National Geographic has named Robert Pennicott – Tasmanian entrepreneur, philanthropist, adventurer and operator of multi-award winning attraction Pennicott Wilderness Journeys – a 2012 Traveler of the Year.
This is the inaugural year for the Travelers of the Year initiative, with honorees for 2012 recognised as "boundary breakers, who explore the world with passion and purpose, inspiring others to expand their horizons, ask big questions and seek new answers".
Ten awardees were scouted around the globe, measured on their achievement in conservation, adventure, humanitarianism and exploration.
Robert Pennicott is a local hero who helped to raise funds for conservation and polio eradication by leading the first circumnavigation of Australia by rubber dinghy.
"I am both thrilled and humbled that National Geographic has named me a Traveler of the
Year," said Robert Pennicott.
"I feel lucky to live on such an amazing island as Tasmania and to have the privilege of doing what I love every day. Living and working in Tassie is the true reward."
Robert is also noted for his other conservation and charity efforts, donating at least a quarter of net annual profits to causes and establishing the Tasmanian Coast Conservation Fund.
Money raised by the fund has been used by the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service to aid in coastal conservation projects, with the first project removing species on Tasman Island that were killing 50,000 breeding seabirds a year.
Tourism Tasmania's acting chief executive officer Adam Sproule said: "Robert has made it his mission to share the splendor of Tasmania’s coastal wilderness through his cruises, while creating a legacy for future generations by preserving the island he loves through various conservation projects.
"Rob is an incredibly genuine, considerate, 'down to earth', resourceful and passionate Tasmanian – an all-round great human being."
Robert will feature in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine, released in Australia on December 5.