2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award Winner: Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator of 2012
LooLa Adventure, located on Bintan Island in Indonesia near the Singapore coast, is a eco-haven for fun-loving adventure seekers. Since opening in 2000, LooLa has championed the benefits of a resort built from local materials and with local staff. In fact, LooLa’s inspirational commitment to employing local staff means that 100% of the team are from the immediate area, transforming lives through employment generation, training and related community action.
A majority of LooLa’s business derives from educational school packages, and children benefit from engaging in a host of community development projects that are really making a difference. As well as thrill-seeking activities like rock climbing or kayaking, students have contributed to such projects as cementing village trails, (fruit) tree planting, building sports pitches for orphanages and local villages, and building beds for elderly residents. These are projects that have been requested by local people, and joint monitoring by LooLa and the village community ensures that everyone in the local vicinity benefits.
In addition to exceptional efforts made to ensure tourism is a force for good for local people and livelihoods, LooLa is also very committed to reducing their environmental impact. They have boldly refused to install air-conditioning to reduce energy guzzling consumption; use a natural sea water pool and use locally available materials for construction to reduce on transportation and to invest in the local economy.
Why Wild Asia loved this Winner
Our favourite concept!
Community Engagement – Every family in the neighbouring area has been listed in LooLa’s community action plan. For every project delivered by LooLa’s staff or guests, this is recorded. This ensures that everyone benefits and equally. Their efforts to work with the community aren’t just for show, but projects that really make a difference and activities that are in demand by the local people themselves. Truly committed to supporting local people, LooLa is covering the cost of supplying mosquito nets to the neighboring village community, and has set up a public-private partnership so that villagers have easy and affordable access to hospital treatments.
- HRM Management – A 100% local staff force benefit from a transparent bonus scheme, peer mentoring, capacity building training and a salary that is on average twice the local wage. Also, uniquely, the LooLa staff runs their own shop and drinks business on site for the direct benefit of the staff fund.
- Fundraising – In 2011 alone, 90% of visitors took part in donating funds for important local projects and raised $70,000 to community development projects in which they subsequently participated themselves
- Environment – Bold moves to educate guests about the need to conserve resources, the resort has no hot showers nor air conditioning to save energy. They also use chemical free mosquito control and use a ‘no plastic water bottle’ policy
- Cultural Commitments – In order to ensure that life isn’t all work and no play, LooLa recognises the significance of cultural dates in the calendar and closes entirely for the benefit of local staff during events like Hari Raya
- Future Plans – LooLa is expanding while ensuring it is done in the most sensitive of ways. New bungalows will all have their own solar energy and generate more locally sourced jobs. They will also levy ‘eco surcharges’ for those wanting to use more water or energy!
What did the Judges have to say?
“An all-round highly believable product”
“All-rounder that has excelled in all the subcategories under the most inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator”
“Loola’s story is convincing & homegrown”