2009 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

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

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

Large to Mid-sized Accommodation Operators

WINNER: ITC Mughal, Agra, India

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

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

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

 

Mid-size to Small Accommodation Operators

WINNER: El Nido Resorts, Philippines

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

FINALIST: Soneva Fushi, Kunfunadhoo, Maldives

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

FINALIST: Nikoi, Indonesia

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

 

Community-Based Homestay Operators

WINNER: Sunderbans Jungle Camp, Bali Island, India

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

FINALIST: Lamai Homestay, Amphur Bua Yai, Thailand

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

FINALIST: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand

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

 

Acknowledgments

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

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

2008 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

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

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

Community Based Homestay

WINNER: Ecosphere Spiti, India

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

FINALIST: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand

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

 

Budget Accommodation

WINNER: Tree Tops Jungle Lodge, Sri Lanka

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

FINALIST: Fasaai Resort and Spa, Thailand

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

 

Mid Range Resorts and Hotel

WINNER: Alila Manggis Bali, Indonesia

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

FINALIST: Alila Ubud Bali, Indonesia

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

 

Luxury and Boutique Resort

WINNER: Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi, Thailand

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

FINALIST: El Nido Resorts, Philippines

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

 

Acknowledgments

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

2007 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

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

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

Community or Family-run Homestays

WINNER: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand

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

FINALIST: Tmatboey Thoeun Krasaing Ibis Tourism Site, Cambodia

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

 

Wildlife Lodges, Eco-resorts and Dive Resorts

WINNER: Udayana Eco Lodge, Indonesia

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

FINALIST: Sarinbuana Eco Lodge, Indonesia

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

 

Luxury and Boutique Resorts

WINNER: The Spice Village, India

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

 

FINALIST: Evason Phuket and Six Senses Spa, Thailand

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

 

Acknowledgments

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

2006 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

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

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

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

Luxury-Boutique Resorts & Hotels

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

Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa, Thailand

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

Alila Manggis, Bali, Indonesia

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

Alila Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

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

Eco-ventures Lodges and Homestays

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

Nanga Sumpa Lodge, Sarawak, Malaysia

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

The Best of Langkawi 2006

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

Tanjung Rhu Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia

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

 

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