The difference our Awards have made...
Marc Van Loo, founder of 2012 Winner of Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator, LooLa Adventure in Indonesia shares with us just how they have benefited from receiving international recognition through our Awards.
Pictured: Marc Van Loo
1. What partnerships have you made through our Awards?
We’ve been exploring the idea of creating a Wiki portal for tourism operators to share best practice. Through the awards, we got in touch with Geoffrey Lipman (Secretary General of UNWTO and past President of the WTTC) and together have been in touch with Wikipedia. Their CEO got personally involved and we received assurances of dedicated support.
Most recently we are busy designing three new Eco villas that support local employment and are resource efficient. As well as a team of fantastic experts we’ve engaged with this work, past Award winners Sarinbuana (Bali) are also helping to support this project (Norm is designing villas as we speak!).
The award gave our international credibility an enormous boost and was instrumental in opening all these doors for us.
Significantly, the Wild Asia award led to an invitation from WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow awards (2013) to apply, and we’re now one of three finalists in the Community Benefits category, further enhancing our credibility.
2. How has the Award made a difference to your destination?
The local government has always liked what we do and is very proud of our achievements. They are very happy to see that what they liked about us, is also recognised independently and internationally.
Most of all, the Award has done miracles for empowering our staff.
It has hit them: we are no longer a bunch of villagers in a remote place in Indonesia, we compete at the world stage, and we’re going to show that we can retain and enhance that position. Motivation has never been this high. The Wild Asia checklists have done wonders for pushing certain not-so-popular items like waste (water) management to the front.
3. Has the Award provided a platform to improve your responsible tourism communications?
The award enabled us to get an appointment with some of the highest officers in Singapore within STB (Singapore Tourism Board), which is very nice.
For internal purposes, it has been great. Now we can always refer back to the application forms, and all our staff now accepts that this stuff is very important.
4. Has the Award application improved your systems/identified areas to improve?
Absolutely. The process allowed us to identify the management of waste water and water supply were some of our areas that could be improved.
We’re currently working with an architect who has just completed an initial design for (waste and rain) water, and is working together with experts for waste water integration.
We also wanted to improve our energy efficiency. Electricity is now being completely overhauled. At first I thought that this was not possible – but now it turns out that we are able to have air-con in our new villas in a eco-sensitive way, not using ANY batteries and only using solar power! It’s all very exciting!
5. In what way has Wild Asia as an organisation supported your business?
Wild Asia has always been ready to answer any question if they were in a position to do so, by generously and sharing relevant contacts in their network without any clear benefits for themselves except creating goodwill.
Really, absolutely tops.