Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Aruba Wins National Geographic World Legacy Award For Leading Sustainability Efforts

ORANJESTAD, Aruba, March 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Praised for its unparalleled sustainability efforts, Aruba was named the National Geographic World Legacy Award Winner for "Destination Leadership" this week at ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism convention.

The World Legacy Awards launched in 2014 to recognize the leading travel and tourism companies, organizations and destinations who are transforming sustainable tourism. More than 150 award entries were received, representing 56 countries and six continents. Finalists in five categories were selected by an international team of 18 sustainable travel experts, who conducted thorough on-site inspections before choosing the winners in each category.

As the "Destination Leadership" winner, Aruba immediately stood out to judges for its world-leading green energy initiative. In 2012, Aruba partnered with Sir Richard Branson's Carbon War Room, founded to fight climate change, and other key entities such as Harvard. Due to the island's natural solar/wind resources and aggressive plan supported by partners, Aruba is on track to be the world's first country to fully transition off fossil fuels by 2020.

Aruba's government is actively promoting the use of renewable energy through wind farms, airport solar park, waste-to-energy plant, smart communities and a $1 billion island investment largely focused on eco-tourism. A new, award-winning trolley through downtown Oranjestad is the world's first municipal streetcar system using hydrogen fuel cell technology that runs off a battery charged through wind/solar energy. Aruba has saved $50 million per year through sustainability efforts and in 2014, six Caribbean islands committed to follow the "Aruba Model" by signing with Carbon War Room as part of a 10 Island Renewable Challenge to transition 100 percent off fossil fuels.

"It is an honor to be recognized by the National Geographic Society for our unwavering pursuit of total sustainability," said Oslin B. Sevinger, Aruba Minister of Integration, Infrastructure and Environment, who accepted the award at ITB Berlin. "Over the past several years, we have worked closely with the world's most innovative thought leaders on this subject and are proud to see our ever-evolving efforts paving the way for other Caribbean islands. This is just the beginning."

Aruba's sustainability efforts have been covered by Bloomberg TV, Wall Street Journal Live, CNBC Power Lunch, CBS and other national outlets. Representatives from Aruba's government and the Aruba Tourism Authority are available for interview on the topic of sustainability.

For more information on the One happy island, visit www.aruba.com. Engage with Aruba via social media at www.facebook.com/ArubaFans or @Aruba on Twitter.

About Aruba
As one of the most revisited destinations in the Caribbean, Aruba -- One happy island -- is an island of contradictions, where pristine turquoise waters collide against the desert-like terrain of the north shore; where peace and relaxation coexist with wild and rugged adventures; where Dutch influence meets American ease and where a diverse history parallels a bright future. Nestled in the southern Caribbean outside the fringes of the hurricane belt, the island is just a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami, a four-hour flight from New York City and boasts year-round cooling trade winds with an average 82-degree temperature. Aruba offers beach-lovers, adrenaline junkies, relaxation-seekers and everyone in between a slice of paradise with breathtaking beaches, a booming culinary scene of over 200 restaurants with 25+ located ideally on the water, world-famous festivals and events, exciting land and water activities, art galleries and museums, sumptuous spas, championship golf, exclusive shopping and signature experiences such as cooling off in Conchi, Aruba's natural pool -- accessible only by foot or off-road vehicle. With all-inclusive options, boutique properties in charming Eagle Beach, high-rise branded resorts in Palm Beach and cosmopolitan city hotels in Oranjestad, the island of contradictions provides the perfect getaway for both first-time guests and loyal visitors.