Winners: 2014 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards

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On the closing day of this year’s ITB Asia (Marina Bay Sands, Singapore), Wild Asia revealed the 2014 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award Winners as part of the annual Responsible Tourism Forum. Each year, Wild Asia hosts the region’s premier get together for sustainable travel professionals, to share experiences and expertise to like-minded businesses and passionate individuals. The conclusion of this exciting networking event is always the grand revealing of the year’s Responsible Tourism Award recipients.

In line with this year’s UNWTO theme, Wild Asia has highlighted people in destinations in the 2014 Awards with categories dedicated to ethical practices to support host communities and conserve vibrant cultures in destinations around the region. The Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards began in 2006 aligned with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC), enabling local operators to gain international recognition and inspire the tourism industry through sharing their best practices.

Award recipients go through a robust application and judging process, allowing Wild Asia to identify leaders in corporate social responsibility and sustainability who go above and beyond to use tourism as a tool for positive social benefits. First, businesses complete an application based on the GSTC to measure themselves against global standards and benchmark their operations. Wild Asia brings together a group of responsible tourism industry experts as a panel of international judges, who navigate the applicants’ details to identify a pool of Finalists. Finalists then undergo further inspection through site visits and personalised interviewing based on business and destination specific issues the organisation should be addressing. Finally, Winners are selected; these are operators who demonstrate exceptional commitment to continuous improvement, and implement dynamic and creative measures to be a change-maker in the tourism industry.

Best in Community Engagement & Development

WINNER: Borneo Eco Tours, Malaysia

Based in Malaysian Borneo, Borneo Eco Tours has been a pioneer in responsible nature tours since 1991. Two of their most popular destinations in which they operate includes the iconic Kinabatangan River, where guests can enjoy their award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge and Borneo’s famed primates, and Kudat, which provides opportunities for guests to visit and support cottage industries (supported by their partner NGO, BEST) along the scenic coast.

FINALISTS: Reality Tours and Travel, India; Village Ways, India

Best in Cultural Preservation

WINNER: Ock Pop Tok, Laos

Ock Pop Tok is located in the stunning UNESCO town of Luang Prabang in Laos. For the past 15 years they have been working to cultivate and preserve Laos’ textile heritage through sustainable tourism. Today, they have visitor accommodation, a Living Arts Centre, retail outlets and a restaurant – all where visitors can enjoy the colourful textures as rich as Laotian culture. 

FINALIST: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand 

Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative

WINNER: The ChildSafe Network, Cambodia

The ChildSafe Network, delivered by Friends-International, is helping to protect vulnerable children in tourism destinations across Cambodia and other parts of South East Asia. Their 7 Tips for Travellers helps tourists make the right choices in responsible travel to advocate child safety. Beyond that, they’re also working behind the scenes to get children off the streets through vocational training, supporting their parents through jobs, and generating funding and employment through social ventures.

FINALIST: BEST Society, Malaysia

 

If you missed ITB Asia’s Responsible Tourism Events (coordinated in partnership with Wild Asia and the Blue Yonder), presentations from various speakers can be found on our website here. 

Wild Asia plans to launch the 2015 Awards in March next year, and interested businesses should refer to the following website for further news and application forms: www.tourism.wildasia.org

Top 3 Inspiring Stories From Destinations 2014

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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

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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.

Responsible Tourism Event Speakers 2014

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…

2014 Responsible Tourism Clinics & Forum Speakers

Tony July 2014 portrait  copy

Tony Charters

Principal, Tony Charters and Associates

Tony has over 20 years experience in tourism planning, development and management in the public and private sectors. He was a founding director of Ecotourism Australia and has served continuously on the EA board since 1991. For many years he also served on the board and executive of The International Ecotourism Society. An environmental scientist and urban and regional planner by profession, Tony entered the tourism industry after a successful career in World Heritage Area and multi-tenure protected area management. He has worked variously as tourism operator, policy maker and administrator. As Principal of Tony Charters and Associates he provides strategic advice to leading industry operators and government on tourism industry planning, development and investment; destination development; and the sustainable management. Tony convenes the annual the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Conference. He has served since 2004 as a Finalist Judge in the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards hosted by the World Travel and Tourism Council, and as a Destination Stewardship Committee member for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. In 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) by the Governor-General for his services to the ecotourism industry, nature-based recreation and environmental education.

JensJens Thraenhart

Founder, Digital Innovation Asia

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 organization 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), an initiative endorsed by the UNWTO, ASEAN, and PATA, as well as NTOs in Asia, building digital capacity from social to mobile in the travel and tourism industry in Asia Pacific, including innovative initiatives such as E-Tourism Asia, E-Tourism China, Blogger Match-Up, and Digital Aid Asia. He also founded China Travel Trends, as well as award-winning China digital marketing firm Dragon Trail in 2009, and has led marketing and Internet strategy teams with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and has consulted for many global companies. 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 Chair of PATA China, he founded the Annual China Responsible Tourism Forum & Awards in 2011. A dual citizen of Germany and Canada, Jens now lives between Beijing/China and Bangkok/Thailand.

Photo N.DubrocardNicolas Dubrocard

Associate Advisor (Responsible Tourism), 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.

10255116_10152059412692263_3495870044443367807_nDr. Jutamas Jan Wisansing

Executive Director and Consultant, Perfect Link Consulting Group and Education Chair, Pacific Asia Tourism Associations (PATA) Thailand Chapter

She completed a Master’s degree in commerce and management and also a doctorate in tourism planning and destination marketing from Lincoln University, New Zealand. She has now been a tourism lecturer/trainer/coach/consultant for over 17 years. Her extensive researches in destination marketing and management resulted in innovative capacity building and learning tools to develop multi-stakeholders participatory approach for sustainable tourism development and community based tourism programs. She is trained to be professional presenter and Emcee which enhance professional abilities to provide engaged and stimulating workshops and trainings. She has been providing her tourism expertise for various government agencies involving in tourism development in Thailand, for example Tourism Authority of Thailand, Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Pubilc Organisation) Thailand, Tourism Council of Thailand. As a founder, an executive director and principle consultant at Perfect link Consulting Group “a consortium of experts”, her role is also to manage diverse knowledge “think tank”, specializing in capacity building programme, tourism marketing, branding, “Glocalisation” of culinary supply for sustainable procurement, organization development and sustainable tourism development and community participation in sustainable development.

MikeIDMike Nedelko

CRM & Marketing Manager, The Code

Mike brings a wealth of experience in relationship marketing from business-to-business contexts across the private, public and development sector. Over the last 6 years Mike has helped organisations align digital technologies with their organisational goals to develop partnership synergies as well as analyse, engage and mobilize audiences. Before joining The Code in 2014, Mike worked for UNFPA and UNAIDS.

adrienneAdrienne Lee

Program Manager (Asia and Africa), Planeterra

Her work with Planeterra involves evaluating the tourism supply chain and developing market-driven approaches to strengthened and promote community development initiatives, especially those that empower underserved women. With a background in Corporate Social Responsibility, Adrienne has worked with both grassroots NGOs and business-backed non-profits to develop and engage companies with best practices in regards to child and labour rights. Adrienne holds a Master’s in Environmental Applied Science and Management with a focus on environmental sustainability and remediation in communities in The Global South. Adrienne is a firm believer in learning through experience, travel, and those that inspire around you.

Ruben CortesRubén Cortes

Associate Director, Sustainable Building Initiative, Wild Asia

Rubén combines experience in management, business development and education from Europe, Latin America and South East Asia with a great passion for social issues and sustainable models of development. His interest in pragmatic effective solutions drove him to learn what is considered the most radically sustainable housing model: Earthship Biotecture. Ruben has undertaken retrofitting projects, and supported permaculture efforts as a lead builder and workshop facilitator. He was also one of the main coordinators of the Windship project, an effort born as response to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), in the Philippines. Together with Wild Asia, Ruben has now created the Sustainable Building initiative that aims to inspire people to fulfil their basic needs in a comfortable way and in harmony with our planet.

Pliske Profile PictureDaniel Pliske

Sales and Marketing at Access China Tours

Daniel is an avid world traveler who has visited nearly 40 countries on six continents. He worked and traveled in Asia from 2010 through 2012. His three week backpacking trip in Myanmar inspired him to conduct extensive research in graduate school on the future of the country’s tourism industry as well as what sustainable tourism practices/initiatives are currently in place. Daniel holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and a Master’s Degree in Tourism Management from Colorado State University (CSU). He recently began working in sales and marketing for Access China Tours, a boutique luxury tour operator headquartered in Vancouver that provides unforgettable once in a lifetime journeys to various Asian countries, for American and Canadian travelers. Daniel currently resides in Denver, Colorado where he enjoys exploring the great outdoors and traveling in his spare time.

ALbert teoAlbert Teo Chin Kion

Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours & Sukau Rainforest Lodge

A graduate in Economics (Honours) from the University of London in 1977 and has been in the tourism industry for the last thirty seven years. Albert Teo had travelled around the Asia Pacific countries as a keynote speaker on Ecotour and Ecolodge operations. In October 2006, he has been appointed to be the Adjunct Lecturer and in 2013 was conferred a Fellow by Edith Cowan University, Australia for his contribution to the ecotourism industry. His companies Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge through his success formula continue to win international ecotourism awards. He is currently focusing his energy on developing social entrepreneurship through his community/ environment profit foundation under Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society.

Chan Beng SengChan Beng Seng

Coordinator for the Global Alternative Tourism Network (GATN) 

As the coordinator for the Global Alternative Tourism Network of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY), he is involved with local Asian YMCAs and communities that are working to provide alternative and sustainable tourism that is community based, ecologically friendly and economically rewarding for the local hosting communities. The network is also concerned about impact of mass tourism on climate change and tries to promote responsible travel as a tool for ramification. As coordinator of GATN, he provides training and helps local YMCAs to host Alternative Tourism programs. He also facilitates the network of both hosting and sending parties. Beng Seng has 25 years experiences in working with and training young people in fields of faith and social awareness. The APAY is headquartered in Hong Kong and has members in 17 countries in Asia Pacific. The APAY is also related to the World Alliance of YMCAs, a global network.

Jalsa2Jalsa Urubshurow

Founder and CEO, Nomadic Expeditions and the Three Camel Lodge

Mr. Urubshurow is dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism in Mongolia while sharing the wonders of its cultural and natural treasures with travelers from around the world. After the peaceful revolution that brought democracy to Mongolia in 1990, its first Prime Minister recruited Mr. Urubshurow to advise on expanding accessibility to Western travelers which led to the establishment of Nomadic Expeditions. The company has replicated Mr. Urubshurow’s experiences exploring Mongolia’s ecology and culture for thousands of adventurers and Mr. Urubshurow has been named the “World’s Top Travel Specialist” for Mongolia by Condé Nast Traveler for the past 6 consecutive years. In 2002, Nomadic Expeditions opened the Three Camel Lodge, the first true eco-lodge accommodation in Mongolia and a pioneer is sustainable tourism best practices. National Geographic Traveler named the Three Camel Lodge one of the “25 World’s Best Lodges” in 2013. Mr. Urubshurow also served as a judge for the 2011- 2014 Tourism For Tomorrow Award of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). He is the recipient of the Order of Polar Star – the highest civilian award the government of Mongolia – and recently his company Nomadic Expeditions became one of the founding partner sponsors of the World Legacy Awards initiated by the National Geographic Society and ITB Berlin.

 

Responsible Tourism Events At ITB Asia 2014

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Responsible Tourism Forum & Clinics

October 29 – 31, Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Every year, ITB Asia offers practitioners, newbies 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 2014’s series of Responsible Tourism events. Experts and experienced practitioners will be presenting concepts, international standards, lessons learnt, current trends and notable regional case studies. As always, we will be stationed at the Responsible Tourism Centre Booth at Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65. Do come by for a chat with us.

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

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Responsible Tourism Clinics, 30 October 2014 (Thursday)

Venue: Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

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Time Topic & Speaker(s)
10:00 – 10:30am How To Make Community-Based Tourism Work: Multi-stakeholder Success Stories From Thailand
Dr Jutamas Jan Wisansing, Executive Director and Consultant, Perfect Link Consulting Group and Education Chair, Pacific Asia Tourism Associations (PATA) Thailand Chapter
10:30 – 11:00am Developing Community Tourism Businesses as part of the Tour Operator Supply Chain
Adrienne Lee, Program Manager (Asia & Africa), Planeterra
11:00am – 12:00noon Revealing Of The Top 3 Winners of the Inspiring Stories Competition
2:00 – 2:30pm Child Sex Tourism is a Risk for Asian Destinations and Companies
Mike Nedelko, CRM & Marketing Manager, The Code
2:30 – 3:00pm Sustainable Practices – Small Ways That Lead to Big Improvements & Cost Saving
Ruben Cortes, Associate Director, Sustainable Building Initiative, Wild Asia
3:00 – 3:30pm Burma’s Reopening to the World: An Examination of Sustainable Tourism Development in the 21st Century
Daniel PliskeSales and Marketing at Access China Tours
 3:30 – 4:00pm Creating Competitive Advantage Through Responsible Tourism Practices
Albert Teo Chin Kion, Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours & Sukau Rainforest Lodge
 4:00 – 4:30pm Climate Change And Tourism
Chan Beng Seng, Coordinator for the Global Alternative Tourism Network (GATN)
* See below for more details about each clinic. 

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MAIN EVENT:

Responsible Tourism Forum & Networking, 31 October 2014 (Friday)

Venue: Conference Room Hibiscus, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall D1

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Time Details
11:00am – 1:00pm RESPONSIBLE TOURISM FORUM & NETWORKING & WILD ASIA’s RESPONSIBLE TOURISM AWARDS CEREMONY 
Join us for an inspiring forum session as we discuss four hot topics that surround responsible tourism. Speakers will push the envelope to discuss sustainable tourism market trends, provide tools and applications in achieving sustainability and share an incredible case study of sustainability in Gobi. The following are the four topics:

  • Cost Effective Ways To Achieving Sustainable Tourism Best Practices, Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters and Associates
  • Eco labels for hotel, why you should commit, what benefits you should expect, Nicolas Dubrocard, Associate Advisor, Wild Asia 
  • Sustainable Tourism Trends, Emerging Markets & New Media, Jens Thraenhart, Founder, Digital Innovation Asia 
  • Evolution of an Ecolodge: Lessons from the Gobi, Jalsa Urubshurow, Founder and CEO, Nomadic Expeditions and the Three Camel Lodge

Following the forum, winners of the notable Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards 2014 will be announced. Guests are invited to mingle and network after the event over some light refreshments.

* See below for more details on the forum topics. 

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countrysideHow To Make Community-Based Tourism Work: Multi-stakeholder Success Stories From Thailand 

Speaker: Dr Jutamas Jan Wisansing, Executive Director and Consultant, Perfect Link Consulting Group and Education Chair, Pacific Asia Tourism Associations (PATA) Thailand Chapter
30 October (Thursday), 10:00 – 10:30am @ the Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

Stories from 13 selected communities from 6 designated areas for sustainable tourism development will be shared. These communities have been on the systematic process to manage the resource vulnerabilities and risks of being too overly popular, together with multi-stakeholders co-create community tourism products to meet market demand based on an appreciation of community local wisdoms. The clinic’s discussion will be focused on how to ensure CBTs are sustained on a long term basis – what’s the secret behind thriving CBTs?

Beyond Unique Escapes (3)Developing Community Tourism Businesses as part of the Tour Operator Supply Chain

Speaker: Adrienne Lee, Program Manager (Asia & Africa), Planeterra
30 October (Thursday), 10:30 – 11:00am @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

This presentation is about incorporating sustainable practices that empower local communities into tour operator supply chains. The tour operator working directly with its foundation, is working directly with communities to empower under served women and youth to access market-driven approaches to create sustainable businesses. There is often a resource gap between non-profit organizations and blended-social purpose businesses that are attempting to benefit the communities in which they work. Without a strong market, these non-profits or community tourism projects often fold and fail. However, when partnered with a for-profit operator, tourism businesses have one of the greatest reaches and spread to provide opportunity for marginalized communities, and allow social enterprises to scale, access knowledge transfer, and develop their first revenue generating programs.

LOGO_Inspiring Stories from Destinations_2012-page-001Revealing Of The Top 3 Winners of the Inspiring Stories Competition 2014

30 October (Thursday), 11:00am – 12:00pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

Come and be inspired by change setters in the tourism industry! The top 3 winners of this annual competition are operators with an amazing story to tell. They have been selected based on their exceptional efforts in preserving destinations and shaping local communities. This is your chance to glean from their experience & be inspired to make a difference! Read 2012 and 2013 winning Inspiring Stories.

DSC_0242Child Sex Tourism is a Risk for Asian Destinations and Companies

Speaker: Mike Nedelko, CRM & Marketing Manager, The Code
30 October (Thursday), 2:00 – 2:30pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

The Code would like to highlight the need for child protection as part of responsible and sustainable tourism and present it in the context of “crisis and risk management”. Even in Asian tourism sphere, the current initial thoughts of “crisis and risk management” may invoke precautions to prevent natural disasters that can impact tourism, such as tsunami and floods. However, there is also a real risk for a destination’s or a company’s brand and reputation when it comes to crimes of sexual exploitation of children or other crimes relating to children.

resefSustainable Practices – Small Ways That Lead to Big Improvements & Cost Saving 

Speaker: Ruben Cortes, Associate Director, Sustainable Building Initiative, Wild Asia 
30 October (Thursday), 2:30 – 3:00pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

Sustainability is important for all tourism businesses, rural and urban. There has never been a better time to act for the benefit of your business and the “bottom line”. In this clinic session, Ruben will speak about some basic systems and ways that businesses can adopt to reduce negative impacts on the environment, reduce utility bills and ultimately benefit the business on the long run. The presentation will focus on proven steps that businesses can take in order to reduce their environmental impact in an affordable and effective way.

myanmarBurma’s Reopening to the World: An Examination of Sustainable Tourism Development in the 21st Century

Speaker: Daniel PliskeSales and Marketing at Access China Tours
30 October (Thursday), 3:00 – 3:30pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

Now that Myanmar’s government has recently begun allowing travellers/tourists to freely enter the country, the formerly non-developed tourism industry is quickly becoming a major contributor to the nation’s economy. With these quickly increasing visitor numbers, tourism infrastructure development must focus on steady sustainability if it is to succeed as well as provide substantial benefits and opportunities for the country as a whole. The future of Myanmar’s tourism industry is dependent on sustainability practices and initiatives and therefore, must imitate its neighbor’s positive examples in order to preserve vast natural resources for future generations. Myanmar’s tourism development and future perceptions as an international tourist destination will have great implications for Southeast Asia as a whole, as they quickly become a key player in the regions tourism industry.

Spice villageCreating Competitive Advantage Through Responsible Tourism Practices

Speaker: Albert Teo, Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours & Sukau Rainforest Lodge 
30 October (Thursday), 3:30 – 4:00pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

In a highly competitive business environment, brands are required to push the envelope to create evergreen unique selling propositions (USP). Albert will present three case studies based on the award winning Borneo Eco Tours, Sukau Rainforest Lodge, and Borneo Ecotourism, Solutions and Technologies Society (BEST), a non-profit foundation. The strategies discussed are from lessons learnt after being in business for 23 years. They include triple bottom line concepts, specialized responsible tourism practices that improve operations synergy and leverage on business strengths. Albert will also discuss challenges faced and solutions applied when dealing with community projects.

Beach stormTourism And Climate Change 

Speaker: Chan Beng Seng, Coordinator for the Global Alternative Tourism Network (GATN) 
30 October (Thursday), 4:00 – 4:30pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

With its close connections to the environment and climate itself, tourism is considered to be a vulnerable and highly climate-sensitive economic sector. Climate affects a wide range of environmental resources that are essential attraction factors for tourism. Climate change will make destinations less attractive and jeopardize major sources of income. There are direct impacts like altered seasonal patterns or coastal erosion, loss of beach area and higher costs to protect and maintain waterfronts. Also there are indirect impacts of climate change like water shortages. Higher costs for risk management for touristic infrastructure might change the demand side of tourism markets or the visitor numbers. Furthermore, the awareness of tourists towards climate change and other environmental issues is likely to be a major driver of their future holiday choices. Operators that do not adapt to this emerging ‘climate aware’ market risk losing market share to more responsive competitors. This clinic will discuss the important relation between climate change and tourism, and will try to show some alternatives and help to promote a responsible and sustainable tourism, which bring not only benefits for the tourism industry but also to the people whose livelihood depends on tourism.

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Responsible Tourism Forum & Networking 

31 October (Friday), 11:00am – 1:00pm @ Conference Room Hibiscus, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall D1

Join us for an inspiring forum session as we discuss four hot topics that surround responsible tourism. Speakers will push the envelope to discuss sustainable tourism market trends, provide tools and applications in achieving sustainability and share an incredible case study of sustainability in Gobi. The following are the four topics:


Evason Phuket

Cost Effective Ways To Achieving Sustainable Tourism Best Practices 

Speaker: Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters and Associates
It is easy to assume that only high tech solutions can be applied to achieve sustainability. This may be the case for economies that have very high labour costs and relatively cheap access to technology. In economies where labour costs are low and imported technology is very expensive there are alternative solutions to achieve sustainability and to provide memorable tourism experiences. This presentation will draw on case studies from across the globe and relate the findings that are relevant to the ASEAN region.

all inclusive holiday Eco Labels for Hotels: Why You Should Commit & What Benefits You Should Expect

Speaker: Nicolas Dubrocard, Associate Advisor, Wild Asia
Eco labels for hotels represent great challenges and lead to many questions, we will answer them during this presentation. We will highlight the advantages of a sustainable approach to face potential environmental crisis such as water shortage. We will discuss the guest new requirements in terms of environmental respect and the green market positioning. We will take into account the impact of competing for an eco label on the staff. We will browse the operating costs savings linked to a sound environmental management system. Finally we will introduce Wild Asia solutions to support your efforts to get an eco label.

next genSustainable Tourism Trends, Emerging Markets & New Media

Speaker: Jens Thraenhart, Founder, Digital Innovation Asia

In a dynamic, ever-changing, and robust sector, sustainable tourism pioneers and leaders need to be constantly adapting to the changing environment in their approach to do business better, thus continually leaving a positive impact. Understanding current market and technology is also important to responding to appropriate strategic approach. Sustainable tourism is emerging and businesses need to gear up for the next generation of informed travellers.

three-camel-lodge-02Evolution of an Ecolodge: Lessons from the Gobi

Speaker: Jalsa Urubshurow, Founder and CEO, Nomadic Expeditions and the Three Camel Lodge

What makes a lodge “eco”? While” reduce, reuse and recycle” are fundamental aspects of environmentally friendly operations, a true ecolodge goes beyond the green footprint to embrace direct support for cultural and natural heritage, while delivering meaningful social and economic benefits to local people. This presentation tells the story of how Mongolia’s pioneer Three Camel Lodge became recognized by National Geographic as one of the world’s 25 best lodges by developing a successful business model based upon sustainable tourism best practices.

Awards

Following the forum, the Winners of the Wild Asia’s 2014 Responsible Tourism Award will be revealed. Esteemed winners will be announced, each representing a specific category; community engagement, cultural preservation and overall most inspiring responsible tourism operator. 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 meet the people behind Asia’s leading sustainable tourism organizations. Read more about this year’s Award Finalists.

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

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Event organised and supported ITB Asia, Wild Asia, The Blue Yonder and ITB Berlin”s Official Partner Country 2015 – Mongolia, Nomadic by Nature:

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Call For Inspiring Stories 2014

Do you want your responsible tourism story heard at Asia’s biggest business-to-business travel trade show?

Well, we want to hear from you! LOGO_Inspiring Stories from Destinations_2012-page-001

This year, Wild Asia together with Gaia Discovery is on a lookout for inspiring travel stories from within the industry. We are inviting exceptional tourism businesses and projects from across Asia to submit their inspiring story.

Have you empowered local people? Saved a rare wildlife species? Protected an area’s cultural heritage? Innovated ways to run a tourism business that is kinder to the environment? Have you through the power of tourism used it as a force for good? We want to hear your story.

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.

Check out winners from the 2012 and 2013 Inspiring Stories competition!

What we’re looking for?

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. (Terms below)

What’s in it for you?

  • Top 3 Winners will receive complimentary tickets to ITB Asia’s Responsible Tourism Events and will be given 15 minutes each to share their story on the Responsible Tourism stage to an audience of like minded tourism professionals and potential customers.
  • Top 3 Winners will have their story published on the Wild Asia’s website and Gaia Discovery’s website.
  • Top 3 Winners will benefit from the reach of both Wild Asia and Gaia Discovery’s social media networks.

How to enter

Submit your stories in any of the following form:

  • In words; no more than 1,000 words
  • Video; no more than 5 minutes
  • Slideshow; no more than 15 slides

Email your entries to rt@wildasia.org by 14th September 2014 (Sunday). Please title your email “RT Stories for RT Event at ITB Asia 2014″ and include your Name, Email, Organization and Destination in your email. Successful applicants will be notified via email by 30th September, 2014. Winners will be invited to speak at ITB Asia (terms below).

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Inspiring Stories is part of the annual Responsible Tourism networking events that started in 2009. Organised and supported by ITB AsiaWild Asia and this year with the inclusion of Gaia Discovery, this annual event hopes to bring together sustainable tourism practitioners to share, engage, learn and be inspired to make a difference.

Terms & Conditions

  • Previous winners of Inspiring Stories (Top 3 or Top 10) cannot apply.
  • 2014 Finalists of the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards cannot apply.
  • Past Winners of the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards cannot apply.
  • Businesses or projects that have current engagements with Wild Asia and/or Gaia Discovery cannot apply.
  • Business or project must be based in Asia.
  • Free entry to ITB Asia for Top 3 Winners on the day of the Inspiring Stories event (TBC) only. Travel to and from Singapore or accommodation to attend the event is not included.
  • Stories are judged by a panel of responsible tourism experts and their decision is final.
  • Applicants acknowledge that the Top 3 Winners of Inspiring Stories 2014 will have their story and images published on Wild Asia and Gaia Discovery websites.

Inspiring Stories From Destinations is a competition jointly organized by ITB Asia, Wild Asia and Gaia Discovery.

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ChildSafe Network – 2014 Finalist

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6INITIATIVE ICONThe ChildSafe Network, delivered by Friends International, is helping to protect vulnerable children in tourism destinations across Cambodia and other parts of South East Asia. Travellers can sometimes unknowingly put children at risk of exploitation, and the ChildSafe 7 Tips helps tourists make the right choices in responsible travel to advocate child safety. Beyond that, ChildSafe is also working behind the scenes to get children off the streets, through vocational training, supporting their parents through employment, and generating employment through social ventures.

Here’s a snapshot of some of their key achievements, and reasons why Wild Asia has identified them as one of our 2014 Finalists in the category Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative…

  • The ChildSafe Network is a holistic and multifaceted child protection program run by Friends International since 2004, both globally and in destination countries (most well known in Cambodia) throughout South East Asia.
  • The aim is to raise awareness of child protection through the tourism industry, through media campaigns, grassroots campaigning, training of tourists, training and certification of businesses, supporting the income generation of marginalized families, and responding to child abuse through the ChildSafe Hotline.
  • By providing training and certification to tourism businesses, more establishments are issuing child protection policies, and communicating messages to travellers. To date around 5,000 businesses are now engaged in promoting child safety through tourism.
  • The ChildSafe 7 Tips for Travellers is now available in nine languages, and published in international departure airports and agencies, and at arrival airports and agencies in this region. More than 3 million travellers have been exposed to this campaign.
  • Conducts awareness raising on the streets and in communities of the at risk children, educating them how they can protect themselves and where they can seek help.
  • Through their hotline, they are protecting around 2,000 children per year. Social workers respond to calls to safeguard children.
  • They have retail outlets providing opportunities for caregivers to sell products they make and provide financial stability to keep their children in school. In 2013 sales amounted to $450,000, supporting 450 caregivers and over 1,300 children, as well as providing income for Friend’s other social service programmes.
  • Across our region, there are country specific ethical tourism issues. For example, in Cambodia orphanage tourism is prevalent, as are baby milk scams and begging. ChildSafe responds to specific challenges, creating campaigns to raise awareness and tackle the issue through educational materials.
  • Whilst many of their funding needs are met through generous donations, their social enterprise model is increasing and making the programme more financially sustainable. In the busy tourist town of Siem Reap alone, you can support their work by eating at their restaurant, shopping at one of their retail outlets, getting your hair done at their salon, or fixing your moto and their new bike repair shop.

 

For more information about the ChildSafe Network, please visit their website.

(Photo credit Robert Buchan)

 

BEST Society – 2014 Finalist

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6INITIATIVE ICONBEST Society, which stands for Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies, supports rural communities in Malaysia’s Sabah establish and improve their own social enterprises, improving their quality of life through business. Moving away from charity, now the NGO focuses on capacity building in social entrepreneurship, and is increasing access to markets for cottage industry artisans.

Here’s a snapshot of some of their key achievements, and reasons why Wild Asia has identified them as one of our 2014 Finalists in the category Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative…

  • BEST was founded by Borneo Eco Tours, and Sukau Rainforest Lodge, as an organisation to provide welfare to communities to develop social entrepreneurship.
  • The objectives are promote responsible tourism, generate secondary incomes through nature tourism, education, test sustainable technologies in local setting, provide capacity building, develop code of practice for ecolodges in Sabah, multi-stakeholder dialogue and management.
  • As well as tree planting, health and dental camps, clean water projects and more, BEST has also delivered training to establish longhouse properties, organic farming techniques, and responsible tourism.
  • Liaise with community leaders and committees about setting up projects to respond to their needs.
  • Adopted 65 acres of riverine landscape and reforested the land, preventing soil erosion into the river and maintaining wildlife habitats.
  • Organised free medical camps and issued water tanks benefiting 56 families.
  • Around 50% of BEST activities are funded through private donations or grant funding, and the rest is generated through a sustainable financial structure via contributions from every guest at Sukau Rainforest Lodge.

 

For more information about the BEST Society, please visit their website.

 

Ock Pop Tok – 2014 Finalist

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2CULTURAL PRS  ICONOck Pop Tok is located in the stunning UNESCO town of Luang Prabang in Laos. For 15 years they have been working to cultivate and preserve Laos’ textile heritage through sustainable tourism. Today, they have visitor accommodation, a Living Arts Centre, retails outlets, and restaurant – where visitors can enjoy the colourful textures as rich as Laotian culture.

Here’s a snapshot of some of their key achievements, and reasons why Wild Asia has identified them as one of our 2014 Finalists in the category Best in Cultural Preservation…

  • Ock Pop Tok has been constructed by renovating a traditional Lao home, and the full design has been approved by UNESCO.
  • Their Living Arts Centre provides classes and workshops in traditional arts and techniques, such as weaving and dyeing.
  • Food served in their restaurant is inspired by Lao cuisine, and sourced locally from organic farmers and markets.
  • They run a Village Weaver Project which builds the capacity of artisans and connect them to markets. This is run in partnership with local NGOs and is currently delivered in 11 provinces.
  • Each guest room is designed in keeping with Lao ethnic groups, each with a unique theme giving a real sense of place for every visitor.
  • Ock Pop Tok regards themselves as an engine for growth and awareness of culture beyond Lao border.  Visitors from far and wide can explore their gallery of beautiful pieces, directly benefiting the weavers when purchasing local crafts. They share weaving techniques in foreign countries so that other artisans can learn and enhance their own culture.
  • Currently, they are providing a fair living wage to more than twenty artisans.

 

For more information about Ock Pop Tok, please visit their website.

 

Andaman Discoveries – 2014 Finalist

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2CULTURAL PRS  ICONAndaman Discoveries in Thailand was born out of tragedy, and formed shortly after the Boxing Day Tsunami when villagers decided that community-based tourism would allow them to generate additional income and support their traditions, culture, and lifestyle. Since then, Andaman Discoveries has been offering various tours (volunteer trips, family holidays, and educational visits for schools) to empower the local community. Their Moken Experience tour supports nomadic communities preserve their culture through responsible tourism.

Here’s a snapshot of some of their key achievements, and reasons why Wild Asia has identified them as one of our 2014 Finalists in the category Best in Cultural Preservation…

  • Education is key at Andaman Discoveries. As well as offering educational tours to school groups, they also work to educate all guests by providing information in the following forms: Pre-Departure Guide, In-Village Guide, Visitor’s Phrasebook, Koh Surin Moken In-Village Guide, and Koh Surin Moken Way of Life.
  • They have created a library collection on local Moken culture. Moken Sea Nomads, an ancient sea people who have lived along Thailand’s North Andaman coast for thousands of years. Traditionally nomadic, the Moken are hunter-gatherers that live in harmony with nature. Guests are encouraged to learn more to discover how they can help preserve this culture that faces challenges of modernisation.
  • A translator accompanies guests on village tours and if they are attending traditional ceremonies, so that customs can be communicated.
  • They advocate traditional building within the community, and the use of sustainable building materials.
  • Guests can learn more about traditional Thai family life by staying at one of their partner homestays . Fun activities include learning how to prepare local food dishes.
  • To support local artisans, they have a shop which provides the opportunity for seven villages to sell their products and traditional crafts.
  • Their historic tours have resulted in the Moken community sharing their wisdom with others and have been inspired to build traditional boats to inform guests about their nomadic heritage. Tours introduce guests to the traditional lifestyle and culture of local communities, which help local communities develop a sense of place and provide the guest with a greater understanding of the area’s cultural heritage.
  • Moken communities have been integral in the development of tours, based on their recommendation. Jobs have been generated for engaged individuals, who have also benefited from capacity building in sustainable tourism development.

 

For more information about Andaman Discoveries, please visit their website.