10/05/2013 04:36 BST | Updated 09/07/2013 06:12 BST

New Headline Sponsor Announced for 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards

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The Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism has cemented its commitment to responsible tourism by becoming the headline sponsor of the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards.

Already a leading light in the responsible tourism industry, the move strengthens the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism's link with the biggest and most respected responsible tourism awards globally. One of the awards' most prominent supporters, since 2010 the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism has sponsored a total of 11 categories. This year's headline sponsorship sends a clear message to the industry that it is as fully committed as ever to the support of responsible tourism practices.

"I'm really thrilled that our long term partner, the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism, has now become our headline sponsor. We're delighted to have a sponsor that has been so active in responsible tourism to help us celebrate the awards' 10th anniversary. We look forward to working with them to find the best of the best in responsible tourism and to showcase the winners to world." says Justin Francis, founder of the World Responsible Tourism Awards.

Since 2003, when it adopted the UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Principles, the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism has been strengthening its support of responsible tourism. In 2005, together with the UNWTO and UNESCO, it organised the conference of Built Environments for Sustainable Tourism (BEST) and in 2010 it published its own policy for sustainable tourism, hosted the 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations and commenced its support of the World Responsible Tourism Awards.

Her Excellency, Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary for Tourism for the Sultanate of Oman, is hopeful their support of the awards will inspire local responsible tourism projects globally. She says:

"The Sultanate of Oman supports the continued development of sustainable tourism initiatives across the world. Initiatives that are firmly ground in the protection of the natural world and its local communities and that are aligned to the Sultanate's historical and traditional beliefs. By taking this small step in supporting these global awards we hope that we can inspire a range of new and exciting local projects"

The Sultanate of Oman - a leading light for responsible tourism in Arabia:

• The Sultanate of Oman has meticulously restored its heritage sites, in particular its forts and castles, creating opportunities for local communities to generate income from heritage tourism.

• The 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, held in the Sultunate of Oman in 2010, was the first international responsible tourism conference to be held in Arabia

• Oman holidays on responsibletravel.com feature traditional desert camps owned and run by local communities, and tours led by local guides, supporting local businesses.

• Other responsible tourism projects in the Sultanate of Oman include: The Haya Water's Al Ansab Wetland - an outstanding wildlife area and a centre for environmental education, the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort & Spa which has installed an innovative reed bed water treatment system, which creates peat used to grow herbs and vegetables and the Shangri-La Al Jissah Resort & Spa's Turtle Care Project which aims to protect the Hawksbill & Green turtles which visit its beaches.

What can you do? Nominate a tourism company for the World Responsible Tourism Awards at: http://www.worldresponsibletourismawards.com/nominations. Everyone who nominates for the awards is entered into a draw to win a 7 night independent walking holiday to the island of Gozo with Headwater Holidays.