Victoria cruise company wins international marine tourism award

Maple Leaf Adventures honoured by Responsible Tourism Awards in London

The Victoria-based sailing cruise company Maple Leaf Adventures has taken one of the world’s three top awards for marine environment tourism.

Specializing in taking explorers on cruises of the Pacific Northwest, it won the award at the recent 2011 Responsible Tourism Awards in London, UK.

Maple Leaf was selected from thousands of nominations worldwide.

The international awards recognize tour operators that preserve, respect and benefit their destinations’ cultures, communities and biodiversity and, in the process, inspire positive change in the tourism industry.

Maple Leaf, which has offered natural and cultural history cruises aboard a classic tall ship since 1986, donates one per cent of all cruise revenues to conservation projects.

A co-founder of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of B.C. that promotes and teaches responsible bear viewing practices, the company also hosts naturalists and environmental researchers to teach customers about coastal and ocean ecosystems.

“Ever since Maple Leaf first set sail it’s been important to set an example of tourism with a complete commitment to social and environmental sustainability,” said Kevin Smith, company president.

Editors of National Geographic Adventure rank Maple Leaf as one of the best adventure travel companies on the planet.