Wetland wins highest accolade at global sustainable tourism awards


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The Wetland Centre, located in the heart of London, has won the prestigious Global Award in the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards for 2001. According to Professor David Bellamy, Chairman of the judging panel, the Centre is "the culmination of Sir Peter Scott's dream to put plants and wildfowl at the heart of every major city and what an incredible achievement! The Wetland Centre in Barnes is the only project of its kind working to this scale, and as such is a superb role-model for all our great cities." The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, which developed and manages the Wetland Centre, was founded by Sir Peter Scott in 1946.

Converted from four disused reservoirs, the 40-hectare Wetland Centre was opened to the public in May 2000. The mosaic of lakes, ponds and marshes with boardwalks, hides, state-of-the-art observatory, cinema and discovery centre, attracts many thousands of visitors each year including overseas visitors, UK tourists, local school children as well as the surrounding community.

The Tourism for Tomorrow awards include six categories - Protected areas and National Parks, Accommodation, Tourism Organisation, Built Environment, Environmental Experience and Large Scale Tourism. The Wetland Centre won the Large Scale Tourism category and then went on to take the Global Award, selected from the six category winners. Close runners-up to the Wetland Centre in its category was another wetland - Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretative Centre in Canada - and wetlands were well represented in the list of near winners in the other categories too.

Doug Hulyer, who was instrumental in the development of the Wetland Centre in London, is the Ramsar CEPA NGO Focal Point for the UK. In addition, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and one if its programmes, Wetland Link International, are key players in one area of the implementation of the Convention's Outreach Programme. Read more about their role here http://ramsar.org/outreach_wetlandcentres.htm .

For more information about the sustainable tourism awards visit http://www.britishairways.com/tourism/   and for more details about the winners and those who were highly commended contact Trudi Dunlop trudi@bgb.co.uk .

-- reported by Sandra Hails, Ramsar Bureau

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