RT Forum Guest Speakers

RT Forum Guest Speakers


Geoffrey Lipman is Director and chief disruption architect of greenearth.travel, a global think tank network, promoting green growth and travelism (travel & tourism) and specializing in strategy, innovation and funding. He is President of ICTP (International Council of Tourism Partners) & Associate of Cosmos China.

Lipman is Adjunct Professor at Victoria University Australia, Visiting Professor at Oxford Brookes University UK and Senior Tourism Research Fellow at George Washington University US. He is a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. He has written and lectured widely on tourism strategy, sustainability and airline liberalization. In 2012 he launched at the Rio+20 Earth Summit a new compendium of leadership ideas from nearly 50 of the best thinkers inside and outside the sector. “Green Growth & Travelism; Letters from Leaders”

Lipman joined the International Air Transport Association in the 1960s and rose to become its Executive Director before his appointment as the first President of the World Travel & Tourism Council from 1990 to 1999. Between 2006 and 2010, he served as Assistant Secretary General and spokesperson of the UNWTO, the World Tourism Organization and prior to that acted as Advisor to the Secretary General. He has served on Boards and Advisory Committees of public & private sector groups in Africa, Europe, Middle East & Canada, as well as EU Commissions on Airline Liberalisation and on Tourism Employment.


Jens Thraenhart is a global tourism and hospitality strategist. He has been doing travel online marketing since 1995, and established his consultancy Chameleon Strategies in 1999 with the mission to help firms ‘adapting to an ever-changing environment’.

Jens remarkable experience in key strategic positions (in North and Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia) in e-commerce, marketing, change management, CRM strategies and corporate strategy has been recognized with prestigious awards from industry associations including the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), the Association of Travel Marketing Executives (ATME), and the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA). Travel Agent Magazine recognized him as one of the ‘travel industry’s top 100 rising stars’ in 2003. He was listed as one of the ‘25 Most Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds in Hospitality and Travel’ in 2004 and 2005.

 Based on his ability to leverage social media and digital marketing strategies, he developed a unique ‘think global-act local’ methodology. Partnering with a Chinese travel technology company he created the brand strategy advisory firm Dragon Trail, and launched the online resource portal and community ChinaTravelTrends.com (Twitter: @cnTravelTrends). His blog “TourismInternetMarketing.com” is widely respected and frequently quoted.

With nearly 20 years of experience in hospitality and tourism, he has served on various industry boards, including both the Global Board and the Americas Board of Directors of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), as well as Global and the North America Board for the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT).

Erika Harms is the Executive Director of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). In this role, Ms. Harms manages and oversees the implementation of activities under the framework of the GSTC, a cutting edge initiative that provides a clear set of standards, protocols, processes and measurements for how businesses can better the planet and practice sustainable tourism. Ms. Harms has focused on creating platforms to bring together the private and public sector in support of the United Nations’ conservation priorities, and has spearheaded initiatives such as the World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism and the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. She serves as a judge of several awards. In 2008, Conde Nast Traveler recognized Ms. Harms as a “Trail Blazer” in Sustainable Tourism and in 2010 she received the HSMAI award for Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing. Ms. Harms holds a degree of Attorney at Law and a master’s degree in Business Administration and Natural Resource Management from INCAE, Central American Institute of Business Administration, in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Born in Costa Rica, Ms. Harms’ native languages are Spanish and German.

[message type="custom" width="100%" start_color="#9DAAC7" end_color="#9DAAC7" border="#BBBBBB" color="#333333"]Participate in the Responsible Tourism events at ITB Asia 2012. Don’t miss out on this chance to meet inspiring people who’ve made a difference in their destinations via tourism. Wild Asia together with other amazing sustainable tourism partners will be at the Responsible Tourism Center booth (Exhibition Hall, L7455). Come meet us and we’d love to have a chat with you! [/message]

RT Clinics Guest Speakers

RT Clinics Guest Speakers

Andrew Jones has worked, over the past 40 years, in a number of senior management and corporate positions in prestigious hotels, resorts and management companies in London, Bermuda, Canada and several countries in Asia.

In 1996 Andrew started a new journey when he founded and became Guardian of Sanctuary Resorts, a company that offers responsible and sustainable tourism experiences where people can balance their body, mind and spirit in an environmentally friendly space.

Andrew was previously Director, Asia Pacific Affairs for the International Hotel and Restaurant Association and a member of the Board of the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization. Andrew is a Certified Hotel Administrator of the American Hotel and Lodging Association and a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.

Andrew is a leading proponent of Corporate Social Responsibility and Wellness, and knowledgeable Speaker, Moderator and Panelist on matters of Responsible and Sustainable Tourism at many Hotel, Environment and Social Enterprise Forums and Conferences. Andrew is a member of the World Travel Market World Responsible Tourism Day Advisory Panel.

Andrew also believes in contributing to the community, is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Kowloon and Chairman Emeritus of the KELY (Kid’s Everywhere Like You) Support Group in Hong Kong.

Vishwaraj Gyawali (Raj Gyawali) is the Founder Director of Socialtours.com, and partner in socialtreks.com. Socialtours.com is a great responsible travel enterprise which started with a small project in 1998 with the goal of leveraging tourism to promote local development in Nepal. The small project has turned into an inspiring leading Responsible Tourism company in Nepal, Tibet, India and Bhutan and one of the first ones to conduct a custom designed RT audit. Currently, Raj looks after the corporate marketing and strategic development of the organization.

Together with a group of community based experts and RT entrepreneurs, he started a project, in 2009, focused on collaboration among localized experts to offer a unique RT product in the Indian subcontinent: the Green Circuit initiative. Gyawali is directly involved in different organizations including United Planet as Co-coordinator for Nepal and Coordinator for Ghana; Nepal River Conservation Trust as Board member; Joy Foundation Nepal as Honorary Life Member; KEEP Nepal as life member, and Namaste Nepal as board member.

Ajay Jain is a full time writer, journalist and photographer based in New Delhi. He is not limited in his medium of expression, equally comfortable writing for newspapers and magazines, as well as his own books and blogs. He is also  engaged in building travel communities both online and offline – through a unique concept called the Kunzum Travel Cafe.

Ajay advises travel companies on how to use new media for brand building and increased sales, and uses the same strategies to promote his traditional and interactive books. 

Supratim Basu, popularly Raj Basu is an activist working in the Easter Himalayas for ‘community livelihood and conservation’ through tourism for almost 25 years now. Founder member of numerous Tourism and Conservation organizations, namely Help Tourism, Association for Conservation & Tourism, Pelling Tourism Development Association, Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society, Upper Assam and Eastern Arunachal Pradesh Biodiversity Conservation and Ecotourism Forum, Indo-Bhutan Friendship Association, Singapore-East Himalaya Program and many more. Often referred to as the ‘Gandhi of Tourism’, Raj has been instrumental in showing the way to ‘Conservation based Tourism with local initiatives’. Raj has been consulted by His Majesty’s Government of Bhutan for their National Ecotourism policy, by UNDP for Rural Tourism projects in India and was recognized for his contribution to tourism in 1998 by His Majesty’s Government of Nepal. He has been instrumental for initiating Cross-Border Tourism for Peace on the Indo-Bangladesh, Indo-Myanmar, Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Nepal borders.

[message type="custom" width="100%" start_color="#9DAAC7" end_color="#9DAAC7" border="#BBBBBB" color="#333333"]Participate in the Responsible Tourism events at ITB Asia 2012. Don’t miss out on this chance to meet inspiring people who’ve made a difference in their destinations via tourism. Wild Asia together with other amazing sustainable tourism partners will be at the Responsible Tourism Center booth (Exhibition Hall, L7455). Come meet us and we’d love to have a chat with you! [/message]

Workshop on Community Based Tourism (Frasers Hill)

The perfect setting for a workshop with WWF Malaysia’s Community Officers – lush green forested areas, cool temperatures and an array of wildlife and flora. The Wild Asia tourism team and Sandra Tagal, director of Borneo Jungle Safari’s was invited to speak at the “Community Based Eco-Tourism workshop” in Frasers Hill on 27-29 June 2012. The two-day workshop saw 15 people from all walks of life coming together to share a common vision and passion – to see communities empowered to venture into alternative source of livelihood via tourism.

Community Officers set the tone at the start of the workshop by giving the team and their colleagues an overview of their project site, initiatives, challenges and lessons learnt. Each took pride in sharing their experiences and each shared a common empathy on the struggles faced when dealing with communities.

A few success stories surfaced from the sharing and among them were the  engagement with tourism operators in Kinabatangan, Sabah. Programme  Officer, Lavernita Bingku talked about her two year journey in putting a conservation and visitor levy for the Kinabatangan, the second longest river in Malaysia that is steadily growing in tourist numbers and businesses.  Kick-starting the implementation of the Conservation Levy Programme was no easy feat; however with the right authorities supporting and continuous support and effort from the Kinabatangan Corridor of Life Tourism Operators (KiTA) themselves, the Conservation Levy Programme was successfully implemented. Through the levy, they’ve raised a substantial amount that will be used for conservation efforts in the within the area.

Another amazing story was that of PEWANIS, a local women’s entrepreneurs group in a coastal village in Setiu, Terengganu. WWF was involved in identifying members for this group and further identifying avenues for secondary source of income for these women. The group started producing banana chips for sale. Although the chips were selling well, profits were not enough to sustain the growing number of women in the group. So, WWF and PEWANIS came together to rehash and agreed on offering low impact nature tourism products and activities to tourists. Strategically located on the coastal front, the village has astounding views of the sea and is easily accessible via boat. There are also major hotels around the area setting the scene for healthy flow of tourists. The women developed and marketed tourism activities such as mangrove tree planting, environmental education activities, kite making and cooking classes. Currently, the group is going strong and all efforts are fully developed and managed independently by the community.

After listening to inspiring stories from around the country, Wild Asia’s associate programme manager, Deborah Chan shared on concepts of community based tourism and eco tourism. She highlighted case studies from around Asia of community led and managed tourism projects. She drew examples from Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award winners and finalists. Among them was Ecosphere, a secluded hilltop village in Spiti, India who successfully established a tourism business that generates half of the community’s income annually, Andaman Discoveries, initially a relief aid NGO set up in Thailand after the tsunami and now a very effective tour operator with responsible community based tourism projects across Thailand. Wild Asia’s responsible tourism coordinator, Amy McLoughlin also enlightened the group with her experiences with two grassroots community projects in India – Kabani Homestays and Agri Tourism India.

Community officers learnt the ingredients that make successful community projects and tools to monitor and measure these successes using standards like the Global Sustainable Criteria (GSTC) and the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Checklist. They also learned the importance of communicating their lessons learnt and ways to market tourism products in order to ensure transparency and profitability.

[pullquote style="left" quote="dark"]Passion and heart for the community are the very essence that determines the success or failure of a community project. People must come first…[/pullquote]

Reflecting on the two-day workshop, Liza Jaafar who’s overseeing a turtle project in Malacca and hoping to develop the destination for turtle tourism expressed that tourism is far more complicated then she thought and she now understands that tourism is a volatile industry and hence it needs to go hand-in-hand with other innovate sources of income.

Another participant, Jennifer Matthew said, “I have learned so much from this workshop particularly the need to involve all members of the community when it comes to decision making and to ensure equitable distribution of wealth. I will take this lessons learnt and implement them for future projects in the highlands of Bario, Sarawak.”

Among the results of the workshop was healthy dialogue about how to introduce tourism into existing community initiatives and ways to establish positive working partnerships with industry players. Wild Asia hopes to partner with WWF to create sustainable community based tourism projects in Malaysia. This two-day workshop is a foretaste of (hopefully) greater collaboration.

Download Presentation

View the slides presented by Wild Asia on Community Based Tourism (CBT). It outlines basic concepts CBT in the context of environmental conservation, economic benefit and development of local communities with case studies of our previous Responsible Tourism. Responsible CBT projects can produce revenues for local communities and improve local attitudes towards conservation. If you would like to engage Wild Asia for future talks or workshops, please contact rt@wildasia.org.

[Download not found]


ITB Asia 2012

Don’t miss out on the change to ‘Learn, Be Inspired and Make a Difference!’ View the slides from the Responsible Clinics and Forum here.

Responsible Tourism Forum & Clinics

October 17-19, 2012, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

ITB Asia offers every year a great stage for a range of events relevant to tourism professionals who consider essential to be updated with the most recent changes and trends in the industry. In this context, Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism team is present every year promoting Responsible Tourism practices through its unique  efforts across the continent.

Engage in a series of personalised clinics and talks to learn and be inspired by leading experts.

Responsible Tourism Clinics

October 17 (Wednesday)

Holistic Property Management with Andrew Jones, Sanctuary Resorts
Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm
Location: Level 1, Exhibition Hall, R3110

October 18 (Thursday)

Responsible Tourism Reporting with Raj Gyawali, Social Tours

Time: 10:00 – 11:00am
Location: Level 1, Exhibition Hall, R3110

Practical Applications of Social Media to Increase Profit in Business with Ajay Jain, Kunzum
Time: 1:00 – 2:00pm
Location: Responsible Tourism Center, Exhibition Hall, L7455

Tourism as a Tool for Conservation with Raj Basu, HELP Tourism
Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm
Location: Responsible Tourism Center, Exhibition Hall, L7455

Responsible Tourism Forum 

October 19 (Friday), 11:00am – 1:00pm
Location: Level 1, Exhibition Hall, R3110

Responsible Tourism (RT) is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.” This year’s RT Forum will unravel Most Inspiring Stories from across Asia of real life accounts of people or companies who have made a difference. It will also feature winners of Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards. Come & learn directly from the best examples and pioneers in Responsible Tourism in Asia. 

We’ve also lined up distinguish speakers in the industry to provide you with invaluable information for your Responsible Tourism journey. Here are the speakers:

Mainstreaming Responsibility in Tourism
Zainab Kakal, The Blue Yonder Associates

Greening the Supply Chain to increase Profit in Business
Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Greenearth Travel, ICTP

New Media as a Strategic Communication in Sustainable Tourism
Jens Thraenthart, Dragon Trail 

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


Event organised and supported by: