Responsible Tourism Event Speakers 2015

For the Responsible Tourism Events at ITB Asia this year, we continue to bring you the best and most relevant speakers that can inspire and change the way you think about travel. Responsible Tourism is not just a label, it is essentially the way we do business and the way we experience the world. Our speakers have been handpicked because of their leadership, experience, knowledge and passion to make the world a better place via tourism. And we are proud to introduce you to them…

2015 Responsible Tourism Event Speakers

Event Facilitator: Deborah Chan, Responsible Tourism Associate Specialist, Wild Asia

Deborah Chan_Ardent Traveler_2014A storyteller at heart, Deborah’s deep incessant passion for travel had her stumbling into the world of sustainable tourism by chance. As an associate specialist with Wild Asia, she has assessed more than 80 sustainable tourism award applications, visited over 40 sustainable tourism operators across Asia and provided advisory support and trained numerous tourism establishments. Her personal and professional experience in community development in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia has afforded her priceless lessons in strategic development and people management. Her varied skills allows for great versatility in understanding sustainability issues and adapting to different industries, destinations and people groups.

She believes that the only way tourism can become sustainable is if operators assume the responsibility of being leaders in their own destinations; sharing lessons learnt and providing support from within the industry. This is the reason why she continues to facilitate these responsible tourism events, since 2010.

Lanjia_Lodge_Photo for WildAsiaChananya Phataraprasit, Founder, Asian Oasis Travel

Chananya Phataraprasit is always driven by a passion to protect and improve local culture and the environment. She built eco lodges in the remote hill tribe villages in northern Thailand. She wanted a place where visitors could learn about local culture directly from local people. She also wanted these villages to earn income directly from tourism. She set up Asian Oasis Travel with the aim of creating unique travel offerings for travellers looking for meaningful and authentic experiences. Today her company operates its own community-based lodges in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and cruises in Bangkok and Phuket.


Gede OriGede Ori Ariandika, General Manager, Ecolodges Indonesia

Born in Bali, Gede Ori Ariandika, has been working with Ecolodges Indonesia for 15 years. He actively participated in developing the internal ecological activities including the company “ Eco certification System”. Gedi has progressed through the company, becoming a member of the Management Board in 2003, and now, on the Board of Directors of Ecolodges Indonesia including the associated company, EcoSafaris Indonesia. This is Gede Ori’s first attendance at ITB Asia.


Gray 2012Graham Harper, Director of Educational and Responsible Travel, Buffalo Tours

Graham is Director of Educational and Responsible Travel, Buffalo Tours, one of the largest travel providers in Asia. After 12 years teaching, and a Masters in Environmental and Development Education, he left the classroom in 2000 to join Mekong Institute. As Training and Research Manager he supported development projects throughout the Mekong River region. Wanting more of a sustainable, grassroots approach, Graham joined the private sector in 2007 as a social entrepreneur. He now leads Buffalo’s team of “community change-makers” creating unique educational and responsible travel projects and opportunities in all our destination countries. Find out more on Educational Travel Asia by Buffalo Tours

Photo Hanna MaierHanna Maier, Junior Advisor, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Ms. Hanna Maier is working as a Junior Adviser in Bangkok for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) funded by the Federal Republic of Germany. Having a background in both tourism and disaster risk management with experience in Asia and Latin America, Ms. Maier is coordinating the Hotel Resilient Initiative that is led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and GIZ/GIDRM to promote disaster resilient tourism development in the Asia Pacific region.


Luo Peng Luo Peng, Founder, Eco Action

Luo Peng, EcoAction’s Founder and Chair, passionate Sichuan-er, Ya’an girl in China, comes from a biology and environmental science background. She graduated from the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, majoring in Ornithology and Ecology. After graduation, she worked for an environment NGO on environmental education for three years. Both research and NGO experiences have given her important insights for how to integrate resources to achieve better conservation and environmental education. Rethinking the interaction with the Chinese environment can help achieve this. As a result, EcoAction was born.
As a two years old company, EcoAction is China’s ecotourism pioneer. We are full of passionate people with background in biology, environment protection and education. We design a series of authentic, memorable, unique and professional travel/volunteering activities which WELCOME, INVOLVE and SATISFY travelers, ENGAGE and BENEFIT host community, so as to PROTECT and ENHANCE the local Environment and Culture. We envisage that throughout our professional efforts in every corner, more and more people learn about nature, appreciate nature and act positively to protect the nature.

MLaririt_photoMariglo Laririt, Director of Environment and Sustainability, El Nido Resorts

Mariglo Laririt is the Director of Environment and Sustainability of Ten Knots Development Corporation’s El Nido Resorts. A cluster of island resorts in the Northern tip of the province of Palawan, Philippines, El Nido Resorts have been at the forefront of responsible tourism in the region for close to two decades now. The Resorts, located in areas of high marine biodiversity, blend meaningful nature-based activities and conservation with a measure of luxury. Over the years, El Nido Resorts have received international recognition for their efforts, such as from Pacific Asia Travel Association for Environmental Education and the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow for Community Benefit.

takayama_33Masaru Takayama, Founding Chair, Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN)

Masaru Takayama founded Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA), to promote ecotourism and ecolodge uniting responsible tourism and green buildings in Japan. The environmentally-friendly accommodations standard developed by ECOLA is fully recognized by Global Sustainable Tourism Council to bottom up the industry standards in the Japanese marketplace. Working as a global community-based ecotourism consultant, ecolodge advisor, and responsible tour operator ‘Spirit of Japan Travel’ in Kyoto, Masaru serves a number of key positions in the organizations both home and abroad pertinent to ecotourism and protected areas. – Founding Chair, Asian Ecotourism Network. Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013, 2014, 2015 Judge, World Travel and Tourism Council.

photo Nico2Nicolas Dubrocard, Associate Advisor, Wild Asia

Nicolas Dubrocard has been working on sustainability issues with hotels for the past decade. He has been the International Director of Green Key, an international eco-label implemented in 40+ countries, and prior to that he managed the Every Drop Counts Programme for the Travel Foundation in Morocco. Nicolas’s knowledge of sustainability management is further strengthened through his work auditing more than 100 eco-hotels in 25 countries. Based in Bangkok since 2013 he adapted Kuoni Water Management manual and tools for use in the Thai context, in addition to implementing the project in Thailand for partnering hotels. Most recently he moved to Malaysia and joined Wild Asia team.

Paul EshooPaul Eshoo, Regional Conservation Enterprise Advisor, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

Paul was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal stationed in Langtang National Park. He later moved to Lao PDR to develop community-based ecotourism with UNESCO, WWF, WCS, and other organizations, as well as projects in Cambodia, Vietnam and Sierra Leone. Paul has worked with WCS as the coordinator for the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area Management and Tiger Conservation Project and is now regional ecotourism advisor working in Lao and Myanmar.


Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 6.08.28 PMRob Holmes, Chief Storyteller, GLP Films

Rob Holmes is the Founder and Chief Storyteller of GLP Films, an award-winning production and distribution company focused on authentic storytelling to promote global sustainability.  GLP Films partners with top-tier tourism organizations to produce and distribute content that supports sales, marketing, and development campaigns.  Through the popular Destination Storytelling Initiative (DSI), GLP Films showcases the best sustainable tourism destinations around the globe.  Rob Holmes has extensive experience in sustainable tourism and conservation issues, and continues to carve out a leadership role as an advocate for sustainable tourism in the travel industry. Rob has a diverse background in multimedia production, storytelling, tourism, conservation, marketing, and entrepreneurship. In his work with GLP Films, Rob has spearheaded partnerships with recognized global brands, including National Geographic, Columbia Sportswear, leading NGOs and Think Tanks, international tourism boards, and numerous media and publication networks.  Prior to GLP, Rob built, managed, and sold leading adventure travel and outdoor company  An award-winning photographer, Rob has worked, studied, and traveled across 80+ countries. In-line with his passion for the future of sustainable tourism, Rob is a proponent for wildlife conservation, with a BA in Wildlife Management and Conservation Biology from Hobart College.  Rob also holds an MBA from University of Washington in International Business, Marketing and Environmental Management. You can connect with Rob via Twitter at @robertbholmes.

IMG_0162Shannon Stowell, President, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)

Under Shannon’s leadership as president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the organization has grown into the largest international association of adventure travel companies with more than 800 members world-wide. His 20+ years of business experience, connections, marketing insight, environmental science education, vision and passion for adventure travel have prepared him well to serve the organization. He’s co-authored a National Geographic-published book and is a frequent speaker and consultant for destinations and businesses around the world on adventure tourism. Shannon’s vision is to propel our global community of adventure companies and clients into thriving advocates that move tourism at large towards sustainability and poverty alleviation

StevenoakesSteve Noakes, Director, Ecolodges Indonesia

Steve Noakes is a part-owner of Ecolodges Indonesia and EcoSafaris Indonesia. He has been a leading advocate and practitioner for responsible tourism approaches throughout the Pacific and Asia for almost four decades. Over the past 20 years, Steve has led PATA Task Forces in Indonesia and has been engaged as an international sustainable tourism consultant on various projects undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, International Labour Organisation, UNWTO and other agencies.


Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 3.08.32 PMSupaporn Prachumpai, Secretary, Asean Ecotourism Network (AEN) 

Supaporn Prachumpai is the secretary of the Asean Ecotourism Network (AEN) and is duly in that position because of her past commitments towards sustainability. As President of Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA) in 2002-2006 and Vice President from 2010 till present, Supaporn Prachumpai has actively joined forces with our industry members in developing GSTC-based sustainable tourism standards for supply chains in Thailand with several trainings and workshops, in cooperation with our government, NGOs and international tourism organizations.  The CSR-Map Project  (2009-2010) won PATA Gold Award in 2010 in education and training category which proofed successes for our hard work and efforts. Under Supaporn’s management are Royal Silk Holidays since 1987 and the Country Lake Nature Lodge since 2000, the company receives Travelife Partner status which indicates their commitment towards sustainability.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 3.53.58 PMThabo Brian Dithebe, Chief Executive Officer, Botswana Tourism Organisation 

 Mr. Thabo Brian Dithebe took up his position as CEO in January 2014. He is responsible for all Botswana Tourism’s operations in Botswana and abroad. Thabo’s illustrious career began in the local authorities as a Town Planner in 1998. He later joined private sector as landuse and environmental consultant before joining Botswana Tourism Organisation where he spent 8 years honing his skills in all aspects of the local and international travel and tourism sector. He worked his way up through Botswana Tourism Organisation, holding numerous key positions along the way including that of Director Projects and Business Operations. With his forward thinking philosophy Mr. Thabo Brian Dithebe has had high impact in the tourism industry through driving high level strategy formulation and projects for tourism development in Botswana.  He has Bachelor of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Botswana and a Master of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of South Australia. His main focus is to stimulate growth in the tourism industry through high impact tourism initiatives and robust destination awareness, branding and marketing.

Photo - Yurie NagashimaYurie Nagashima, Business & Development Manager, Kinyei

Based in Battambang, Cambodia, Yurie Nagashima manages Soksabike, a bicycle tour operator with a social mission in fostering positive community development through tourism, started by Kinyei. Prior to joining Soksabike, Yurie worked in development aid, monitoring and evaluating projects and their impacts on local communities. She is a part of the social entrepreneurship community in Cambodia and has spoken at national social enterprise conferences and judged social business competitions in Cambodia. She moved to Cambodia in 2011 after having lived in Japan, India, and the US. She is an avid cyclist.

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