Scuba Junkie: Protection of Natural Areas & Wildlife Conservation

2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner: Best in Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

Scuba Junkie has made the clear connection between business and nature and is doing lots to protect the environment of which their diving resort depends on. Their resort is based on Mabul, a beautiful island off Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, just a short boat ride away from any diver’s ‘big one’, Sipadan.

Scuba Junkie is often described as the ‘lifeline’ for its home island and is at the forefront of many local schemes to clean up Mabul, protect endangered marine species and educate others. Aside from the whole heap of great initiatives Scuba Junkie are engaged with, they’re an exemplar business when it comes to working with the local community too.

Why Wild Asia loved this Winner

Our favourite concept!

Waste Management – In 2011, Scuba Junkie donated $70,000 towards rubbish removal from Mabul. The resort coordinates an island rubbish collection service: free biodegradable bags are provided for local community, once full, these can be dropped off at the resort and a boat collects four times per week and takes to a recycling plant on the mainland managed by a Governmental Body. This is preventing locals to dump waste into the sea, as previously done. They have also sponsored and introduced the only street bins in Mabul (150) and provided the local council with skips (10). They also coordinate weekly beach and reef cleans.

  • Shark Conservation – Spearheading the Semporna Shark Sanctuary as Advisor to the Proposal, they have contributed 70,000RM this year towards the campaign. The goal is to gazette a protected area in Semporna seas for endangered sharks and lobby against shark finning. Within Semporna, they employ a member of staff to monitor the sales of shark products at the local wet market. They have also recently funded an expert to deliver a study on the Economic Value of Sharks in Sabah
  • Education – Scuba Junkie supports the island’s School of Hope, a centre providing educational opportunities for sea gypsy children who cannot attend state school. They are engaging them with English classes and environmental education. These children are also actively engaged in events such as Mabul Marine Week which bring the community together. Furthermore, the resort’s Shark and Environmental Officer delivers weekly presentations to guests on turtle and shark conservation in the local area
  • Environment – Buildings have been designed to prevent light and noise pollution and the resort has a Green Grade A sewage treatment plant which is soon to be upgraded to include irrigation into the ground
  • Sustainable Seafood – No seafood is served onsite as local methods are not sustainable. A bold statement for an island tourism business where fish is often demanded, but very responsible and admirable
  • Turtle Conservation – The resort runs and manages the islands only turtle hatchery which is managed by trained biologists and supervised by Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Parks. To reduce unethical turtle egg collecting, they have introduced an excellent incentive by paying locals 10RM per egg (10x market value). These eggs are collected and added to the Turtle Hatchery project to be safeguarded. In the past year, they have contributed 25,000RM to the hatchery project

What did the Judges have to say?

“Most impressive is that they limit themselves voluntarily in areas where they could make profit, such as limiting the number of boat trips, don’t sell seafood, restrict buildings etc”

“An impressive list of green credentials”


ITC Sonar: Resource Efficiency

2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner: Best in Resource Efficiency

ITC Sonar in Kolkata, India, has taken its commitment of ‘sustainable luxury’ to a whole other level and has enough green credentials under its belt to impress even the most difficult of customers.

The tireless efforts to make ITC Sonar energy, waste and water efficient is exceptional. It was the first hotel in the world to earn carbon credits under the carbon trading scheme. This beautiful 5* hotel is a leading light in renewable energy and resource efficiency.

Why Wild Asia loved this Winner

Our favourite concept!

Management SystemsITC Sonar has an effective environmental management system in place (EMS) following the ISO14001 standard. They also adhere to LEED and USGBC standards. If this is all jargon to you – these are internationally recognised management systems that ensure a business has exceptional environmental best practices in place. Most importantly, they are working. In five years, the hotel saved almost 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions through environmental measures. They also engage all staff when setting environmental related targets to ensure they are realistic and achievable.

  • Sustainable Purchasing – When submitting tender documents to new suppliers, they have now included an environmental section to ensure their supply chain is doing its bit for the environment too. They have delivered training workshops on green supply chain to their vendors/partners, too.  60% of total purchasing is done sustainably; this means it is from renewable materials, sourced within 500km distance or FSC paper/woods and reused items. They also use Green Seal certified detergents and soaps (environmentally labeled with ISO14020 and ISO14024) and soap nuts to green their cleaning
  • Saving WaterTechnologies such as using LEED accredited aerators are installed throughout to reduce water consumption. They recycle 100% of their water for e.g. toilet flushing. They’ve recently revamped and modified their reverse osmosis plant, which has resulted in more yield and less reject water
  • Waste Management – No waste goes to landfill, organic waste is composted and they have implemented a strict monitoring of food consumption vs demand to reduce waste
  • Reducing Energy Consumption – Measures to save energy have included: all lighting in public areas and guest rooms has now been replaced with LED lighting; low tonnage energy chillers used and variable frequency drivers installed to optimize energy consumption.
  • Educating Guests – Guests are educated about how they can contribute to resource efficiency during their stay by using information in the lobby, posters distributed (e.g. saving water) and ‘green hearts’ with messages of hotels measures are displayed in relevant guest areas. When checking in, guests are given information on energy saving measures, accompanied by electrical key card and in room digital thermostat
  • Sewage – They have been certified by government as a zero water discharge property. Their state of the art 400kl capacity SAFF (Submerged Aerated Fixed Film) plant is monitored monthly by a contractor. Water output is used for flushing, cooling tower, irrigation etc and semi-solid residue forms cakes used for manure in horticulture!
  • Sphere of Influence – Schools can arrange visits to hotel to learn about resource efficiency and the hotel also offers an outreach program (in past 3 years they have worked with 8 local schools, equating to around 250 children, from underprivileged areas). To date they have distributed 3,800 saplings to their associates which have been planted in the area

What did the Judges have to say?

“This hotel is a fantastic model for other, regular city/provincial hotels to relate to and follow”

“Engagement with standards, involving their staff, guests and deep into their supply chain is a real inspiration”

“Their commendable effort can translate to many more establishment becoming resource efficient”

Agri Tourism: Cultural Preservation

2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner: Best in Cultural Preservation

Agri Tourism based in rural Maharashtrian countryside in central India, is an innovative scheme to invite city-slickers to get back to their rural farming roots. In an area where youngsters are eager to flee a declining farming industry for quick cash in neighbouring urban areas, Agri Tourism is successfully reversing this trend and giving new hope to rural populations.

This dynamic business is attracting tourist from far and wide wanting to experience agriculture heritage. Generating interest, income and demand for this important part of India’s culture, Agri Tourism is witnessing local farmers diversifying to reap the benefits of both agriculture and tourism.

Why Wild Asia loved this Winner

Our favourite concept!

Sustainable Livelihoods - Prior to the introduction of Agri Tourism holidays, rain water thirsty Maharashtra was having some serious challenges seeing a future in farming. Yet, by diversifying farms for tourism activities, farmers have experienced a 25% growth in business. This money is helping to change up farming habits to a more sustainable way and it’s attracting more people back to their cultural heritage, especially younger generations. To date, Agri Tourism has trained over 1000 farmers in tourism capacity building and 350 farms have diversified, reaping the benefits of a newly found sustainable income.

  • Local Employment – 100% local staff from the immediate village is preventing urban migration and an aging rural population. They also have initiatives for youths, women empowerment and all staff are paid the legal minimum wage or above
  • Cultural Exchange - In an area that historically had no tourism whatsoever, locals are now benefiting from learning from other cultures as well as showcasing their own to new found friends (such as their annual Kite Festival which sees over 500 attendees, traditional bullock cart rides or evenings in traditional dress). Not only is the centre a cross cultural learning experience for foreigners, but Indian guests are satisfied by learning about their own ancestral heritage and culture
  • Community Development - 15% annual profits go to the primary school next door, this money is spent on improving the level of education and for clean drinking water
  • Water – Neighbouring wealthy areas have benefited from the introduction of canal systems, this area would not have been eligible given its sparse population, but the government has expressed interest now there is tourism money coming in and are exploring bringing new canal systems to the village in next 5 years. This will be hugely beneficial to villagers who are losing their crops due to change in climate (very dry)

What did the Judges have to say?

“This is a fantastic project – really impressed”

“A very useful model for community-based
tourism elsewhere in India and throughout Asia Pacific”

“A complete all-rounder”

Soria Moria: Community Engagement & Development

2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner: Best in Community Engagement and Development

The Soria Moria Boutique Hotel is located in Siem Reap, Cambodia and makes the perfect stepping stone for exploring the World famous and awe-inspiring, Angkor Temple Park.

This is truly a hotel with a heart. Ensuring tourism benefits local people is what this hotel is all about. From inspiring local employment policies, to bicycle hire that funds local children’s projects, guests can be blown away by the level of community development projects Soria Moria is dedicated to supporting.

Why Wild Asia loved this Winner

Our favourite concept!

Local Ownership – The initial idea behind Soria Moria was to combine a business opportunity with a strong focus on helping the community, especially by contribution to long-term economic development. Through their own, Soria Moria Educational Development Program, the local employees have become majority owners of the business; an initiative to empower through ownership. By being share owners, the employees are able to take part in the decision making process and share any profits made. It also enables the employees to take part in supporting the surrounding community. The long term goal is to transfer the remaining shares to the staff.

  • HRM Management – Soria Moria has created its own ‘Employee Elevator Scheme’ to encourage continual professional development of locally sourced staff (e.g.  five members of management started as housekeeping staff)
  • Capacity Building – They offer hospitality training in the hotel for local young adults and staff, their innovative $1 night provides a weekly busy platform for local youngsters to practice their hospitality skills at the hotel
  • Supporting Local StaffStaff have the opportunity to take part in an international exchange programme to gain overseas hotelier experience, and for staff wishing to stay closer to home some staff have also been assisted with funding to attend University in situations were previously would not have been possible before
  • Child Safety – In a destination that experiences many challenges with child labour and exploitation, the hotel has signed the ChildSafe International ‘Code’ and is truly dedicated to protecting children’s rights and protecting their well being. Guests are reminded throughout the hotel to be aware of signs of children related problems to look out for and how to report them
  • Fundraising – The hotel has a whole host of fundraising schemes through bicycle rental, sales of gifts and collecting donations. Money goes to various projects, such as: rural schools for water provision, local teacher salaries and children’s art classes, traffic safety scheme, education centre, street kid project and children’s hospital
  • Visitor Awareness – As well as their own informative responsible tourism literature, the hotel promotes the Ministry of Tourism ‘do’s and don’ts’ guide to ensure that visitors’ stays are culturally sensitive and enjoyable
What did the Judges have to say?

“Many great initiatives being put in place by this hotel” 

“Highly principled operation” 

“An excellent model …I admire their unique approach to promoting ownership by staff”


2012 Responsible Tourism Award Winners & Finalists

Wild Asia’s judging team had their work cut out to pick from an exceptionally high level of Applicants in the 2012 Awards. We saw entries flooding in from India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. We also introduced new award categories this year, moving away from size of operators to themes of responsible tourism. We shortlisted 12 inspirational operators across Asia.

Best in Community Engagement and Development

This award recognizes exceptional commitment to supporting the local community and economy in which the business operates.

WINNER: Soria Moria Boutique Hotel, Cambodia

As the first employee-owned hotel in Cambodia, Soria Moria works closely with various local charities and organizations on a grassroots level, and facilitates vocational training and a higher education program to empower locals.

  More information – why did Wild Asia love this winner?

Agri Tourism, India

Agri Tourism’s goals are to develop and promote agricultural tourism as a potential vehicle for diversifying and stabilizing rural economies by creating jobs, increasing community income, and attracting tourists to the area. Through their projects, training, and support, farmers benefit from the development of tourism and the income to improve their livelihoods.

Best in Cultural Preservation

This award recognizes engagement and efforts by tourism businesses in preserving, enhancing and promoting local cultures and heritage.

WINNER: Agri Tourism, India

Agri Tourism is successfully reconnecting urban Indians to their rural roots. Their mission to diversify farms by introducing tourism is benefitting local livelihoods and keeping farming heritage alive. By providing exciting opportunities for sustainable secondary income, this project is preventing urban migration and protecting traditional village life.

 More information – why did Wild Asia love this winner?

FINALIST: Heritance Tea Factory, Sri Lanka

A story written inextricably around the wondrous “tea plant”, this business is harmonizing Tourism with the Tea Culture.  They are committed to offer prominence and a sense of recognition to the heritage of the communities who have contributed for decades to the development of Sri Lanka’s tea industry and environment.

Best in Protection of Natural Areas and/or Wildlife Conservation

This award recognizes tourism businesses’ consideration of their local environment and biodiversity by actively supporting and protecting their natural assets.

WINNER: Scuba Junkie, Malaysia

Scuba Junkie, based on Mabul Island off the east coast of Sabah, the company strives to be sensitive and have a positive effect on this unique area. Introducing the first rubbish collection scheme on the island, they’re improving waste management and protecting their natural assets. They also run a Turtle Hatchery and are championing the Semporna Shark Sanctuary, in order to help save our seas.

 More information – why did Wild Asia love this winner?

FINALIST: Banjaar Tola, India

Taj Safaris (a joint venture between &Beyond and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces) offers India’s first wildlife circuit of four exceptional lodges in India’s Madhya Pradesh region. Banjaar Tola is nestled in Kanha National Park. Their groundbreaking Gaur relocation project has saved a species from extinction in the area and the first newborn from the group has just arrived.

Best in Resource Efficiency

This award recognizes excellence in waste, water and energy management and sustainable architectural design in order to minimize the business’s environmental impact.

WINNER: ITC Sonar, India 

Backed by a huge range of environmental management accreditations, 5 star ITC Sonar is a leading light in renewable energy and resource efficiency. It is nestled amidst acres of land, resplendent with greenery, sunshine, and water. It was the first hotel in the world to earn carbon credits under the carbon trading scheme.

 More information – why did Wild Asia love this winner?

FINALIST: Our Native Village, India

This eco retreat presents earth-friendly dwellings and proven traditional healing services in a verdant landscape. It incorporates all aspects of sustainability: architecture, energy generation, water conservation, waste management and food chain. With more that 70% of energy generated from renewable resources this resort is working harmoniously with its natural surroundings.

2012 Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator

This award recognizes the tourism business that excels in all of the above categories by taking into consideration all the key principles of responsible tourism (maximum positive impacts to the local community and minimum negative impacts to the environment) and awards innovation for this most inspiring responsible tourism business of the year.

WINNER: LooLa Adventure Resort, Indonesia

LooLa is an outdoor-enthusiast resort in Bintan, Indonesia. Since 2000, with a 100% local team, they offer exciting (eco) action, adventure and community-based activities, all in a natural beautiful setting that favours sea breeze over air-con. Guests are asked to go easy on water and electricity, return to the basic joys of life and enjoy the authentic local scene.

 More information – why did Wild Asia love this winner?

FINALIST: El Nido Resorts, Philippines

An idyllic island retreat, El Nido Resorts measure against a quadruple bottomline: financial growth, environmental stewardship, community engagement and employee development. Guests are treated with unique experiencessteeped in conservation and environmental education. Meaningful livelihoods for staff and host communities complete their story.

 Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka

Heritance Kandalama is a Geoffrey Bawa architectural masterpiece, built overlooking the eighth wonder of the world, the rock fortress of Sigiriya. The hotel situated within the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, within close proximity of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites has been recognized the world over for its sustainability initiatives.

 Nikoi Island, Indonesia

Nikoi Island is a private island resort off the east coast of Bintan, Indonesia.  Just 50 miles from Singapore it is a popular escape from city life.  Built from driftwood and alangalang grass, with environmental conservation and energy conservation at the heart of the design and the development.


Wild Asia would like to congratulate Winners and Finalists for their commendable efforts and commitment in successfully integrating high standards of responsible tourism into their business philosophy.

Thank you to our expert Judging Advisory Panel: Asit Biswas, Ian Hall, Jens Thraenhart, Les Clark, Masaru Takayama, Peter Richards and Vikneswaran Nair for making the 2012 Responsible Tourism Awards a success!

2010 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

Wild Asia announces the finalists for the 5th Responsible Tourism Awards 2010! Wild Asia has shortlisted several operators from across Asia in each category for their outstanding responsible tourism practices. Find out this year’s finalists!

The shortlisted hotels and tour operators were reviewed and extensively researched by our judging panel which comprised of responsible tourism (RT) experts, academics, conservationists, and eco-consultants. Wild Asia’s judging panel first examined all of the completed checklists submitted by the operators, which outlined their best management practices and specific RT efforts undertaken by them. Then, through a scoring system, the panel analyzed and ranked each answer from the advanced entry forms in order to determine the finalists. The winners and finalists for this year’s award goes to:

Large-size Accommodation

WINNER: Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Heritance Kandalama has a unique architectural design which blends the hotel into the natural surroundings and maximises natural light in order to reduce energy use. The entire hotel is built on a raised platform allowing water to flow under the hotel. It also allows the free flow of animals under the hotel, leaving minimum impact on the ecosystem.

FINALIST: Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa, Langkawi, Malaysia

Frangipani Langkawi is dedicated to get guests and staff involved in their RT practices. The operation is involved in a range of creative environmental activities that promote conservation. They are determined to raise awareness of RT and inspire others to incorporate green practices as well.


Mid-size to Small Accommodation

WINNER: Sarinbuana Eco-Lodge, Bali, Indonesia

Sarinbuana Ecolodge is dedicated to conserve their surrounding environment and empower local communities. They aim for the highest standards of sustainability in every aspect of their business. Their bungalows use sustainable local materials and have a low impact on the environment. The ecolodge supports a wide variety of local businesses and uses natural and biodegradable products on site.

FINALIST: Soneva Gili, Lankanfushi Island, Maldives

Soneva Gili, located on the beautiful island of Lankanfushi, offers guests the sophisticated Maldivian charm in complete luxury. The concept of ‘Intelligent Luxury’ is adopted throughout the resort’s innovative architecture and infrastructure through energy efficiency, use of materials from certified sustainable sources and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Tour Operators

WINNER: Andaman Discoveries, Phang Nga, Thailand

Andaman Discoveries (AD) is an ongoing community-driven project that stemmed from tsunami relief. AD practices responsible tourism through leadership building, resource development and empowerment of skills. Activities such as handicraft workshops, jungle hikes, cooking lessons, island discovery tours, and other community-led projects put tourists in direct contact with the locals, thereby promoting a sense of authenticity in the tour experience.

FINALIST: PEPY Tours, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Pepy Tours believes tours should be adventurous, educational and responsible at the same time. They focus on providing economic benefits to the local communities through a variety of educational, volunteer and tour programs. Through their unique bicycle tours, they expose travellers to inspiring people and programs throughout Cambodia.




Wild Asia would like to congratulate winners and finalists for their commendable efforts and commitment in achieving high standards of environmental protection and social responsibility that form the critical pillars of their business philosophy.

Thank you to our partners; The Blue Yonder, Dot & Line Graphics, Asian Geographic Passport, WHL Group, The International Ecotourism Society, ITB Asia and Malaysian Airlines for making the 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards a success!

2009 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

In search of responsible travel accommodations in the region, WILD ASIA short-listed eight candidates and sent its fact-finding teams out to select our winners for the 2009 Responsible Tourism Award.

In 2009 our Responsible Tourism Awards saw entries from across Asia: Thailand, Malaysia, India, Maldives and Indonesia. After 8 weeks of back-to-back site visits and comprehensive reporting, we are proud to highlight our 8 of the region’s leaders in responsible tourism.

Large to Mid-sized Accommodation Operators

WINNER: ITC Mughal, Agra, India

The ITC Mughal focuses on “made in India” as a brand infusing the Mughal-theme into the whole traveling experience: from food to design. Highly acclaimed in architecture, the hotel was awarded the prestigious Aga Kahn award in 1980. Guests’ experience of India is brought to life through genuine hospitality, culture and customs the staff at ITC share. The hotel’s commitment towards a greener environment is conveyed through programmes that engage their staff. The hotel’s goal is to be ‘water positive’ and ‘zero waste’.

FINALIST: Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malaysia

Set amidst 25 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens on a peninsula surrounded by the waters of the South China Sea, Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa exudes the culture and heritage of Borneo through its architecture and design. The resort is committed to improve local environmental well-being and contribute to local communities through a range of philanthropic efforts. It adopts effective Environmental Management Systems which includes water and fuel conservation, efficient energy consumption, and proper waste management.


Mid-size to Small Accommodation Operators

WINNER: El Nido Resorts, Philippines

El Nido Resorts is a tropical hideaway set in a cove fringed by a lush forest overlooking majestic lime stones. The resort practices responsible tourism through their Quadruple Bottom Line (Environmental, Social, Financial and Employee Satisfaction) and partners with local communities, NGOs and the government to develop plans to protect natural assets and give back to the local community.

FINALIST: Soneva Fushi, Kunfunadhoo, Maldives

Soneva Fushi located on the privately owned, uninhibited, tropical paradise island of Kunfunadhoo offers guests the sophisticated Maldivian charm in complete luxury. The concept of ‘Intelligent Luxury’ is adopted throughout the resorts innovative architecture and infrastructure through energy efficiency, use of materials from certified sustainable sources, and production of renewable energy. The resort’s goal is to achieve ‘Zero Carbon’ by 2010.

FINALIST: Nikoi, Indonesia

Nikoi Island is a private-owned island amid azure blue waters, natural forest, shapely granite boulders, mangroves and coral reefs. The resort blends into its natural surroundings with villas designed for energy efficiency and built using locally-sourced materials to reduce carbon footprint involved in transportation. Nikoi is committed to preserving and supporting conservation and developing sustainable communities within its surroundings.


Community-Based Homestay Operators

WINNER: Sunderbans Jungle Camp, Bali Island, India

Sunderbans Jungle Camp (SJC) was developed to support poacher-turn-conservationists with a more responsible alternative livelihood through tourism. Guests emerge into the livelihood of the local community and stay in cottages constructed by local materials with mud-finishing complete with local straw thatch roof. SJC demonstrates that sustainable livelihood with minimal impact on the environment is possible through the engagement and involvement of the local communities.

FINALIST: Lamai Homestay, Amphur Bua Yai, Thailand

Lamai Homestay allows guests to truly experience the Isan way of life, the warmth of Thai villagers and indulge in the cuisine of north-eastern Thailand. The homestay contributes to sustainable economic growth without negatively impacting the community, the culture and biodiversity of the area. The local community provides tour services on a rotating basis, therefore allowing the financial benefits to be shared equally.

FINALIST: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand

Andaman Discoveries is one of North Andaman Tsunami Relief (NATR)’s on-going community-driven development projects. NATR is an independent, non profit organization that continues to provide assistance to tsunami-impacted coastal communities of the North Andaman. NATR has implemented over 120 projects in twelve villages, focusing on human needs and services. Explore diverse, pristine eco-systems such as taking a traditional long-tail boat through dense mangrove forests; hike through lush rainforests that are alive with the sounds of exotic wildlife or snorkel in clear, emerald-colored waters teeming with vibrant marine life.



Wild Asia would like to congratulate winners and finalists for their commendable efforts and commitment in achieving high standards of environmental protection and social responsibility that form the critical pillars of their business philosophy.

And our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Mariglo Laririt for accepting the award on behalf of El Nido Resorts, Gopinath Parayil for Sunderbans Jungle Camp, and to our sponsors, Malaysian Airlines, Keresa Plantations, CSR Asia, The Star, Sime Darby and Dot and Line Graphics for making this event a true success! We could not have done it without you.

2008 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

Seeking the best in responsible travel, eight accommodation providers across Asia were short-listed, with four selected as the winners for the 2008 Responsible Tourism Awards.

In 2008, 45 operators submitted entries from 8 countries. We had 4 categories, including: Community-based Homestays, Budget Accommodation, Mid-range Resorts and Hotels, and Luxury and Boutique Resorts.

Community Based Homestay

WINNER: Ecosphere Spiti, India

Ecosphere is a social enterprise that works on the sustainable development of Spiti valley (a cold desert in the Trans-Himalayas of India), by focusing on economic empowerment, conservation & development.  Ecosphere’s program on tourism develops unique, authentic & reliable tourism activities & experiences for visitors that are linked to community livelihoods. This not only provides the community with a additional sources of income but also serves as an incentive for them to conserve their unique natural and cultural heritage.

FINALIST: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand

Andaman Discoveries is one of North Andaman Tsunami Relief (NATR)’s on-going community-driven development projects. NATR is an independent, non profit organization that continues to provide assistance to tsunami-impacted coastal communities of the North Andaman.  NATR has implemented over 120 projects in twelve villages, focusing on human needs and services. Explore diverse, pristine eco-systems such as taking a traditional long-tail boat through dense mangrove forests; hike through lush rainforests that are alive with the sounds of exotic wildlife or snorkel in clear, emerald-colored waters teeming with vibrant marine life.


Budget Accommodation

WINNER: Tree Tops Jungle Lodge, Sri Lanka

A real ecolodge and jungle experience in the forgotten valley of Weliara. Experience living and walking with a team of native, local trackers and naturalists. Accommodation at the lodge will be in simple tree and mud huts discretely blending with bush, virgin forest and wildlife. This is a remote and non-touristic wilderness in Southeast Sri Lanka, only a few kilometres north of Yala National Park, a wildlife buff’s paradise.

FINALIST: Fasaai Resort and Spa, Thailand

Faasai Resort & Spa is located on the Kung Wiman Beach, Chanthaburi Province, Thailand. This garden eco-resort is approximately 220 kilometres to the southeast of Bangkok or about 3 hours drive by car. The quiet garden resort is only ten minutes walk from Kung Wiman beach and a good base for exploring the beaches and mountains of Chanthaburi. Set behind a hilly forested ridge abutting the coastline, Faasai maintain close links with the community and attempts to keep a green landscape among cultivated fields, village homes and orchards.


Mid Range Resorts and Hotel

WINNER: Alila Manggis Bali, Indonesia

Alila Manggis is a secluded, stylish seaside resort in Manggis, East Bali. Set amidst a coconut grove, the resort is nestled between the sea and the majestic Mount Agung, Bali’s most sacred mountain. Alila Manggis excels in designing immersive experiences personalised to each guest’s lifestyle preferences. The resort is committed to preserving the environment and supporting local communities through their Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy.

FINALIST: Alila Ubud Bali, Indonesia

Alila Ubud is a tranquil and secluded hillside retreat that sits high up on the edge of the rich green Ayung River valley in Bali’s central foothills. The resort is located just minutes from Ubud, the island’s cultural heart. Blending contemporary design and traditional Balinese architecture, the secluded courtyards, spacious terraces and private gardens create an intimate feeling like none other. Designed in contemporary Balinese style, the resort has good relations with the surrounding villages and follows clear policies to protect the environment and nurture the local culture.


Luxury and Boutique Resort

WINNER: Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi, Thailand

Six Senses Hideaway at Yao Noi is located on the island of Yao Noi, Phang-Nga. The natural vegetation and tropical landscaping provide privacy and allow glorious views over Phang Nga Bay. It is situated midway between Phuket and Krabi. This luxury resort focuses its attention on privacy and detail. Guests stay in private pool villas hidden among tropical vegetation. Gardens have been replanted with local species which consume less water and attract local wildlife. The Hideaway’s strengths are its energy, water and nature conservation efforts.

FINALIST: El Nido Resorts, Philippines

El Nido Resorts is located in northern Palawan on the islands of Miniloc and Lagen. Lagen Island Resort is set in a cove, fringed by a thick primary forest. The surrounding provides a wealth of opportunities and experiences for wildlife observation and sightings. The Lagen trail is one of the best sites for birdwatching. The island hosts a high diversity of birds including almost all of the species endemic to Palawan. A management system following three core values – sustainable environmental resource management, socio-economic development and local capacity building ensures they are among the best responsible tourism operators in the region.



Congratulations to our 2008 winners, and thank you for being an inspiration to us all. Taylor’s College hosted our award presentation event, which also included a public seminar on climate change and was attended by over 421 guests, including his Excellency the French Ambassador. We shared our award ceremony with over 400 invited guests and held a series of workshops on Responsible Tourism for operators and media, a workshop on animal welfare and zoos (with Acres, a Singapore-based NGO) and a workshop for Taylor’s College.

2007 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n search of responsible travel accommodations in the region, WILD ASIA short-listed six candidates and sent its fact-finding teams out to find our winners for the 2007 Responsible Tourism Award winners.

In 2007 we chose from six finalists within 3 main categories. The categories were: Community or Family-run Homestay, Wildlife and Ecolodge, and Luxury Boutique Resorts and Hotels.

Community or Family-run Homestays

WINNER: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand

Andaman Discoveries is one of North Andaman Tsunami Relief (NATR)’s on-going community-driven development projects. NATR is an independent, non profit organization that continues to provide assistance to tsunami-impacted coastal communities of the North Andaman. To date, NATR has implemented over 120 projects in twelve villages, focusing on human needs and services. Explore diverse, pristine eco-systems such as taking a traditional long-tail boat through dense mangrove forests; hike through lush rainforests that are alive with the sounds of exotic wildlife; snorkel in clear, emerald-colored waters teeming with vibrant marine life; or simply soak up the sun on a deserted island all to yourself.

FINALIST: Tmatboey Thoeun Krasaing Ibis Tourism Site, Cambodia

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has established a pilot ibis ecotourism project at Tmatboey in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, Preah Vihear province, the only known site where both Giant and White-shouldered Ibises breed and can be reliably seen. The birds are found in the forests surrounding the village, which are a mosaic of seasonally inundated dipterocarp deciduous trees.


Wildlife Lodges, Eco-resorts and Dive Resorts

WINNER: Udayana Eco Lodge, Indonesia

Udayana Eco Lodge is located on Jimbaran Heights, 30 hectares of bush land overlooking a beautiful view of Mt. Agung and Jimbaran and Benoa Bays. Only ten minutes from the airport it is quiet and peaceful, yet just 15 minutes from shopping in Nusa Dua or Kuta. Jimbaran beach and fish restaurants are only five minutes away. Uluwatu and other famous surf spots are nearby. The swimming pool is set in beautiful quiet gardens. Safe, quiet and convenient to all of southern Bali’s attractions, Udayana Eco Lodge is the perfect choice for a great holiday in Bali.

FINALIST: Sarinbuana Eco Lodge, Indonesia

A haven for nature lovers, this award winning Mountain Eco Lodge is located at 700m on the slopes of Mount Batukaru in central Bali, only 1½ hours from Kuta & Ubud. With spectacular views of southern Bali & the mountain peak. The protected rainforest is just 5 minutes away! Your hand crafted bungalow is surrounded by a lush tropical “Food forest” of cacao, coffee, coconuts, vanilla and jungle fruits. Dine in our open air restaurant or in your room, delicious healthy meals made from our organic gardens. Rainforest treks or “Edible Food forest” walks, swim in our natural water pools, walk in our extensive gardens, take part in one of our workshops from traditional wood carving to Balinese cooking, language or temple decorations or just relax and have a massage. You can expect private and intimate service from our local staff with a maximum of 10 guests only. Sarinbuana Eco Lodge is a retreat into nature and a chance for you to be a part of this vibrant culture.


Luxury and Boutique Resorts

WINNER: The Spice Village, India

Set amidst spice plantations, Thekkady is more known for its Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Spice Village is just a stone’s throw away from the game reserve and comprises of individual cottages set amidst a landscaped spice garden. The resort has a swimming pool, games facilities and an excellent restaurant. Ayurvedic treatment is also available on site.


FINALIST: Evason Phuket and Six Senses Spa, Thailand

Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa is the consecutive winner of our Responsible Tourism Award for 2006 & 2007. The RTA 2007 closing ceremony was held in this commendable resort. Located at Rawai Beach on the south eastern side of Phuket Island. It is set amongst 64 acres of beautifully landscaped tropical parklands and gardens, and looks out to stunning views across the Andaman Sea. The resort was opened in 1972 as “Phuket Island Resort.” In 2001 Evason Phuket took it over and made vast improvements with regard to responsible tourism.



The Responsible Tourism Award 2006 was made possible with the support of the UK’s Global Opportunities FundLangkawi Development Authority (LADA) and Frangipani Resort Langkawi.

2006 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

In search of responsible travel accommodations in the region, WILD ASIA selected eight distinguished operators in Asia as our winners for the 2006 Responsible Tourism Award.

Wild Asia’s first Responsible Tourism Awards were given out in November 2006. The awards meant we were able to reward those business operations that were making a positive difference in the tourism industry – an essential part of promoting responsible tourism. The winning resorts provide excellent examples of how to apply Responsible Tourism practices successfully. Not only does their work demonstrate efforts towards reducing their impact on the environment and benefiting the local community, but it has also proved to make financial sense, a fact that we hope will inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

In 2006 there were 3 main categories. The categories were: Luxury Boutique Resorts and Hotels, Eco-venture Lodges and Homestays, and Best of Langkawi.

Luxury-Boutique Resorts & Hotels

Awarded to high-end operators in recognition of outstanding implementation of environmental management practices and social programmes that benefit both the host institution and the surrounding community.

Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa, Thailand

A commendable example of providing passion and leadership from the top, Evason Phuket provides an enabling atmosphere for building effective teams to overcome the challenges of sustainable tourism. The resort’s environmental management and performance has so far been exemplary, given the age of the property, as its owners are investing in improving standards. The property is fully certified under Green Globe 21 and Green Leaf tourism certification schemes.

Alila Manggis, Bali, Indonesia

By adopting a personal style compatible to Balinese living, Alila Manggis offers insights and immersion into the local culture and its distinctive community practices and products. Over 80% of its staff comes from surrounding villages less than 10 km away, while its commitments to sustainable tourism are recognized by Green Globe 21.

Alila Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Located near one of the island’s cultural centers, Alila Ubud sets the tone for experiencing the Balinese way with programmes aimed at art, dance and spirituality. Transparent agreements with surrounding communities ensure that local economies benefit and that customs are observed. Over 65% of its staff comes from surrounding villages less than 10 km away, while its commitments to sustainable tourism are recognized by Green Globe 21.

Eco-ventures Lodges and Homestays

Committment to Responsible Tourism doesn’t take a big budget. This award recognizes low-budget or community-run operations.

Nanga Sumpa Lodge, Sarawak, Malaysia

By living the Iban lifestyle through participation in longhouse activities and engaging in their cultural heritage, Nanga Sumpa offers total absorption in their indigenous ways through a responsible tour operator (Borneo Adventure). With regular communication with village chiefs over its ten-year span, Borneo Adventure is attentive to the needs and societal changes of a longhouse community in the modern world. The lodge was recently singled out in Lonely Planet’s Code Green publication that features meaningful travel sites around the world.

The Best of Langkawi 2006

Awarded to an operator, within a specific destination, in recognition of their commitment towards the principles and best practices of Responsible Tourism.

Tanjung Rhu Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia

Set amid the coastal habitat of Langkawi Island, Tanjung Rhu is a haven that maintains 70% of its natural beauty and displays an exemplary array of local flora within its operating area. The resort maintains a resident naturalist and provides activities to engage guests in local celebrations and events, in addition to its strong support for local employment. Behind the scenes, the property has worked hard to ensure that its environmental management systems are in line with ISO 14001.


The Responsible Tourism Award 2006 was made possible through the UK’s Global Opportunities Fund, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) and Frangipani Resort Langkawi.