TO DO! 2014 award: Costa Rica, India and Uzbekistan win awards

Eurasia News

Monitoring Desk:The International TO DO Awards have been announced, reports Dispatch News Desk news agency.

TO DO! 2014 award winners include from Costa Rica, India and Uzbekistan and 20th Award Ceremony of the International Contest Socially Responsible Tourism will be held on March 4, 2015 at ITB Berlin. It may be mentioned that TO DO Awards are equally distributed among winners and this is first time Uzbekistan contested for award and Samarkand based responsible tourism organization Silk Road Destinations (C.A.T.I.A) won this prestigious responsible tourism award.

TO DO! 2014 award, Costa Rica, India, Uzbekistan
TO DO! 2014 award, Costa Rica, India, Uzbekistan

“At ITB Berlin 2015, the TO DO! will be awarded to tourism projects that implement socially responsible tourism development in an extraordinary manner. In the 20th contest round, projects from ten countries had been submitted, including from Uzbekistan for the first time. The expert jury selected three projects, each of which was checked on location. All these projects confirmed the positive impression from the applications submitted”, said pressstatement issued by TO DO authorities.

Despite all differences, the three equal winners of the TO DO! 2014 from Costa Rica, India and Uzbekistan have one characteristic in common: In an exemplary manner, they involve the local population in a kind of tourism that is managed sustainably. They create alternative sources of income and strengthen self-awareness of local culture and traditions.

Uzbekistan: Silk Road Destinations (C.A.T.I.A) is an incoming tour operator in Uzbekistan who set up a community-based project in the remote village of Mitan. In Mitan, the guests get into direct contact with local families and theirMuslim culture and traditions. The project is aimed at generating an additional income for the villagers. It is also meant to contribute to cultural exchange and to a better understanding between people with different social and religious backgrounds.

This project namely “Mitan Responsible Tourism Project” is unique in a way that no local or foreign funding is involved in this project from the stage of initialization to the level of its operation comparing to other Community Based Development (CBD) or Community Based Tourism (CBT) project as mostly of them have local or foreign donations/funding at almost every stage of the project.

This project is more than Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) because Silk Road Destinations (SRD) Company was not getting any business or economical benefit from this area before initiating and launching this project in Mitan village. This remote village had never been on tourism map of Uzbekistan as “destination” till tourism operation was started by Silk Road Destinations (C.A.T.I.A) and visitors were introduced to this village.

This project is exceptional in the region (of Central Asia) as it is providing practical training of tourism development and destination management to youth of a remote area at doorstep and creating tourism workforce for future so youth of this small village can ensure their jobs in tourism sector in future.

Project is providing a model of interfaith harmony to youth of this Muslim Community and facilitates a face-to-face intercultural dialogue among groups and individuals having different social and religious backgrounds.

Visit website of the project to following link:

Costa Rica: ACTUAR, the Costa Rican Association of Rural Community Based Tourism, is a network of 34 communities dispersed over the country who jointly market their tourism projects and thus create alternative sources of income for the villagers. When visiting the rural or indigenous communities, travellers experience Costa Rica authentically, with its culture and traditions, and directly meet the local population.

Visit website of the project to following link: 

India: Reality Tours & Travel organises tours to the underprivileged neighbourhoods of Mumbai – the so called slums. The population is strongly involved in the development and implementation and a major part of the income directly benefits the people, e. g. in their training on the job. The most importantobjective is to show the positive sides of life in the slums, to eliminate prejudices that might exist, and to strengthen the self-confidence of the slum dwellers through personal encounters.

Visit website of the project to following link:

It may be mentioned that the international contest is organised by the Institute for Tourism and Development (Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung e. V.) and is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Bread for the World – Church Development Service, forum anders reisen e. V., ITB Berlin, Studiosus Reisen München and the Swiss Foundation for Solidarity in Tourism that also provides the prize money.

When contacted to comment the Director and initiator of Mitan Responsible Tourism project Ravshan TURAKULOV, he said that he felt proud that his country and his company won an international award. He was of the view that Mitan project is example that strong commitment with cause can brought wonderful results.  Ravshan TURAKULOV started his career as a French tourist guide in 1996. He completed his Master of Arts in French language from Samarkand State Institute for Foreign languages after finishing his bachelor degree from School of French Philology Samarkand Uzbekistan. He is running his company the Silk Road Destinations in Samarkand Uzbekistan since 2001.

He believes that tourism management teaches a person to think international, plan globally while operating domestically therefore gives a person ample chances to do something better for sustainable future of the earth. He strongly believes in sustainable tourism development and promotion of cultures while operating his business and provides opportunities to travelers to meet and greet people in remote areas of Central Asia to feel the threads of Central Asian society.

It may be mentioned that Silk Road Destinations (C.A.T.I.A) is member of The Region Initiative (TRI) which is a Tri-regional Umbrella of Tourism related organisations. TRI is functioning as a link among three regions—-South Asia,Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It offers blended tours packages, consultancy, networking of tourism organisations, tourism research opportunities, marketing of small tourism stakeholders, promotion of need of usage of renewable energies, advocate sustainable tourism and ecotourism.

The TO DO! 2014 award ceremony will take place at ITB Berlin on 4th March, 2.30 pm, hall 4.1, main stage. The laudatory speech in honour of the award winners will be held by Mr. Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Press conference with the award winners: ITB Berlin, 4th March, 11.00 am, hall 4.1, YIG-Lounge, booth 102

Readers can find more information about this award to visit following link: