A Finchley-based tour operator which has helped raise more than £50 million for 1,800 charities has been honoured with a World Tourism Award this week.
Charity Challenge, co-founded by north London entrepreneur Simon Albert, was recognised for “for creating, managing, and delivering international fundraising expeditions across six continents and 38 countries”, inspiring tens of thousands of people to take on travel challenges to raise money for charity.
The company, inspired by the 45-year-old’s own travel challenges – from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to trekking in the Himalayas and diving with sharks in Fiji – has been running for almost 20 years, with a second branch opening in Toronto in 2012.
Its projects have involved helping those affected by the Asian tsunami as well as building houses for vulnerable children in South Africa.
Charity Challenge also works with a string of Jewish charities, with some exclusive events for Jewish organisations such as Chai Cancer Care, British Friends of Shalva, UJIA and Emunah.
The company, which employs 16 staff in its UK & Canadian offices and more in local communities, has also worked with Comic Relief, organising the BT Red Nose Day Kilimanjaro Climb for celebrities including Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole, raising £3.35 million.
Albert, a father of three, said: “Each year we get to help amazing people to achieve ambitious personal goals, whilst raising millions of pounds for worthwhile causes that are making a real positive impact on the world.
“It’s an exciting job to do, and an incredibly fulfilling company to work for, and to be recognised by the World Tourism Awards for nearly two decades of fundraising challenges is an incredible honour and the icing on the cake!”
The company is about to launch a new global challenge programme with Stand Up To Cancer that aims to raise around £15 million a year, while there are plans to add new destinations for 2018 including Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Kyrgyzstan, and Croatia.
The company received the honour as part of the 20th World Tourism Awards, alongside H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, who was given an award for visionary leadership, as well as Micato Safaris-AmericaShare honoured for sustainable tourism.