Responsible Tourism Events At ITB Asia 2016


19-21 October 2016

Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Every year, ITB Asia offers experts, practitioners and pioneers a great stage for responsible tourism topics to be discussed. Wild Asia, ITB Asia’s official CSR partner is proud to put together and announce 2016’s series of Responsible Tourism events. Our line up of speakers have been carefully chosen to provide you with the latest trends, lessons learnt from successful case studies and inspiration needed to help you become better and more sustainable in your business.

Please note that ALL responsible tourism events will be held at the RESPONSIBLE TOURISM HUB in the main exhibition hall.  View floorplan.



20 October 2016 (Thursday)

Time Topic & Speaker(s)

10:00 – 10:30am 


Speaker: Valérie Sfeir, International Coordinator, ChildSafe Movement Childtourism

How can the tourism industry reduce and avoid the negative impacts surrounding the issues of child protection? How can the protection of children be integrated into a sustainable and workable strategy? How can this strategy be valuable for businesses and travellers? With over 10 years’ experience in safeguarding children and youth from all forms of abuse, the ChildSafe Movement, a global protection initiative powered by Friends-International, has developed numerous tools to raise awareness and provide solutions to child protection amongst key tourism industry stakeholders as well as within all tiers of society and the international community.

10:30 – 11:00am


Speaker: Willem Niemeijer, CEO, YAANA Ventures 

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 10.00.48 PMThe presentation will focus on the achievements and challenges of the community-based tourism projects of YAANA Ventures. It will highlight a number of projects, including kayaking in the Kayah State in Myanmar, the Banteay Chhmar CBT, Sambor Prei Kuk in Cambodia, and Anurak Community Lodge in Thailand. It will use these examples to inspire others in thinking outside the box and looking for new and innovative routes. With the advent of low-cost airlines, the tourism hubs in the region are under the severe pressure of mass tourism. To ensure sustainability in the sector, we need to have a more entrepreneurial spirit and meaningful cooperation between private sector, NGOs and governmental bodies to support visitor dispersion.

11:00 – 11:30am


Speaker: Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.53.04 PM

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) is home to some of the most amazing authentic responsible travel experiences on the planet. Learn how an innovative three-prong strategy will tell impact stories of people in the GMS (in collaboration with UNWTO), where travellers share their #MekongMoments, and curated responsible experiences inspire travellers – all with the goal to make the small operator the hero, and shape the brand image of the region.

11:30am – 12:00pm 


Speaker: Dr Marc van Loo, CEO, Loola Adventure Resort Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.57.00 PM

Based on the speaker’s first-hand experience founding and running a multiple-award winning eco resort, Marc will make the case that it is profitable to employ only local people, let them run their own businesses, help the local community, and to embrace and test eco solutions such as rainwater collection, biological wastewater recycling and renewable power.

2:30 – 3:00pm


Speakers: Arnfinn Oines, Social and Environmental Conscience, Soneva & Secretary at Soneva Foundation  Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 9.05.55 PM

Soneva’s vision is inspired by nature’s magnitude, mystery and enchanting beauty. We work hand in hand with the environment to craft beautiful, beyond bespoke experiences where discovery is a way of life. At Soneva, we believe that a business must exist for a greater purpose than just shareholder return. We have created a Waste-to-Wealth concept that sees value and beauty where other views as waste. Through small tweaks in our business model we are able to deliver a desirable resort experience and yet have net positive total impact on society and the environment.

3:00 – 3:30pm


Speaker: Pranav Sethaputra, Group Sustainability Consultant, MCI 

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 1.20.20 PMBusiness tourism is a significant economic engine for destinations but are we making the most of it’s potential as a catalyst for sustainability, prosperity and progress? Hear insights on what forward thinking tourism boards and convention bureau from around the region have done to advance their hospitality community and market their destinations whilst discovering top tips for activating sustainable MICE for your own business or destination.

3:30 – 4:00pm


Speaker: Alison Curry, Marketing Technical Director, Sam Veasna Centre 

Cambodia Bird ConservationMany wildlife responsible tourism initiatives are developed by passionate nature lovers and conservationists, but they are not prepared for what is required to successfully market in today’s digital environment. Marketing now requires collaboration from the entire organization – from bookings, to operations and field guides. All need to connect with marketing, and a completely new set of skills, processes and techniques learned. Using her experiences working with Sam Veasna Centre as a case study Alison will look at the major challenges for responsible Wildlife Tourism operators, how they need to develop organizationally, and key steps and techniques to achieving marketing success. Sam Veasna Centre is a wildlife conservation NGO achieving successful conservation through community based ecotourism around Cambodia.

4:00 – 4:30pm


Speaker: Sarah Griffin, Sales and Marketing Director, Buffalo ToursScreen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.50.35 PM

As the rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasing amongst companies, so too is the rise of CSR in the MICE industry. From corporate gifts to teambuilding to green venues, more and more companies are looking for MICE suppliers that can cater to their corporate values and the justification of MICE spend. Sarah Randall will discuss some of these trends that are emerging and suppliers who are meeting this demand. More importantly, she will address the benefits this provides to the supply chain and wider community and in Asia.

4:30 – 5:00pm


Speaker: Clement Nsala, Marketing Officer, Botswana Tourism 




21 October 2016 (Friday) | 11am – 1pm

Time Details

11:00am – 12:30pm


Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 10.09.17 PMWild Asia celebrates the 10th year anniversary of our flagship Responsible Tourism Awards by handpicking ten award winners to share their stories. This extraordinary two-hour special will showcase ten leaders and pioneers in responsible tourism throughout Asia. Join us for an amazing time as we discover, listen and watch a collection of short clips as our all-stars share their successes and challenges in their journey towards creating a business that impacts positively on local communities and planet earth. We will also share insights and lessons learnt after a decade of assessing and awarding sustainable tourism businesses in Asia.

12:30 – 1:00pm 

Our friends from the GIZ and Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) will also share how you can be part of a growing movement of tourism businesses that want to make a difference.AEN provides networking and business opportunities, significant information, educational materials and networking prospects to both small and large organisations within Asia. The founding member countries comprise of Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, China, South Korea, Mongolia, India, Laos, Pakistan, Bhutan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Philippines and Australia. Be there to learn how you can engage and grow together.logo-gizAEN

** Note – All sessions and speakers are subject to change. All changes will be updated on this webpage. Event organised and supported ITB Asia and Wild Asia.

itb-asia-logo~2    Logovertical

Responsible Tourism Event Speakers 2016

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…

2016 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.

Valerie SfeirValérie Sfeir, International Coordinator, ChildSafe Movement 

Based in Friends-International’s Cambodia HQ, Valérie leads the implementation of the award-winning ChildSafe Movement internationally, promoting sustainable tourism among all stakeholders whilst simultaneously building networks and supportive structures. Following 9 years in the luxury and private banking industries, considering socially responsible investments, Valérie now work with a global portfolio ranging from governmental tourism programs, tourism industry leaders and innovators, businesses and travelers on developing and implementing multiple child protection campaigns, trainings and processes. This aims at raising awareness and changing actors’ behaviors positively towards protecting children across all situations, and creating protective environments for children where they can thrive.

sarah griffinSarah Griffin, Sales and Marketing Director, Buffalo Tours

A part of the Buffalo Tours team since 2004, Sarah Griffin is certainly not new to travel in Asia. Though she is originally from Australia, she’s called the Asian region home for many years, and beyond her work within travel, Sarah loves discovering new and thrilling opportunities around each corner in the region. Sarah is an integral part of Buffalo Tours’ dedication to responsible travel, community connection and stellar customer service.

July 17, 2008. Vancouver, BC.  Photo: Laura LeyshonJens Thraenhart, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office 

Jens Thraenhart was appointed by the tourism ministries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and China (Yunnan and Guanxi) to head the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) as its Executive Director. The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is an inter-governmental body to promote the Mekong region as a single tourism destination, and foster responsible tourism development in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Jens Thraenhart is founder & president of Digital Innovation Asia (DIA). In 2009, he co-founded China Travel Trends, as well as award-winning China digital marketing and social media agency Dragon Trail, and has led marketing and Internet strategy teams with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. He has consulted for many global companies, including recently Prestige Cruise Holdings (now Norwegian Cruise Lines), Swire Hotels, Dusit International, Shinta Mani Hotel Cambodia, and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Educated at Cornell University with a Masters of Management in Hospitality, Mr. Thraenhart was recognized as one of the travel industry’s top 100 rising stars by Travel Agent Magazine in 2003, was listed as one of HSMAI’s 25 Most Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds in Hospitality and Travel in 2004 and 2005, and named as one of the Top 20 Extraordinary Minds in European Travel and Hospitality in 2014. A UNWTO Affiliate Member, and past Chair of PATA China, he founded the Annual China Responsible Tourism Forum & Awards in 2011.

Dr MarcDr Marc van Loo, CEO, Loola Adventure Resort

Dr Marc van Loo is the founding CEO of LooLa Adventure Resort, winner of a number of global sustainability awards. With a PhD in theoretical physics and having taught in schools and universities for over a decade, Marc is a strong advocate of education and open source. Being Dutch means he’s strongly committed to win-win solutions that benefit all stakeholders. As such, his resort is operated exclusively by local staff and it acts as a testbed for open source eco solutions.

Arnfinn OinesArnfinn Oines, Social and Environmental Conscience, Soneva & Secretary at Soneva Foundation 

Arnfinn Oines works as Social & Environmental Conscience for Soneva resorts. He oversees the responsible business practices at Soneva, which have received numerous environmental awards including the prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2015. Arnfinn has been involved in implementing and establishing the Soneva Carbon Calculator, Total Impact Assessment, Clean Water Projects, Soneva Forest Restoration Project, Myanmar Stoves Campaign, the Soneva Foundation, the SLOW LIFE Symposium and the group’s Social & Environmental policy and procedures. 

Prior Arnfinn oversaw the responsible business practices of Six Senses. He co-founded and opened Earthwalkers Hotel in Cambodia as General Manager. He also worked as Course Director for International Tourism Institute in Spain. Arnfinn holds a BA in Adventure Tourism Management and MBA in Hospitality & Tourism.


Willem Neimeijer, CEO, YAANA Ventures

Willem is the CEO of YAANA Ventures, an owner, partner and operator of entrepreneurial travel and hospitality ventures in Asia. Through YAANA, Willem built brands that share real experiences that are grounded in the cultural richness of Asia. More importantly, Willem drives each venture to champion the triple bottom-line: to nurture the people with whom we work, to sustain the planet we all share, and to pursue profits to expand our mission.

Willem founded Khiri Travel at the end of 1993 with a vision of creating a travel company delivering Thailand and Indochina as “4 countries, 1 destination”. He created Khiri Reach, Khiri Travel’s dedicated foundation, which adopts twelve projects that aid underprivileged communities, promote animal welfare, protect local heritage and steward the environment. In the late 1990s, to compliment his travel business, Willem founded a jungle lodge in a remote and breathtaking location in Southern Laos. Tad Fane Resort has since pioneered the development of tourism in the region. Over the following years, he expanded Khiri Travel into Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Maldives. With Khiri Travel continuing to grow sustainably, Willem turned his eye to transplanting the seeds of success he learned through growing Khiri Travel and Tad Fane Resort to the businesses that today form the core of YAANA Ventures: Anurak Community Lodge, GROUND (sustainable community development through service learning),  Khiri Travel, Banteay Chhmar Tents and Grasshopper Adventures.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 1.28.19 PMPranav Sethaputra, Group Sustainability Consultant, MCI 

Pranav is a Group Sustainability Consultant of MCI, the world’s leading provider of strategic engagement and activation solutions in the meetings, events, association and congress industries. As part of MCI’s Sustainability Services team, Pranav provides strategic advisory services to MCI’s clients, working hand-in-hand with corporations, associations, governments, venues and destinations seeking a competitive advantage through a structured sustainability programme. Leveraging on sustainability, Pranav helps MCI’s clients enhance organisational performance, grow globally, energise communities and drive business results.

With core competencies in brand marketing, social research and sustainability consulting, Pranav brings a specialist focus in how businesses can benefit from a structured Sustainability & Communications Strategy. His experience includes working with community, stakeholder engagement and environmental issues for a diverse range of organisations & businesses both in and outside of the events world. His past clients include the likes of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, SAP, BP, Boeing and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). Pranav is also responsible for bringing MCI’s own sustainability commitments to life, guiding MCI’s 100+ Sustainability Champions to develop their local activation strategy in the company’s rapidly expanding 61 offices globally.

Alison Curry_Siem Reap_2016Alison Curry, Marketing Technical Advisor, Sam Veasna Centre

Alison has 25 years’ experience in marketing and organisational development across Europe and Asia, working with some of the biggest brands in the world including Coca-Cola, Nike, Nokia and Unilever. She has launched 3 businesses and trained MNCs in digital marketing, innovation and the development of digital and marketing ready organisations.  After realising that her work was at odds with her values she started a long process of self-education to move towards using her powers for good, including volunteering and professional sabbaticals working in Laos, Sulawesi and Malaysia with environmental, fair trade and social enterprise organisations. She is now working with Sam Veasna Centre for Wildlife Conservation, a Cambodian wildlife conservation and ecotourism NGO as Marketing Technical Advisor to help this remarkable organisation to grow.


sschwepcke-headshotSarah Schwepcke, Head – Responsible and Inclusive Business Hub Southeast Asia (RIBH), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (giz) GmbH

Sarah Schwepcke leads the Southeast Asia Section of the Responsible and Inclusive Business Hubs (RIBH), a programme implemented in Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and the Middle-East / North-Africa Region on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. The Hubs aim to support companies to successfully design and implement responsible and inclusive business models and to promote private sector engagement in international cooperation projects. A particular focus is laid on the tourism industry, amongst other sectors such as agriculture and ICT. Sarah Schwepcke, an innovation management and youth employment specialist, holds Master Degrees in International Management and International Affairs & Governance by the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education. Building on her private-sector focus, she has been working on behalf of GIZ-implemented programmes in Egypt and Southeast Asia for the past five years.

Responsible Tourism Leaders Webinar Schedule

Webinar series


In conjunction with our friends at TrainingAid, and to celebrate our 10th Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, we are delighted to be co-hosting a series of educational webinars. We’ve scheduled several engaging and eye-opening webinars with responsible tourism leaders who have featured in our Awards over the years. These webinars will be an opportunity to learn from pioneers and experts in the field, on various key topics in sustainable travel.

Coming up next…

Thursday 4th August (4pm Thailand)

Maximising Community Benefits Through Social Innovation & Responsible Volunteer Travel

Featuring PEPY Tours and The Blue Yonder

How can responsible tourism operators successfully adopt the social enterprise model? Join our live conversation with responsible tourism leaders The Blue Yonder and PEPY Tours, and learn how the inclusive and community-oriented business model works in practice.

Join the Live Session

bannerThursday 11th August (4pm Thailand)

Make it Count: how to scale up sustainable tourism

Featuring The Travel Foundation and Leeds Beckett University

Join this free session to find out what practical and profitable actions you can take within your business to scale up the sales of your sustainable tourism products, and how supply chain partners can work together more effectively to sell more sustainable tourism for mutual benefit.

Join the Live Session

Free Replay

7343612936_7ac79a1450_oThursday 23rd June (4pm Thailand)

Taking Sustainable Luxury to the Next Level

How can luxury resorts and hotels embrace sustainability and play an active role in creating positive sustainability solutions for the travel and tourism industry?

Learn from the internationally recognized sustainable luxury leaders who are redefining what it means to offer authentic luxury travel experiences, and demonstrating that socially responsible and environmentally sound practices can – and should – be a key part of successful and competitive hospitality brands.

Featuring Soneva Resorts and El Nido Resorts

Catch it on demand (log in required)

Wild Asia retains the right to change the details in this schedule and for regular updates please check out

World HOST, 29 Nov – 2 Dec

Amy, our Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Manager, is honoured to have been invited to talk as part of the program of the World HOST event in several weeks time. World HOST is the first World Homestay Organisations Summit for Tourism, and we’re really excited to be part of it!

World HOST 2015 brings together for the first time, the global movement in community and homestay networks and initiatives. More than 300 delegates are expected at this inaugural summit and we are excited to host this auspicious event in the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Why World HOST?

Emphasizing that tourism markets continually look for interesting new experiences, bespoke itineraries, and immersive activities, this Summit provides the platform for individuals, organised groups, travel and tourism planners and promoters to access locally-nuanced, culturally-engaged, individually-styled travel experiences. The breadth of opportunities is seemingly endless. At the same time, accessing community and homestay locations provides wonderful support to local enterprises and economic development for communities and to the less accessible regions.


A full list of speakers can be found here. Amy will be joined by experts in the field of community-based tourism from all over the Asia-Pacific region! The event will provide an opportunity for delegates to meet representatives and homestay operators from across the globe, sharing knowledge and ideas, to create positive global impact through ethical tourism.

Amy will be there sharing best practice learned through our annual Awards.

Join the Event

To join the event in KL, you can register at their website here

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.

Responsible Tourism Events At ITB Asia 2015


21-23 October 2015, Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Every year, ITB Asia offers experts, practitioners and pioneers a great stage for responsible tourism topics to be discussed. Wild Asia, ITB Asia’s official CSR partner is proud to put together and announce 2015’s series of Responsible Tourism events. Our line up of speakers have been carefully chosen to provide you with the latest trends, lessons learnt from successful case studies and inspiration needed to help you become better and more sustainable in your business.

Please note that ALL responsible tourism events will be held at the RESPONSIBLE TOURISM HUB, A45 in the main exhibition hall.  View floorplan.


22 October 2015 (Thursday)


Time Topic & Speaker(s)

10:00 – 10:30am 


Speaker: Graham Harper, Director of Educational and Responsible Travel, Buffalo Tourselephant tourism

Elephants in captivity are an ethical concern. Rapid tourism growth coupled with inadequate regulations encourage treatment that threaten the survival of these amazing wild creatures.Welfare of elephants must be improved and we believe responsible tourism is the most viable solution. Tourism done right can assist the survival of captive elephants throughout Asia and provide clients with an inspiring experience. This session presents the Good, the Bad & the Ugly of elephant experiences by following the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism developed by ABTA, Travelife Sustainability criteria, Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism & Sports Elephant Standard, and Buffalo Tours captive elephant camp checklist.

10:30 – 11:00am 


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

hukaung_vista3     a j  lynam hukaungTourism is often described as a way to provide alternative livelihoods for people living around protected areas. For the sake of conservation, this general theory may be more effective with more targeted incentives for the protection of specific species. The use of incentives through tourism payments is being explored by WCS at sites in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Lessons learned can be applied by others in the industry with little cost and high impact.

11:00 – 11:30am


Speaker: Chananya Phataraprasit, Founder, Asian Oasis Travel Lisu tribe

The presentation will focus on the philosophy of Asian Oasis Travel and the concept of sustainable tourism. It will cover the company’s main principles, which are preservation, development, sustainability and delivery, with overview of how each principle is implemented and the result. We will also share our challenges and success stories.

11:30am – 12:00pm 


Speaker: Thabo Brian Dithebe, Chief Executive Officer, Botswana Tourism Organisation 

12:00 – 12:30pm


Speaker: Shannon Stowell, President, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) 

adventureShannon Stowell will provide an overview and definition of adventure tourism and discuss the market and environmental opportunity it represents today. Included in his presentation are statistics on the market value of the global adventure tourism market and results from original survey research into the preferences and behaviors of U.S. adventure travelers (one of the largest source markets for international adventure travel). Included are survey results indicating an interest in Asian destinations for adventure travel. Mr. Stowell will also share information on when adventure tourism product development makes sense for a destination, trending activities, the importance of environmental management and tour operator best practices in securing a competitive position in the global marketplace for adventure experiences, and the triple bottom line benefits of adventure tourism market development.

2:30 – 3:00pm


Speakers: Gede Ori Ariandika, General Manager and Steve Noakes, Director, Ecolodges Indonesia 

OUEcolodges Indonesia (ELI) is a for-profit social enterprise with an inclusive business model that focusses on biodiversity conservation and improving the livelihoods of its staff and immediate suppliers. The company is guided by veterinary medicine specialists, volunteer environmentalists and sustainable tourism professionals from within Indonesia and internationally. All five of the ecolodges is subject to an in-house ecological plan which has enabled one of the ecolodges to achieve a carbon footprint more than 30 times less than the average in the tourism hotspot of Kuta,Bali.

3:00 – 3:30pm


Speaker: Mariglo Laririt, Director of Environment and Sustainability, El Nido Resorts

7343612936_7ac79a1450_oEl Nido is a small municipality in the Philippines. Typical of most of the country’s coastal villages, its economic base was fishing, using a variety of methods legal or not, until the late ‘70s. El Nido’s natural environment, however, is far from typical. It is an area of extraordinary biodiversity and stunning vistas. Doors were opened to Tourism when Ten Knots set up a rustic dive camp in one of the islands. Three and a half decades later, Tourism’s footprint is evident in every aspect of life in El Nido. For better or for worse, who is responsible?

3:30 – 4:00pm


Speaker: Luo Peng, Founder, Eco Action 

ecoactionasiaBased on EcoAction’s successful pilots trips, Hainan Tropical Forest, Giant Panda, and Asian Elephant, Luo Peng will explain the holistic approach of integrating nature, wildlife, community and education into her tours. Her unique business model combines key elements that make up a destination – the environment, wildlife and people dependant on it. EcoAction have helped connect urban travellers with China’s amazing and diverse ecosystem. 

4:00 – 4:30pm


Speaker: Yurie Nagashima, Business & Development Manager, Kinyei 

FILE0227-CompressedKinyei has been operating two small businesses, a bicycle tour operator and a café, while employing local youth in Battambang, Cambodia. Kinyei has always regarded the partnership with local communities as critical for the businesses to thrive and become sustainable. The road has not been easy, however, especially when the businesses are small, just starting, have limited capital, and need to compete in a competitive market. The presentation will highlight the activities Kinyei has done with the local communities, how we train and manage local youth to become competent and confident professionals, and challenges and lessons learned along the way.

4:30 – 5:00pm


Speakers: Hanna Maier, Junior Advisor, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) 

1A single disaster event has the potential to cause widespread damage and economic disruption, affecting private and public investments in tourism destinations, and the country’s image and reputation, while posing a threat to the lives of tourist, workers and surrounding communities. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is collaborating with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Asia and Pacific (UNISDR) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) within the framework of the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) to improve climate and disaster risk management and to strengthen resilience in hotels and throughout destinations.




23 October 2015 (Friday)

This special two-hour segment will feature notable and inspiring operators who have gone above and beyond to make business sustainable. As a result, destinations are preserved, local communities are uplifted and travel is celebrated through responsible efforts on both the operator and traveller. Join us for an amazing time as we discover, listen and watch a collection of award-winning short films on leading sustainable tourism stories around the world, learn from Wild Asia’s 2015 Responsible Tourism Award finalists and winners and have the chance to be a member of the Asian Ecotourism Network. Let’s learn, be inspired and make a difference!

Time Details

11:00am – 12:00pm


Speaker: Rob Holmes, Chief Storyteller, GLP Films

logoJoin ITB Asia and GLP Films for their 1st Annual Short-Film Showcase celebrating award-winning short-films on leading sustainable tourism stories from destinations around the globe.  Short-films will include selections from GLP Films’ partnerships with leading travel brands, plus new films highlighting up and coming destinations.  Join us for this special event!Target Audience:  tourism boards, CEO’s and destination marketing professionals, tour operators, media, travel brands

12:00 – 1:00pm 


Speaker: Nicolas Dubrocard, Associate Advisor, Wild Asia

8DESTINATION ICONThe Wild Asia Awards was the first of its kind to identify Asia based sustainability superstars in the travel industry, and remains the only regional responsible tourism awards. The Awards are based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Criteria, and provide a unique opportunity for tourism businesses and projects to benchmark their work against international standards. The Award winners are leaders in their destinations, making change that will help shape the future of travel for the better. This is your chance to glean from Asia’s leading sustainable tourism organisations. 


Speaker: Masaru Takayama, Founding Chair and Supaporn Prachumpai, Secretary, Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN)

AEN As of June 2, 2015, Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) was established in Bangkok with the aids of Thai government, DASTA. The Network will supply more hands-on connections and relevant opportunities for members working together at a regional level. It will provide more networking and business opportunities, significant information, educational materials and networking prospects to both small and large organisations within Asia. The founding member countries comprise of Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, China, South Korea, Mongolia, India, Laos, Pakistan, Bhutan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Philippines and Australia. Be there to learn how you can engage and grow together with AEN!

** Note – All sessions and speakers are subject to change. All changes will be updated on this webpage.

Event organised and supported ITB Asia, Wild Asia and The Blue Yonder.

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Call For Papers & Presentations For ITB Asia 2015 Responsible Tourism Events


Call for presentations and papers. Take a role at ITB Asia’s Responsible Tourism Events, 21 – 23 October 2015 in Singapore

This is your opportunity to take an active role and share your knowledge and experience at the Asia’s largest travel trade show. We are looking for sustainable tourism practitioners who are seeking to inspire others in making tourism a driver for change socially, environmentally and economically for Asian destinations.

Be heard at one of Asia’s largest travel trade show – ITB Asia! We are seeking presentations and/or papers for the following topics. The organising committee is also open to explore other related topics, kindly contact if you have other ideas not in the list:

  1. Quality and profitable eco/green/sustainable tourism – How to make it happen?
  2. Marketing Responsible Tourism via New Media and other channels
  3. Indigenous & cultural tourism
  4. Community based tourism
  5. Wildlife and nature-based tourism
  6. Mainstreaming Responsible Tourism
  7. Sustainable tourism trends and emerging markets
  8. Best practice case studies: Achievements & challenges

Submission guidelines:

Closing date for submissions 31 July, 2015 (Friday).

Paper/presentations must address the following:

Relevance to Asian-based tourism operators and helps promote the mainstreaming of responsible tourism in Asia
With case studies, please share lessons learnt and outcomes of the project/program.

Please include the following in your paper / presentation:

  • Name and profile of author/presenter
  • The title should aim to be precise and concise so that it conveys a clear message
  • Abstracts should contain brief summary of the content areas of your proposed topic

Note to speakers:

  • All presenters must be able to cover their travel and accommodation costs.
  • Speakers will be given a complimentary speaker pass that includes access to the trade show for the day of your presentation.
  • Presenters will be notified if their paper/presentation has been accepted by 16 August 2015.

Submission of Paper/Presentation:

Please email your paper or presentation, including an abstract to Deborah Chan at before 31 July, 2015 (Friday).

PATA Travel Mart & Responsible Travel

The 2015 PATA Travel Mart (PTM) will be celebrated at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), India. Wild Asia is proud to support PATA Travel Mart‘s (6th – 8th September 2015) Responsible Travel Pavilion for the second year running.


Wild Asia at the PATA Travel Mart

Wild Asia will be celebrating the 2015 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards and supporting with the coordination of responsible travel presentations as part of the PATA Talks programme.

Throughout the event

Pop over to our booth to talk about responsible tourism with Amy! Find us at H19.

Monday 7th September

2015 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards (sponsored by World Nomads Travel Insurance) announcement and celebration:

12pm – 2pm, Hall 1, BIEC (PATA Talks space)

Inspirational, regional case studies in sustainability. Complimentary refreshments & networking. Limited spaces available.

Tuesday 8th September

We’re excited to be co-hosting two PATA Talks on responsible tourism best practice along with some of our 2015 Awards recipients.

  • 11:10am – 11:30am, Hall 1, BIEC (PATA Talks space)

Lessons learned from community engagement
by Amy McLoughlin (Wild Asia) & Chananya Phataraprasit (Asian Oasis)

  • 3:30pm – 3:50pm, Hall 1, BIEC (PATA Talks space)

Social innovation in responsible tourism
by Amy McLoughlin (Wild Asia) & Yurie Nagashima (Kinyei/Soksabike)

View the full PATA Travel Mart programme

Responsible Travel Pavilion

The Responsible Travel Pavilion is a dedicated section of the travel trade floor for smaller businesses passionate about sustainability. It enables businesses to join like-minded enterprises in an informal space to showcase their excellent work.

Download the Responsible Travel Pavilion Information Pack

* Deadline for registration to ensure you don’t miss out on PATA’s excellent matching service for meetings with buyers, 10th July *

Benefits include:

  • A chance to promote your responsible tourism product in a unique context
  • Be recognized for your efforts in furthering the sustainable tourism movement
  • Easily share knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned with others like you
  • Networking opportunities throughout the event and at social functions
  • Option for one day of 14 pre-matched appointments with PTM 2015 buyers
  • Access to hundreds of buyers and sellers
  • Promotional opportunities prior to PTM
  • Delegates exhibiting in this pavilion will receive additional promotional opportunities to share their responsible tourism stories through PATA communications channels.

PTM2015For all Wild Asia supporters interested in joining us at the Responsible Travel Pavilion, please contact for a referral, or use the contact details in the above information pack quoting “WILDASIA” for added benefits.

Top 3 Inspiring Stories From Destinations 2014

LOGO_Inspiring Stories from Destinations_2012-page-001

Asia is a big travel whirlpool with so many tourism businesses, activities and places to choose from. However in the masses, there are exceptional tourism businesses and projects in Asia that have done incredibly well, not just in a business sense but in leaving a positive impact on the environment and the lives of people living in those destinations.

Inspiring Stories from Destinations is an annual competition providing an international platform for tourism players to get their story heard at ITB Asia in Singapore. The competition seeks exciting stories from organisations and individuals who have found in themselves a passion to make a difference in the travel industry and leave a legacy for the next generation.

The selection of successful stories is based on the authenticity of the story, creative and innovative elements, and the power to inspire others towards making responsible tourism a reality. Wild Asia and Gaia Discovery together with our esteemed judges have chosen the TOP 3 winning stories from the list of applications received this year.

Top 3 Winners

2215646-25593141-thumbnailKutch Adventures Seeks Out Remote Artisans

The way Kutch Adventures started and introduced a completely different way of offering local experiences could be considered inspirational. By Kuldip Gadhvi, founder of Kutch Adventures India. It all began for me after the terrible earthquake of Gujarat in January 2001. We, the survivors of Kutch region were put in the awkward situation of having to accept aid. At the age of 18 I had to leave my school to help to support my family by working with various organizations that came to Kutch for earthquake relief, rescue and rehabilitation. Read more… 

SunriseChi Phat Community-based Eco-tourism: Forests for Life

Forests nurture lives, yet living in the forest takes courage. A tale told by Sokhem, founder of Chi Phat Community-based Eco-tourism. When I was born, my parents named me Sokhem. In English, it means Hope. This name puzzled me, as at that time there was no hope, no future. The Khmer Rouge had destroyed my home, Cambodia. In 1980, when I was a small boy, we had no food, no land, no money, no schools, and no doctors. Read more…

2215646-25593781-thumbnailMagic Tours for Authentic Experiences

Tourism can drive positive change – to bring deeper understanding between different cultures, provide economic benefits to local and disadvantaged communities. Deepa Krishnan, Founder of Magic Tours, relates how her business has brought about this new momentum in North India. Bringing change to local disadvantaged communities doesn’t happen by magic. To bring this change, businesses like us must actively work towards it. The effects of tourism especially can be negative; particularly in countries that have a lot of poverty. Read more…


*Stories were taken from Gaia Discovery, the joint partner for the 2014 Inspiring Stories from Destinations competition. 

International Conference on Community Development Through Tourism


On 16th and 17th September 2014, Wild Asia attended the International Conference on Community Development Through Tourism, in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh. It brought together over 300 participants from tourism authorities, community tourism experts, and practitioners from 28 nations to discuss various aspects of community based tourism development. The aim of the conference was to present case studies, examine the mechanisms (both institutional and practical) that have led to successful inclusion of stakeholders, implementation, and analysis of the lessons learned in developing community based tourism enterprises. 

The conclusion of the two day inspirational event was to accept and endorse the prestigious Phnom Penh Declaration on socially responsible tourism that benefits host communities.

 In line with this year’s theme for UWNTO’s World Tourism day of tourism and community development, we resolve to seek further understanding, participation and involvement of the citizens in the ongoing process of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism development. I hereby proclaim the Phnom Penh Declaration as the official record of our two-day international conference. 

- H.E. Mr. Tith Chantha, Secretary of State of Tourism and High Representative of H.E. Dr. Thong Kohn, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia.

Wild Asia has been fortunate to encounter regional best practice in socially responsible tourism for almost a decade. Amy, from our tourism team, was delighted to be invited by PATA to share some insights into examples of tourism projects supporting community development. She shared case studies from our annual Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards and the Inspiring Stories from Destinations competition we hold each year at ITB Asia.

It was an honour to be invited to participate in this event, alongside industry experts and inspirational leaders. PATA invited me to speak about the role of communities in marine based tourism, and it was an exciting platform to share some of my favourite stories from businesses Wild Asia has been lucky to engage. These included Scuba Junkie, Sri Lanka’s Travel Foundation, Andaman Discoveries, the ChildSafe Network, and Nikoi Island.

- Amy McLoughlin, Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award Manager.


For full details on the conference and the Phnom Penh Declaration, please see the official Press Release here.

All keynote speakers’ slides can be viewed online here.

Browse photos of the event here.