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May 2007

Aqua-Trek Receives Global Recognition
Posted: Friday 4 May, 2007

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2007 – AQUA-TREK FIJI joins the Shortlist of Finalists showcasing World’s Leading Examples of Best Practice in Travel & Tourism

Nadi, Fiji  and San Francisco, California – 2 May, 2007

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) of London announced the finalists for the 2007 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and Aqua-Trek, a scuba diving company in the Fiji Islands, is one of 3 Awards Finalists chosen for the Conservation category. Tourism businesses from all over the world applied for these prestigious Awards, which represent the highest accolade for best practice in Travel & Tourism development.

An international committee of experts selected the finalists from hundreds of applications from more than 40 countries representing Travel & Tourism on all seven continents. According to the WTTC, Costas Christ, Judging Chairman of the Awards and an internationally recognized expert in sustainable tourism said: “With rigorous evaluation standards and detailed criteria, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have become the “Oscars” of Travel & Tourism industry. Today that means not only providing an outstanding tourism product but doing so in a way that helps to protect the cultural and natural heritage of our planet.” A thorough site visit and scrupulous verification process was conducted for every finalist.

Aqua-Trek created a world class Shark Dive in Beqa Lagoon that has been called “The #1 Shark Dive in The World”.  Divers can view up to 8 species of shark.  Aqua-Trek's Shark Conservation and Sustainable Tourism Program was developed along with the dive and has been instrumental in the conservation of sharks on a local and global level. The program aims to educate people about the importance of protecting this threatened marine species whose role is vital to our ecosystem. In addition to conservation and education, the project provides income to local villages; preserves the cultural heritage of the indigenous people; provides Fiji with a successful sustainable tourism enterprise; and creates an unparalleled opportunity to study sharks in their natural environment.

This award brings international recognition of best practices in conservation and sustainable tourism to both Aqua-Trek and the Fiji islands.  Mrs. Bernadette Rounds Ganilau, Fiji’s Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations, Tourism and Environment said: “Aqua-Trek reflects the most amazing best practice strategy I have seen in a dive operation in Fiji or in the Pacific for that matter.  Apart from building Fiji up as one of the best dive sites in the world, Aqua-Trek has undertaken this in the most sustainable way in association with the environment and the traditional link that most Fijians hold to sharks and their prowess as kings of the reef.  Aqua Trek’s lobbying of government to ban shark fishing in our territorial waters and prohibit the sale of shark fin products in Fiji has also commenced.  Everybody wins – and visitors to our shores who have come specifically to dive with Aqua Trek can do so knowing full well that they are part of a forward looking strategy that includes the preservation of the marine life and cultural values of our people, whilst savouring the adrenalin pumping adventure with this ancient predator up close. I salute Aqua Trek for their vision.”

All finalists will be recognized at a prestigious Award ceremony at the 7th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in May, 2007 in Lisbon Portugal.

Contact: MaryAnne Hines at maryanne@aquatrek.com 
Ph: 415/398-8990 USA  

Tourism for Tomorrow Information: http://www.tourismfortomorrow.com/


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