At a ceremony in Las Vegas, in the US, last week, iSimangaliso, formerly the Greater StLucia Wetland Park, was one of three finalists in the stewardship category of the Tourism for Tomorrow awards.
The award recognises dedication and success in sustainable tourism management, and in delivering social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits in consultation with the surrounding community.
KwaZulu-Natal Tourism yesterday applauded the iSimangaliso Wetland Park for putting the province on the map.
The tourism body's spokesman, Ndabo Khoza, said the park's global recognition will help it sustain its community programmes.
"It will help us fulfil our mandate for economic development by attracting more investors to the area, which will create more jobs for the people in the surrounding areas, said Khoza.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park , the country's first World Heritage site, was established in 2000 through the World Heritage Convention Act.
Park CEO Andrew Zaloumis said the park created 3500 jobs a year, gave bursaries for biodiversity-related courses, and funded 80 small businesses.