way, if you attend the dinner, you could win some amazing awards. You simply have to purchase raffle tickets which will be available for KES 1,000.00 for a set of 5.

Some of the prizes up for grabs at the raffle include a fabulous 2 nights for 2 at the Baobab Beach Resort & Spa in Diani, South Coast, on full board accommodation, including return air tickets courtesy of Air Kenya.

There are also two nights for 2 at Joy’s Camp in Samburu on full board accommodation with return ticket courtesy of Safari Link and 2 nights for 2 at Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp inclusive of Airstrip transfer and medical evacuation with return ticket also courtesy of Air Kenya.

Here are other equally awesome prizes that can be won in the raffle:

  1. 2 nights for 2 at Karen Blixen Camp including game drives and a complimentary massage (conservancy fees and drinks are excluded).
  2. 2 nights for 2 on Half Board at Severin Sea Lodge and Dinner (excluding drinks) at Imani Dhow restaurant.
  3. 2 nights for 2 at Keekorok Lodge on full board courtesy of Sun Africa Hotels.
  4. 2 nights for 2 at Medina Palms, Watamu on half board basis.
  5. 1 night for 2 at Lake Naivasha Country Club on full board courtesy of Sun Africa Hotels.
  6. 1 night for 2 at Sovereign Suites full board exclusive of any extra courtesy of Sun Africa Hotels.
  7. 1 night for 2 at Distant Relatives eco-lodge, Kilifi.

We will not be there because we are not a physical facility in the industry. We hope Ecotourism Kenya can begin to recognise the role digital brands play in promoting ecotourism.

Perhaps then, someday, we will get a ‘Best Digital Ecotourism Initiative’ Award to honour all online tourism promotion websites and blogs talking loudly and building awareness about the need for responsible tourism.

For now, may those Eco Warrior Awards go to the deservedly best. In the meantime, someone needs to do something about that Leisure Lodge website! It is a terrible website to a beautiful lodge which totally does not become them in every sense of the word.