Six toilets popular with tourists around the world have officially been crowned and are ascending their thrones for 2018. The 2018 International Toilet Tourism Award winners are announced.
Winners include a James Bond-themed loo on a mountaintop, a toilet that makes you feel you’re in a forest, and an airport where guide dogs can poop indoors in comfort.
Submissions were received from tourism destinations across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The toilets were judged for their design, quirkiness, location, accessibility, and economic contribution to their locality.
The International Toilet Tourism Awards, now in their second year, were created by MyTravelResearch.com, which aims to show the close link between innovative, clean toilets with great design and a successful local tourism economy – the trickle-down effect.
The winning tourism toilets from around the world across all six categories announced today are:
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 are 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 center 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 restrooms, 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 restrooms in the center 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 – 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 restrooms. Facing the coast, the large windows let in natural light which complements 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.
Also Highly Commended in the Best Location category are the colorful loos at the Lupton Park community garden in Maryborough, Queensland.
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 specialized equipment such as an adult change table, hoist and a toilet with removable handrails 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 traveling. 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 travelers 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 takes 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. Bowl Plaza is now very popular with residents and tourists and has its own guest register.
Judge’s comment: The Bowl Plaza 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.
Also Highly Commended in the Quirkiest Experience category is the rather exposed Dump Point outdoor toilet bowl at Trangie in the Orana region of New South Wales, Australia.
Overall Winner and Category Winner for Overall Contribution to Toilet Tourism – 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 center has embraced a James Bond theme since the location was used as Blofeld’s Lair during the 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 bathrooms are also now a fun reason to go. The toilets have immortalized James Bond and added a surprising humorous element to sightseeing in one of the most dramatic locations in Europe.
Meet the Creators and Judges of the International Toilet Tourism Awards
In its 2nd year, the 2018 International Toilet Tourism Awards attracted 30 entries across the five categories from four continents. Global online nominations were open from 14 February to 1 May 2018.
The 2018 International Toilet Tourism Awards were created by Carolyn Childs and Bronwyn White, co-founders of MyTravelResearch.com. Carolyn and Bronwyn have conducted focus group research on the impact of public toilets in tourism destinations.
Judging was carried out by Clare Whelan Project Manager ITTA for MyTravelResearch.com, Ken Scott of ScottAsia Communications, Chris Flynn of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Bill Forrester of Travability, Chris Veitch (International Accessible Tourism Consultant), Mark Wilson of Wisdom (Design Sponsor of the Awards), Sue Hodges of SHP, Giovanna Lever of Sparrowly Group, Steve Rosa of Southern Highlands Tourism (ITTA 2017 Best Economic Contributor Award), Jodie Teaken of Qantas, and Dick Teaken (Chairman of Judges and author of an upcoming book on toilets).
Prizes: The overall winner (The James Bond-themed toilets at Piz Gloria, Murren, Switzerland) will receive an AU$2000 donation contributed to World Toilet Day in their name and 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 World Toilet Day.