2019 International Toilet Tourism Awards Open For Entry
We are now open to accept submissions from tourism destinations and businesses that want to wipe the floor with the competition.
After many years analysing tourism trends, the awards at MyTravelresearch.com aim to show tourism destinations that clean, creative, quirky public toilets go a long way to boosting a destination’s image and generating tourism dollars. People stop to spend a penny and end up spending more.
This year anyone can nominate a toilet.
In more exciting news, we are pleased to announce that The Continence Foundation of Australia is our new launch sponsor.
Listen to co-founder Carolyn Childs talk about the Toilet Tourism Awards here:
The 2019 awards will go to public and private toilets that support tourism in the following categories (7):
Best Economic Contributor - for when people stop at a toilet in a destination and stay on to spend more than a penny.
Best Location - where the toilets have views and maybe considered an attraction in themselves.
Best Design - architectural brilliance in toilets, visual design and creativity.
Quirkiest Toilet Experience - relating to local heritage, fun, or otherwise noteworthy.
Best Accessible Toilet - supporting the idea of Tourism for all.
Sanitation Progress - aimed at developing economy destinations that have made big steps in public toilet provision.
Strategic Commitment to Toilet Tourism - the destination or organisation that shows the best strategic commitment to toilet tourism
From these entries we will pick An Overall Winner and a People's Choice award.
Click on the toilet roll below to go to our entry form. Or click here.
17 June 2019 - Entries Open - perfect timing: it's World Continence Week
27 September 2019 - Entries Close on World Tourism Day
19 November 2019 - Winners Announced on World Toilet Day
The overall winner will receive a AU$2000 donation contributed to the World Toilet Organization for allocation to a sanitation project in a developing economy. The donation will be made in the name of the overall winner, who will also receive a copy of every MyTravelResearch.com research publication in 2018 (worth AU$8000), and access to tourism research events. Other category winners will receive the same, minus the donation to the World Toilet Organization.
No Entry Cost for Toilet Tourism Awards - and it's super easy
The 2019 International Toilet Tourism Awards are free to enter and this year ANYONE can nominate a toilet. Destinations or toilet owners simply fill out an online firm here and submit it before the closing date of 27 September 2019. Winners will be announced 19 November 2019.
A judging panel drawn from the tourism and toilet provision sectors will be announced shortly.
If you have any questions, please submit these to firstname.lastname@example.org
- A full list of the 2018 International Tourism Award Winners can be found here.
- A full list of 2017 International Toilet Tourism Award winners is here including video of Carolyn Childs explaining toilet tourism to Today Tonight on TV, and a good example from Western Australia.
- Images: a list of images of last year’s winners is here.
- Co-founder Bronwyn White on BBC TV World News on toilet tourism and sanitation issues here.
- Information about our new launch partner The Continence Foundation of Australia (and its award-winning Laugh without Leaking campaign) here. See why we partnered with them!
- Statistics about sanitation issues and World Toilet Day here.
- World Toilet Organization website
- World Toilet Day website has many statistics on sanitation in emerging economies
-- Carolyn Childs (mobile): (+61) 416 213 962; E: email@example.com
Best Design – The Saskatchewan Science Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The design for the newly refurbished 2nd floor restrooms was inspired by the boreal forests of northern Saskatchewan. There is floor to ceiling visuals of the deep forest and audio of birdsong and woodland sounds. Whole wall panels are covered in immersive images of the calming deep Canadian forest by award winning photographer Todd Mintz.
Judge’s comment: In judging this restroom, visual design scored very high. The loo is a fully immersive experience by vision and sound. The toilets inside the science centre are like stepping into another world where you can do your business amid the sights and sounds of nature – without having to worry about bears. Overall, really well thought through.
Best Economic Contributor – The Cummins Mosaic Loo, Cummins, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, Australia. The local community converted a bland red brick toilet block from the former railway station into a public loo with personality. Due to word of mouth, tourists now seek out the rest rooms, which feature statues, mosaics and paintings reflecting a more genteel bygone era from the early 20th century. Local businesses now benefit from passers by stopping to visit the old fashioned themed loos in the centre of town.
Judge’s comment: The way the Cummins community re-invented what was an old existing facility to bring it back to life in a new and quirky way was excellent. The public toilets in the town have become a tourist attraction in their own right, which shows smart thinking by the local community. Unlike some entries in the awards, Cummins has few visitors. They have therefore done a great job creating a ‘must-see’ attraction that generates income for local businesses.
Best Location – The Hotel La Jolla (A Curio Collection by Hilton), Shores Drive, La Jolla, California, USA. Sitting on the 11th floor overlooking La Jolla and the sea, the restroom offers a breathtaking view of the coastal urban village of La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean off San Diego.
Judge’s comment: Guests can enjoy absolutely stunning views of La Jolla and the Pacific from the rest rooms. Facing the coast, the large windows let in natural light which complement the restrained earth tone hues of the bathroom interior. The view from the loo connects visitors to the beautiful destination that surrounds them. Guests experience a wonderful vista bathed in constantly changing ocean light.
Best Accessible Toilet – Brisbane Airport, Queensland, Australia. Brisbane Airport’s upgraded accessible toilets have been designed to exceed accessibility legislation. Dedicated changing places facilities allow for specialised equipment such as an adult change table, hoist and a toilet with removable hand rails for people with severe disabilities. The spacious, flexible design makes travel accessible to thousands of people with disabilities and their carers, many of whom were previously deterred from travelling. Sophisticated digital reporting ensures constant cleanliness. Brisbane Airport even has an indoor loo for guide dogs that travel with people with disabilities.
Judge’s comment: Brisbane Airport’s accessible loos have set a new standard in enabling accessible travel. Their whole approach has empowered travellers with disabilities and made it much easier for them and their carers to meet their needs with dignity and comfort. The loos for guide dogs also show that Brisbane Airport cares and taken a holistic approach to accessible travel.
Quirkiest Experience – Bowl Plaza, Lucas, Kansas, USA. Bowl Plaza is a public restroom with bling! The restrooms, which took four years to build, are now a major attraction in Lucas, the small town grassroots arts capital of Kansas. The bathroom’s walls are covered inside and out with detailed mosaics created by local residents and artists. The entire building is shaped like a toilet tank. The entrance is designed like a raised toilet lid with benches that represent the curved toilet seat. The sidewalk to the loos flows from a large concrete toilet roll. Plaza Bowl is now very popular with residents and tourists and has its own guest register.
Judge’s comment: The Plaza Bowl public toilet shows great community involvement that reflects Lucas town's well-earned reputation as a leading grassroots arts destination. The walls are covered with shards of porcelain, commemorative plates, kids’ action figures, toy cars, face masks and effigies. The whole space is a quirky altar to creativity run riot. Kids and adults love it. Bowl Plaza is now a major attraction in itself.
Overall Winner – The James Bond Loos at Piz Gloria, Murren, Switzerland Located at 2970m at the top of Mt Schilthorn in Switzerland, the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant and visitor centre has embraced a James Bond theme since the location was used as Blofeld’s Lair during filming of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Refurbished in 2017, the toilet experience now has James Bond audiovisual effects: Bond girl Diana Rigg appears in the mirror when men wash their hands. There’s a sign for men in the toilets saying, “Shake, don’t stir” and “Aim like James.” The ladies’ loo has music and a shot ringing out as an image of James Bond appears in the mirror beside a bullet hole. In the ladies restroom there’s an audio of Bond saying, “Tonight, my place – just the two of us.”
Judge’s comment: Apart from the wonderful scenery at Mt Schilthorn, the James Bond loos are also now a fun reason to go. The toilets have immortalised James Bond and added a surprising humorous element to sightseeing in the one of the most dramatic locations in Europe.
2017 Inaugural Toilet Tourism Winners
(Centre) Overall winner Toowoomba Portable Toilets; basking crocodile under the cliffhanger loo (top right) at Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territories, Australia; (and clockwise from there) Arthurs Seat accessible toilet in Victoria; Outhouse race in Wisconsin; loo at Kathleen Buzzacott Art Studio Central Australia; Hahei Holiday Resort toilet entrance in New Zealand; (and below the crocodile), the Southern Highlands Welcome Centre’s informative loos in New South Wales.
Toilet tourism can really create bigger impact towards the overall experience of the tourists in a certain destination. Great loos in tourism destinations become talking points, encourage repeat visits and can be a positive indicator of how the host community respects tourists. When visitors stop to spend a penny, they usually spend more than that and end up boosting the local visitor economy and creating jobs.
Those are the findings based on research by Carolyn Childs and Bronwyn White, co-founders of MyTravelResearch.com. The duo organized the inaugural 2017 International Toilet Tourism Awards to show the clear link between toilets and tourism success.
In 2017 there were 30 entries from around the world – including a place where you can ‘do the business’ overlooking a creek with crocodiles and an art studio where guests pull up chairs to admire the toilet doors.
The winning tourism toilets across all six categories in 2017 were:
Best Economic Contributor – The Loos at the Southern Highlands Welcome Centre (the former Mittagong Visitor Information Centre), Main St, Mittagong, NSW, Australia. Refurbished in late 2015, the makeover at the Southern Highlands Visitor Centre loos included flowers, posters, audio reel, and quirky fact stickers and free Wi-Fi. Since then, visitation to the centre increased from 60,000 to 72,000 2015/16. Local product sales in the SHWC have risen 19%. Regional visitor expenditure has increased from $250m to $261m. Visitor expenditure contribution to the region has helped sustain 2500 jobs (up 9%). And the loos and the centre have achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 93%.
Judge’s comment: “Despite a very small decorating budget for the toilets, the SHWC has been wonderfully innovative with their colourful, fun and informative loos concept. And this shows in the direct and indirect economic returns when visitors stop to spend a penny and then see what’s available locally.”
Best Location – Cliffhanger Loo with a View, overlooking the sea, Cobourg Peninsula, Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, Northern Territories, Australia. The loo is on a cliff overlooking the pristine beach and waters of the Cobourg Marine Park. In the privacy of the toilet the occupant can marvel at the lagoon water ten metres below where crocodiles bask on the sand and reef sharks hunt for prey. The WC is waterless, odourless and converts fresh waste into organic humus. A guest said: “It’s like watching a National Geographic documentary while sitting on the loo.”
Judge’s comment: “Cheeky, audacious, simple and environmentally sound, the cliffhanger loo has capitalized on its location perfectly and has become an attraction in itself.”
Best Design (Joint Winner): Hahei Holiday Resort, Coromandel, New Zealand. The new toilet and shower block here is part of a glamping backpacker lodge designed to personify eco beachfront coast chic using as much reused and carbon friendly products as possible. Easy access ramps with sensor lighting and native plants in an atrium lead to oversize showers and loos. The conveniences have light opaque roofing for natural light, open trusses and external gable ventilation, with plenty of recycled native timber featured, including LED lights in old beer bottles and ceramic sinks from a hospital.
Judge’s comment: “The beautiful approach to the toilet and shower block and the light and airy design using local products has made the loos at Hahei Holiday Resort an exemplary lesson in design.”
Best Design (Joint Winner): The Kathleen Buzzacott Art Studio, Alice Springs, Central Australia, Australia. Built in 2016, the loos were added for the convenience of tourists visiting Kathleen’s studio. Kathleen painted the loos, and her husband is a traditional owner of the land. The beautiful toilets complement the stunning landscape and highlight the connection to native heritage and culture through the story-telling toilet doors, which feature indigenous central desert dot paintings.
Judge’s comment: “Unpretentious, simple and elegant. The design of these toilets perfectly complements the existing artist studio. A harmonious balance of architectural design and artistic creativity has produced this visually spectacular work of art. The building is an extension of the artist’s creative space. People pull up chairs to sit and admire the toilet doors, which tell their own Aboriginal stories.”
Quirkiest Toilet Experience – Dunnies with a Difference, the Toowoomba Portable Toilets, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. The ‘people with the orange toilets’ design and manufacture public toilets for events. Most notable is their prestige range – Dunnies with a Difference – which includes the Rustic Cottage, the London Telephone Box, Brighton Beach House, and the VIP unit. Each one includes hand sanitation, hand wash and sunscreen stations.
Judge’s comment: “The Dunnies with a Difference range transform toilets from something you hide at outdoor events into wonderful quirky attractions that add real value because they are so pretty, functional, hygienic and mobile.”
Toowoomba Portable Toilets are also the overall winners in the awards. MyTravelResearch.com will donate $2000 to UN Toilet Day on their behalf.
Best Accessible Toilet – Arthurs Seat Public Toilet, Arthurs Seat Park, Victoria, Australia, run by Parks Victoria. Opened in January 2017, the toilet amenities building has been thoughtfully designed to meet the toileting needs of a diverse range of visitors to Arthurs Seat State Park such as tourists with disabilities, mobility limitations, visitors with young children, older people and tourists from culturally diverse backgrounds (e.g. there’s an Asian squat toilet).
Judge’s comment: “Beautifully designed; thoroughly functional, modern and inclusive; a highly impressive addition to the destination experience. I have never seen anything quite like this accessible toilet. It’s a gold star, best practice example.”
Special mention – Wisconsin Department of Tourism, USA. Wisconsin offers tourists a trio of toileting triumphs. Each 4th of July weekend at the Perkinstown Outhouse Challenge competitors race 4x4ft specially decorated outhouses round an obstacle course. It’s a race with a toilet, not to a toilet. The female bathrooms at the SafeHouse Bar & Restaurant in Milwaukee feature a portrait of a very exposed (and young) Burt Reynolds with a strategically placed red heart. If any of the ladies try to take a peek behind the heart a siren goes off alerting the whole restaurant as to who’s been inquisitive. Then there’s the ‘great wall of China’, a two-story wall made of 177 toilets stacked floor to ceiling in the Kohler Design Center, which attracts 150,000 tourists, builders and architects to its ‘Disney world of plumbing’ each year.
Judge’s comment: “Wisconsin is a destination that celebrates the power of the WC as a tourism attraction. We love the Perkinstown Outhouse Challenge with its Prettiest Potty award and TP Toss and Plunger Relay, all of which raises funds for a local recreation club.”
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The #ToiletTourism Awards are sponsored and made possible with our friends:
Our launch partner
She also runs a well respected seniors travel blog, http://www.newyoungtravel.com.au.
Bronwyn is also the published author of Seniors Travel Tips, a global travel guide for seniors.