Geotourism Challenge 2009: Power of Place - Sustaining the Future of Destinations
Join our search for the most innovative examples of geotourism around the globe. Enter by the extended deadline May 25, 2009.
This 2009 Geotourism Challenge, sponsored by National Geographic and Ashoka Changemakers, attracted 610 innovative geotourism entries. Check out these destinations from 81 countries that promote natural and cultural heritage while improving the well-being of the local people.
This competition was capped by the second annual Geotourism Change Summit at National Geographic headquarters, showcasing the 10 Geotourism Challenge top finalists. They provide outstanding examples of geotourism, as defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.
Watch for the next Changemakers-National Geographic geotourism competition launching in the summer of 2010.
Welcome to the 2009 Geotourism Challenge!
In recent decades tourism has exploded into one of the largest, most all-pervasive industries on Earth. Even in difficult times, hundreds of millions of us now travel. When done well, tourism can alleviate poverty, educate the public, and motivate preservation and conservation of unique cultural, natural, and historic resources. This beneficial type of responsible tourism is most attracted to destinations that are well taken care of.
But when done poorly, tourism may destroy environmental and cultural distinctiveness, perpetuate great disparities in wealth, and educate few. Careless or greedy local leaders may encourage the trend, seeking short-term profits rather than sustainability, and excessive quantity instead of high quality.
National Geographic is committed to protecting the world’s distinctive places. To further our mission, we welcome you to the second annual global Geotourism Challenge: Power of Place—Sustaining the Future of our Destinations, the second of three annual collaborative competitions in partnership with Ashoka’s Changemakers.
The goal of the Geotourism Challenge is to identify and showcase innovators—individuals and organizations—that directly or indirectly support good destination stewardship and the approach known as geotourism: “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” Innovators who improve or protect that character of place are as important as geotourism practitioners.
We invite you to participate in Ashoka’s Changemakers collaborative competition through several actions:
- nominate candidates for the 2009 Geotourism Challenge through May 20, 2009;
- enter the competition itself and encourage others to do so, starting February 18, 2009;
- comment on entries in the online discussion throughout the competition, to help innovators refine and improve their ideas;
- vote for three Geotourism Challenge winners from a slate of finalists chosen by expert judges between July 15 and August 12, 2009.
There is a dynamic relation between tourists and the places that host them. Help us identify innovative ways for that interaction to do the most good and the least harm. We seek information on innovators from around the world and from every kind of business, government, or organization–large and small– who are helping destinations benefit from tourism while protecting the assets that make their places special.
Who are the best Geotourism Challenge candidates? People and organizations that build community pride, increase knowledge about a place, help to protect or enrich the character of a place, and improve residents’ well-being.
Please share your knowledge with us and with the world. Even if you do not nominate a candidate or enter the competition, visit Ashoka’s Changemakers community discussion and comment online. Whether you are a traveler, tourism professional, or resident, you may already be working to improve a particular destination, to make that locale more attractive for both visitors and the local population. Your insights will be valuable and help shape the growing field of geotourism. Together, we can move tourism toward a model that protects and enhances the world.
Including your own favorite places.
Jonathan B. Tourtellot
Director, Center for Sustainable Destinations
Guidelines and Criteria
Welcome to the "Geotourism Challenge 2009: Power of Place
– Sustaining the Future of Destinations" Collaborative Competition.
The goal of the Geotourism Challenge is to identify and showcase innovators – individuals and organizations – that directly or indirectly support good destination stewardship and the approach known as geotourism. Geotourism is defined by National Geographic as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place: its environment, heritage, culture, aesthetics, and the well-being of its residents.
The competition will be open to all types of organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that:
- Reflect the theme of the competition: geotourism.
- Entries are invited from organizations in all countries.
- We are looking for innovations that are beyond the idea stage.
- Entries must be submitted in English or in Spanish and be complete in order to be eligible.
The winners of this Changemakers Collaborative Competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria:
- Innovation: Your entry must describe how your program or activity is new and different. Please be clear and explicit: How is your innovation directly or indirectly advancing tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents? This criterion is mandatory for inclusion in the Geotourism Challenge.
- Social Impact: Your innovation must already be showing results. Your demonstrable success may be local, regional, or global. Regardless of extent, the innovation should show potential to affect the world and not just one place. Describe clearly and precisely how your innovation can be replicated and scaled up.
- Sustainability/Viability: Your innovation must be self-sustaining to be effective. Explain your plan for financial and other bases of support for the long-term. Include not only current financing, but the business plan for the future. Describe as much as you are comfortable disclosing.
Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules
The phases in the competition are:
- Entry Stage – February 18, 2009 to May 25, 2009: Entries can be submitted until 11:59 pm EST time on May 25, 2009. Online review and discussion can go on during this entire entry period. Entrants are strongly encouraged to consider feedback and edit and revise their blueprint throughout the entry period.
- Online Review and Judging - May 26, 2009 - July 15, 2009: Online idea review discussion continues. In parallel, a panel of judges well-versed in the topic and Ashoka staff select the competition finalists.
- Voting - July 15, 2009 - August 12, 2009: The Changemakers community votes online to select the three award winners from the field of finalists.
- Winners Announced - September 9, 2009:
The Changemakers Collaborative Competition winners, the three finalists that receive the most votes, will each receive a cash prize of US$5,000.
Participating in the competition provides the chance to receive feedback on your innovation from fellow entrants, Changemakers staff, judges and the Changemakers community. Showcasing your work and the challenges involved in creating social impact advises potential investors about how best to change funding/investing patterns for the sector and to maximize the strategic impact and effectiveness of their future investments.
Disclaimer - Compliance with Legal Restrictions
Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.
This contest is open only to those aged thirteen or over, and for whom entry is allowed under the laws of their jurisdiction. Entrants under age 18 affirm that they have their parent's consent to provide personally-identifiable information and to enter the contest.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a collaborative competition?
A collaborative competition is an interactive solicitation to identify and develop innovative, workable solutions to the world's most entrenched social problems. Competition entries are posted online and made available for anyone to view and collaborate with by providing new ideas, asking insightful questions, and providing connections to new resources.
- What is a discovery framework (previously called mosaic of solutions)?
The competition takes place within a Discovery Framework that serves as an intellectual framework to compare, contrast and think about the ideas being presented. Each Framework maps the principles represented by the innovation against the underlying factors driving a particular problem. Here is an example of a Framework .
- How do I actually participate in the competition?
You can collaborate on Changemakers by submitting your own entry, commenting on other entrants' innovations through online review, and/or voting for what you view as the most innovative entries.
- Why would I want to compete?
By submitting an entry, you can showcase and share the work you are doing and demonstrate why you think you may have an effective solution to the problem. By commenting on other entries, you can share your experience and expertise to help refine what may be promising models. Finally, you can learn what other entrepreneurs are doing, what the field views as the most innovative and successful work being done, and where the field may be moving.
Using the Site
- What is the purpose of this site?
- In one word, action. Changemakers is building the world's first global online "open source" community that competes to surface the best social solutions, and then collaborates to refine, enrich, and implement those solutions. What does this mean for you, the social innovator? It means register on Changemakers, compete, collaborate, and learn.
- Forget your username or password?
- Click on join/log-in and "request a new password." If you have forgotten your user name, enter your email address and you will receive an email message with a link. When you click on that link, it will give you a web page with a message that includes your username in italics. If you have forgotten your password, it gives you a new password (which you can change).
- Why should I create a profile? What are the benefits to this?
- Registering on Changemakers allows you to not only submit an entry, but to create a user profile that reflects your work, interests, and contributions.
Creating a profile allows you to build a representative identity on the site; one that more easily allows you and like-minded peers to connect and collaborate. In addition, your profile easily allows you to track your entries across competitions, helping you build a collaborative presence over time.
- Who will have access to my profile once I upload it?
- Your profile is published on the web site where everyone can read it. You are the only person who can edit your profile.
- How do I update my profile?
- Your profile will appear whenever you log-in, or you can access your profile at other times by clicking on "my profile" at the top of the page. You can update your profile by clicking on the "edit" tab.
- Who should I contact if I am having problems with the website?
- Please use the contact form for any questions regarding the Changemakers website.
Submitting an Innovation
- How do I submit an innovation?
- Click on a competition name that has a green explanation mark icon (which means the competition is in "enter" status), and click on the "Enter the competition" link.
- I'm having trouble submitting my entry, what can I do?
- Email email@example.com and we will help you.
- Where do I submit photos?
- On each competition entry form, you will see an icon that looks like a green "plus" sign and a small photograph beneath most of the questions. Click on this icon to upload a photo to your entry.
- May I submit more then one innovation entry per competition?
- Yes, you may submit more then entry per competition, as long as the innovation is different.
- May I submit an entry for more than one competition?
- Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the competition guidelines.
- Can I win more than one competition?
- Yes, as long as you meet the criteria and eligibility requirements for the competition, you are eligible to win.
- Why a "collaborative competition"?
- Because it answered our first question: How do you open-source social innovation in order to collectively tackle the world's biggest social problems?
The Changemakers collaborative competitions are about you-the social innovator-and creating a community that rewards action, collaboration, and learning. Please visit our about section to learn more.
- Who chooses the theme of the collaborative competitions?
- Changemakers Collaborative Competition themes are developed in partnership with the sponsor and Changemakers. Visit our sponsorship page to learn more.
- Who is eligible to submit an innovation entry?
- The competition is open to all types of organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that:
- Reflect the theme of the competition.
- Are beyond the stage of idea, concept, or research, and, at a minimum, are at the demonstration stage and indicate success.
- Are submitted in English, Spanish, and are complete.
- What are the criteria for winning?
- The winners of this Changemakers Collaborative Competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria: Innovation, Social Impact, and Sustainability. Visit the competitions section to learn more about the criteria and guidelines.
- Is geography a consideration in the competition judging?
- Changemakers promotes participation from innovators around the world but country of origin is not an assessment criterion. Changemakers evaluates each entry on its ability to demonstrate innovation, social impact and sustainability.
- When is the deadline for submission?
- The deadline for submission of your innovation entry is roughly 11 weeks after the start of each competition. Updated information about deadlines is available on the competitions page.
- How are the winners selected?
- A panel of judges consisting of 3-5 experts, selected by the Changemakers Team, will select 12 to 15 finalists. The finalists are posted on the Changemakers website, and the online community has two weeks to vote for its choices.
- What is the prize for the winners?
- The three winners each receive $5,000. More importantly, all entrants gain great exposure on our website and have their entry read by a global community of innovators and investors. The finalists receive media attention and are showcased on the Changemakers website.
Questions About Sponsors/Partners, and Judges
- Who are the competition sponsors/partners?
- Competition sponsors/partners are leading organizations and individuals with interest and commitment to addressing the issues each competition presents. In some instances these partners approach Changemakers and signal their desire to challenge the issues using Changemakers's collaborative competition model. In other cases, we are directed to them by members of the Changemakers community who thus help us build this changemaking network.
- What is the role of the competition sponsor?
- The competition sponsor's role is to collaborate with the Changemakers Team to frame the competition issues and marketing materials carefully and strategically. The competition sponsor is often the principal investor underwriting the costs of developing and managing all aspects of the competition itself.
- How are the judges selected?
- Competition judges are selected for their expertise in fields relevant to the competition topic and for their demonstrated commitment to solving the problems addressed. They are invited to collaborate with their peers and the Changemakers Team in choosing the slate of competition finalists for community vote.
- How can an organization become a competition sponsor?
- An organization can become a competition sponsor by first contacting Changemakers and arranging for a meeting to discuss ideas for a forthcoming competition or one that warrants consideration. More information is available on the sponsorship page.
- Where did Changemakers start?
- Changemakers was launched as a print magazine in Calcutta, India, in 1994. Founded by Sushmita Ghosh, Ashoka president emerita, the magazine focused on social entrepreneurship and innovation. In 1998, after becoming an initiative of Ashoka, Changemakers went online and evolved into the current format.
- How is Changemakers affiliated with Ashoka: Innovators of the Public?
- Changemakers is an initiative of Ashoka: Innovators of the Public, building on 26 years of expertise in leading the citizen sector. The long history allows Changemakers to leverage the wealth of global resources and ideas to help achieve Ashoka's vision of "everyone a changemaker."