Torres del Paine National Park

Futaleufu wins Top International Award as a Sustainable Tourism Destination

Original Source: elmostrador
By Generacion M | March 2021

Image: Futaleufu Nativo Expediciones

The Chilean destination was also recognized with a third place in the "Green Destinations People's Choice Award" contest, which received the online vote from the global community, backed by a worldwide association of representatives, expert organizations and academic institutions led by the Green Destinations Foundation.
The 2021 ITB Berlin Fair, aimed at tourism industry professionals and the general public, awarded Futaleufu the first place through the "Earth Award" recognition for being the destination that best exemplifies, at a global level, tourism resilience and good sustainable practices carried out by its more than 2,000 inhabitants. 
ITB Berlin is the most important business platform for the global tourism offer, which congregates in one place decision makers from 180 countries, from the 5 continents, and every year brings together more than 100,000 people.
Paulina Ros, director of Sernatur Los Lagos, emphasized that "we are seeing the work carried out by tourism entrepreneurs, the community in general and the Municipal Tourism Department of Futaleufu to become a more sustainable and responsible destination every day".
In this contest Futaleufu was the only commune representing the country and competed with destinations in Brazil, the Philippines and Estonia, among others.
It was awarded for its good practices in environmental matters, because of its actions in relation to climate change and care of the natural environment. In particular, for the work that began in 2012 with the Minimization Plan of Domestic Solid Waste, the construction of the Integrated Waste Treatment Center in 2016, the Ordinance of Domestic Waste Management and the actions carried out by the whole community on a daily basis.

Image: Futaleufu Nativo Expediciones

      Natalia Baeza, coordinator of the Futaleufu Tourism office, explained that "the first place has to do with the impulse we need as a destination, especially in these times of pandemic, to be able to continue improving, because although it is true that we obtained a first place, there are areas in which we have to advance. So it does not mean that now we are not going to do anything else, but on the contrary, we have another stimulus to continue to grow".
"We would like to acknowledge the team behind, the garbage collector, the truck workers, the personnel of the Waste Department, who are the ones who sort the garbage and prepare the material for the compost. So our first thanks go to them and the community, because in the end we are the promoters of these initiatives, but the work is done by all of Futaleufu. We all do it", she added.
The commune also received third place in the "Green Destinations People's Choice Award", which highlights local and regional destinations around the world, which are taking steps and progressing towards a more sustainable industry. The aim of this initiative, for seven years now, is to share stories of innovative, environmentally friendly tourism, highlighting good management practices as inspiring examples for other tour operators and tourists.
"The second recognition is highly valued by the community because it was the choice of the public, by popular vote. There we had the support of several national media, of Sernatur Los Lagos and all that promotion that we did together at a national level, which helped us to achieve the third place in this contest, which is just that, the place that people choose", said Baeza.
Image: Futaleufu Nativo Expediciones
The community of Futalufu hopes to continue to improve its garbage collection processes in rural areas. Initially the pilot project was only for the urban sector, but now they are planning to implement a program focused specifically in the rural zones. In terms of sustainability, they aim to make progress in the rescue of their heritage, valorization of their history, culture, and environment.
To achieve these objectives, the professionals of the Municipality have the support of the representatives of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Chile.
Felipe Vera, representative of Green Destinations in Chile and member of the UNWTO panel of experts, said "this award recognizes the efforts that Futaleufu has made over the past decade in terms of sustainability, exemplified by the Centro de Tratamiento Integral de Residuos (Integrated Waste Treatment Center), an icon for the Los Lagos Region and the whole country in terms of waste separation and disposal".
"For this reason, this 2021 we will continue to work to identify gaps in terms of destination management, a key aspect of the process carried out by Green Destinations and its representative in Chile. This work has a positive impact on the destination as a whole, as it seeks to organize tourism activity in the territory, allowing the protection of heritage and local lifestyles."