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EcoCamp Patagonia Highly Commended in Responsible Tourism Awards 2012!

EcoCamp Patagonia has been announced as the runner up in Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2012 in the category Best in a Mountain Environment! Being highly commended by judges is an honour for EcoCamp who were also highly commended in 2009 and have continued to innovate their sustainable technology and ecological initiatives each year from their opening in 2001 until the present day.
 
Yerko Ivelic, one of EcoCamp’s owners & managing directors, is very happy with the result, “This recognition consolidates our organization’s vision of sustainable tourism and confirms that we’ve been on the right path all these years. It also stimulates us to keep innovating and creating value in the tourism industry.” 
 
The ceremony took place on November 7th, Responsible Tourism Day, in London at the World Travel Market. The awards, which have been annually recognising sustainable tourism ventures, individuals and destinations from all over the world since 2004, has attracted over 11,000 nominations over nine years. Responsible tourism outfitters from 55 countries in the world have received the coveted award. 
 
The Responsible Tourism Awards released the following extracts from their interview with Yerko Ivelic:
 
Why did you start EcoCamp?
 
"Together with Javier López and Nani Astorga I'd been running Cascada Expediciones, an eco friendly Chilean tour operator, for about 10 years. In the mid 1990's we'd expanded to offer tours in Torres del Paine National Park and we were searching for a way to make the most of the park and provide sturdy accommodation (wind speeds reach 180 km per hour!) which wouldn't involve building damaging infrastructure.
 
We’d seen how the then current solutions to accommodation - hotels, cabins, campsites and refuges - had all been designed without any real concern for their surrounding environment and were relying on huge loud and contaminating generators, large excavations, badly designed septic tanks and inefficient energy sources, to name a few undesirables! 
 
Javier returned from a trip to Africa, enthused by the safari tents used over there which were big, comfortable and even had bathrooms. We knew these tents wouldn’t last ten seconds in the Patagonian wind, but we kept thinking about how we could adapt the idea. One day a book of old photography fell into our hands, including photos of the ancient inhabitants of Torres del Paine, the Kaweskar, putting up semi-spherical tents insulated with guanaco skins. Soon after, again coincidentally, we came across a book about Richard Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic domes. The dome idea suddenly clicked and we knew it would work...EcoCamp Patagonia was going ahead!"
    
What about EcoCamp  are you most proud of?
 
"I'm proud when I see guests really enjoying themselves at EcoCamp, soaking up the experience of chatting away with their guide in the Community Dome after dinner and then braving the fierce wind outside along the wooden walkway to make it back to their snug bedroom dome. 
 
I see the proof of EcoCamp's success in its guests' reaction. We haven't just built a sustainable hotel which is preserving the park's terrain and protecting flora & fauna, we've also built an unforgettable experience for all who stay. Seeing EcoCamp replicated in Chile and other countries over the last twelve years has also made us very proud and acts as further proof that the EcoCamp dome concept sells.”
 
For a full list of the winners click here