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21 Sep, 2017

US$4,000 prize money for first global essay competition linking Travel & Tourism to UN Sustainable Development Goals

Bangkok – Today, Sept 21 2017, Travel Impact Newswire marks the United Nations International Day of Peace by launching an essay competition on how Travel & Tourism can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Olive Tree Awards essay competition is claimed to be the first of its kind in the global Travel & Tourism industry.

Young people under 30 all over the world are invited to submit essays of up to 1,200 words on how Travel & Tourism can advance the cause of the UN SDGs and meet the targets by 2030.

The competition will be held every six months, or two rounds a year. Each round will see the winners being awarded one first prize of US$1,000 and two runners up of US$500.

The total annual prize money of US$4,000 is being generously donated by two individuals: Mr. Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Commercial and Creative Lead, Soneva Resorts, winner of multiple Awards for Sustainability and Lifestyle Travel, and one other prominent benefactor from the Islamic world.

The winners of each round will be announced on 20 March marking the International Day of Happiness, and on 21 Sept, marking the International Day of Peace.

Submission criteria

Writers must be aged under 30 at the date of submission (ID proof of age will be required). It is not necessary for writers to be employees or students of the Travel & Tourism industry. Anyone can submit an essay, but there must be a Travel & Tourism angle.

Essays must be written in English, upto a maximum length of 1,200 words.

Tips and Guidance for Writers

1) Study the SDGs carefully (click here);

2) Think deeply about any aspect of Travel & Tourism which is relevant to the SDGs;

3) Download the The Olive Tree publications to access thought-prompting ideas (click here);

4) Pen an essay presenting a good idea, venting a powerful frustration, or sharing a passion, experience or event.

Don’t feel held back. Let your creativity, and your conscience, be your guide.

Suggested themes

What can young people do to advance the SDG cause?

How private companies and government agencies can mainstream the SDGs into their projects, plans, events and activities.

Controversial themes which challenge conventional wisdoms and go against the grain are particularly welcome (click here for ideas in this genre).

Look beyond environmental issues. Essays on good governance, anti-corruption, transparency, accountability, human rights, universal values, etc., are all welcome.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Although all essays must be in English, they will be judged on the quality of the ideas, NOT the quality of the English.


The deadline for the first round of submissions is December 31, 2017. Winners will be notified by March 15, 2018. The winning essays will also be published on the Travel Impact Newswire website.

Send all essays along with proof of age and a short personal biodata to Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire at this email address: imtiazamuqbil@gmail.com


The seven judges have been carefully balanced to include three Millennials and four women:

Ms Wong Peng Jun, aged 30, Sales and Marketing Manager, Frangipani Resort Langkawi, Malaysia.

Mr. Dmitri Cooray, aged 25, Manager Operations, Jetwing Hotels, Sri Lanka.

Mrs Sana Muqbil Shamsi, aged 31, former Franchise Owner, Escape Hunt, Hyderabad, India.

Mr. Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Commercial and Creative Lead, Soneva Resorts.

Mr. Mario Hardy, CEO, Pacific Asia Travel Association.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Policy and Planning, Tourism Authority of Thailand,

Mrs Naphalai Areesorn, Executive Editor, Thailand Tatler.

Ms Punam Mohandas, journalist and lecturer at Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand.

For inquiries and further info, pls email: imtiaz@travel-impact-newswire.com