This year's judging panel are some of the leading lights of the travel world. Combined, they have a huge level of experience and expertise, especially around responsible and sustainable travel.
As an environmental scientist by profession, Salli has spent the past 15 years working to implement sustainable principles across a variety of industry sectors both in Australia and the UK.
Starting her career as an ecologist and Aboriginal liaison officer in rural and remote Australia, it quickly became apparent that environmental and social issues went hand in hand and Salli's focus moved to working practically with companies to recognise and address the social and environmental impacts of their activities. This was achieved by working in a variety of different areas of expertise including land management, impact assessment, environmental management systems, auditing and sustainability reporting. These skills were combined to achieve the goal of working with business leaders to develop measurable strategies to result in long term, positive change to the way in which companies operate. Now as Head of Programmes at the Travel Foundation, Salli is looking to apply her practical experience to support the travel industry to a achieve similar goal - responsible tourism.
Sören is the Commercial Director for the ABTA-owned sustainability certification scheme Travelife and joined the organisation in 2011. He is a sustainability professional with work experience in Germany, France and the UK - both within and outside the travel industry.
He began his career in sustainability at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment followed by group communications and social affairs positions in Germany's retail/mail order group KarstadtQuelle AG. From there he moved into tourism and to the UK to join Thomas Cook Group PLC.
His experience at Thomas Cook includes Group Sustainability Manager and Interim Head of Sustainability. Sören holds a BA in Philosophy & Economics from Bayreuth University in Germany and MSt in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Cambridge. Sören is also a qualified Travelife auditor and a BSI / ISO principal expert for tourism services.
For some thirteen years he worked as a tour leader, taking groups across the Sahara and overland through Africa, on trans-continental journeys from London to Kathmandu, led groups across South America from Lima in Peru to Rio in Brazil, and travelled or escorted groups in over a hundred countries.
In 1981 he co-founded Explore Worldwide, and was Operations Director for over 20 years as Explore became arguably the world's largest adventure tour operator. After selling Explore in 2000 he remains with the company as an associate Director, having over 35 years experience of leading and organising group travel.
Currently Chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators - AITO - he has unrivalled experience of organising adventure and activity-based group tours.
Mark is a passionate adventure traveller whose career in the travel industry has spanned over 30 years. Following a university degree in Marketing, he spent two years roaming the globe, six months of this in South East Asia where he experienced Thailand at grass-roots level in the eighties. On his return Mark worked for Explore Worldwide for ten years and then started The Adventure Company, which became one of the UK's most successful tour operators. During this time, he developed responsible travel practices across the company, auditing and scoring every holiday against sustainability criteria and constantly improving practices throughout the supply chain, as well as running litter clean-up projects in remote regions.
In 2008 he founded Chameleon Worldwide, a collection of niche travel brands comprising walking and adventure holidays, family adventures, school expeditions and tailor-made travel experiences. The company's mission is to encourage people to get active and experience nature.
Having co-founded Wanderlust magazine in 1993, Lyn is now Editor-in-chief and managing director of Wanderlust Travel Media.
A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Lyn is still a writer and photographer in her own right. She is regularly consulted by tourist boards and governments on travel-related issues, especially regarding ethical tourism. She sits on several committees, including LATA (the Latin American Travel Association), VJC (the Visit Japan Committee) and IPN (the Independent Publishers' Network).
Lyn strongly believes in tourism as a force for good, benefiting local communities, wildlife and the natural world.