I have never regretted missing a conference more than this past weekend’s Travel Bloggers Exchange TBEX in Toronto. At the conference for Travel Writer and Travel Bloggers, Travel & Leisure Magazine’s Executive Digital Editor, Rich Beattie announced the winner of the Travel & Leisure Magazine SMITTY Awards.
What are the SMITTYs? They are Travel & Leisure Magazine’s Social Media In Travel & Tourism Awards. This year a new category for Best Use of Social Media by an Independent Travel Journalist/Blogger was added to the awards.
VeryGoodPoints was nominated for the work I did in getting the Westin Hotel Macau to remove Shark Fin Soup from its menu. Beattie recognized this blog during his presentation for unique ideas and uses of a blog to impact social change.
Last year when I learned that the Westin Macau was still serving Shark Fin Soup I began tweeting and writing about the practice. The hotel’s general manager responded and promised change. They immediately took the item off the menu and said that when the new executive chef came on board he would make sure the new menu didn’t include it. They have in fact stood by that.
Shark Fining is an unsustainable practice that has been outlawed at official Chinese State events and throughout many parts of the world, however, it continues as consumers still pay large amounts of money for this soup. You can learn more about Shark Fining from the nonprofit, Stop Shark Fining
While I didn’t win this year’s award, it’s such an honor to be recognized by Travel & Leisure for my efforts. I’m also thrilled to have been listed with such amazing bloggers and writers. You can bet that VGP has something in the works already that will be submitted for the 2014 SMITTY awards. Congratulations to everyone!
The award went to:
BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY AN INDEPENDENT TRAVEL JOURNALIST/BLOGGER
For the past six years, Gary Arndt has been blogging his travel stories and sharing photos via social media—quite a job to keep up with, considering he’s been to more than 100 countries and seven continents since 2007. The goal of Everything Everywhere is to create a community where travelers can share tips and experiences, with Gary often crowdsourcing information on where to stay and what to eat around the world.