Nziza Project, located in Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest has been named winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers’ top Globe Award (BGTW), at the Guild’s prestigious annual awards dinner in London’s Savoy Hotel on the night of November 04.
Sited in south-west, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) project was praised for harmonising tourism, wildlife, environmental and agrarian development in one of Africa’s last surviving patches of primeval pre-Ice Age rainforests. The project was described as one of the world’s richest and most diverse eco-systems and home to 25 percent of all of Africa’s primates.
In presenting the award, Guild Chair Roger Bray said: “Nyungwe Nziza is a model tourism project for developing countries whose benefits will long outlast this or subsequent governments.”
The Nyungwe project also came first in the awards’ Wider World category where the two runners up were central Georgia’s Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, nominated by Peter Lynch, and San Antonio, Texas’s Morgan’s Wonderland, nominated by Mary Moore Mason.
The former project, sited in the largest true wilderness area in continental Europe, has opened up accommodation, bridges and foot, bike and horseback trails to the public in the last few years, and the latter project is the world’s first theme park designed specifically for physically and mentally disabled people.
Other major awards –all given to tourism projects completed in the past three years – went to Greenwich’s Cutty Sark Restoration and to France’s Loire à Vélo cycle trail.
The BGTW also presented travel writing and photography awards, selected by an outside jury, to its own members during the evening, which was attended by some 300 top travel industry and media representatives. It was sponsored by the city of Las Vegas, which presented an array of glittering entertainment.
The runners up were Glasgow’s Riverside Transport Museum, nominated by David Prest, and Edinburgh’s Extended and Improved Museum of Scotland., nominated by Paul Wade. The former is an outstanding collection of vintage cars, ships and boats set in a bold Zaheer Habib-designed building and the latter, the UK’s most visited attraction outside London, has integrated two adjacent museums into one, adding 16 new galleries and displaying 8,000 objects for the first time.
The third category – for the best new European tourism attraction – was nominated by Gillian Thornton and honoured the completion of the safe, 800km Loire à Vélo cycle trail from Nevers to the Atlantic after 10 years of work by two French regions and six départments.
The runners up were France’s totally revamped Toulouse Lautrec Museum, set in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Albi, and the Museum aan de Strom (Museum of the River) in Antwerp, Belgium. Nominated by Kathy Arnold, the first attraction contains the world’s largest collection – some 1,000 paintings – by world-renowned artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The second attraction, nominated by Stuart Forster and housing some 450,000 historical artefacts and works of art, has helped regenerate what had been the abandoned docklands north of central Antwerp.