Kinyei – Winner, Responsible Tourism Initiative

WINNER – 2015 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative

Kinyei combines two initiatives, Kinyei Café and Soksabike to enrich their local community in Battambang. Through Soksabike, tourists experience an off-the-beaten-track side of Cambodia. Guests begin and end their cycling journey with a refreshing visit to Kinyei Café, which offers training programs for local youth.

Kinyei is run mostly by university students and recent graduates who work and study part-time. The staff often come from under-privileged backgrounds and gain valuable work experience in areas such as customer service, finance, IT, English, administration, and management. Through their jobs at Kinyei, staff are able to finance their university educations while on and off-site job trainings and workshops allow them to grow both professionally and personally. Soon staff will be able to take even more ownership of their work at Kinyei. Now that the two businesses are self-sustaining, Kinyei plans to move forward onto their next phase of local ownership by offering employee profit share and manager share holdings.

Soksabike, which is patroned primarily by foreign tourists takes guests on bicycle journies to visit local cottage industries. These small, family-run businesses make products such as rice paper, bamboo sticky rice, and dried bananas. During their visits guests have the opportunity to sample the products while learning about the production process, Cambodian history, and how and why the families began their businesses. In the future, Soksabike hopes to expand their tour offerings to include a homestay program, multiple-day tours, and tuk tuk tours utilising eco-friendly, solar-powered tuk tuks.

Kinyei Café handles all of the tour bookings and bicycle rentals for Soksabike and is both the starting and ending point for the tours, ensuring customers get a refreshing beverage pre and post ride. The Café is also the hub for all of Kinyei’s responsible tourism marketing information outlining the associations various sustainable initiatives.

Kinyei Café prides itself on serving exceptional coffee, using beans sustainably harvested from Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Two of the Café’s baristas competed and won the Cambodian National Barista Championships in 2012 and 2013 and have competed internationally as well. In addition to their excellent coffee selections, Kinyei Café provides an inviting atmosphere for locals and tourists alike while offering space for meetings and workshops to local nonprofits free of charge.

Contributing to the local communities and maintaining those relationships is of utmost importance to Kinyei. Profits are shared with the families visited during Soksabike’s tours while Kinyei Café provides space for local artisans to showcase their work. Kinyei also organises workshops on environmental protection and heritage preservation for local schools and businesses to educate and positively influence the local communities in sustainability.

For more information about Kinyei, visit their website:

Watch their video here

CBT Vietnam – Finalist, Responsible Tourism Initiative

FINALIST - 2015 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative

Dedicated to using tourism as a means to protect vulnerable ethnic communities, CBT Vietnam developed sustainable tourism training initiatives in the rural villages of Tavan, Taphin, which have become completely self-sufficient, and Lao Chai. These local communities have been empowered to establish tourism-related businesses and homestays.

CBT Vietnam began after an instructor from Capilano University (one of CBT Vietnam’s founding partners) visited the region and was inspired by the potential of working with unique villages and cultures to develop community based tourism programs. Since then CBT Vietnam has demonstrated a long-term commitment to protecting vulnerable, ethnic hilltribe culture through tourism. In addition to their on-the-ground training programs CBT Vietnam promotes awareness of vulnerable cultures and responsible tourism through their web presence, films, and social media.

From the beginning ommunity involvement has been essential in developing CBT Vietnam’s programs. Before any programs could be implemented CBT Vietnam spent a lot of time building relationships and trust in the communities where they planned on working. Since then the communities have embraced the value and uniqueness of their cultures. Many of the training modules and learning initiatives were generated by the communities, which ensures members are engaged and take ownership of their economic futures.

CBT Vietnam’s training initiatives include providing general tourism knowledge to the community, community tourism planning for local authorities and community stakeholders, entrepreneurship for youth and women, business development, and environmental stewardship. In the future CBT Vietnam hopes to establish an independent school in association with a local social enterprise that will maintain training for all ethnic groups in the Sapa region.

During their training local participants were given opportunities to experience tourism from a different perspective by travelling to Hanoi and becoming consumers of tourism services themselves. They met with tour operators, patroned hotels and restaurants, and utilised visitor information services. The experience allowed the participants to learn about what makes a positive tourism experience so they can improve the services they offer visitors to their community.

For more information about CBT Vietnam, visit their website:

Watch their video here

EXO Foundation – Finalist, Responsible Tourism Initiative

FINALIST - 2015 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative

EXO Foundation believes in fostering sustainable development through responsible tourism practices, which they accomplish by guiding their tourism branch, EXO Travel, and financially supporting sustainable projects.

Earlier this year EXO Travel was awarded the Travelife certification for excellence in sustainability. The certification recognises their long-term efforts towards sustainability and corporate, social, and environmental responsibility. EXO Foundation took on supervising the certification process as well as its implementation by training and empowering EXO Travel staff to follow best practices, such as banning school and orphanage visits on tours. Through this certification, along with their focus on donating to a wide range of charitable projects across Southeast Asia, EXO Foundation hopes to make a positive difference in local communities and entire destinations by influencing better practices in the travel industry.

One of their unique projects, spearheaded along with COMPED (The Cambodian Education and Waste Management Organisation), tackles waste management issues: Don’t Waste Your Waste. The campaign aims to reuse plastic bottles for construction and has already built a plastic bottle/brick house in Battambang. They also developed a comic strip, which informs about the risks associated with disposing plastic waste from several angles: environmental, spiritual, and health as well as the impact of dirty tourist sites on a destinations image and the financial costs for urban centers. COMPED has adopted the comic as a tool in their “Clean city, clean resort” campaign and have distributed copies to schools and universities.

EXO Foundation plans to continue their environmental conservation efforts by partnering with NEXUS, a carbon offset program. They also hope to continue teaming up with local responsible tourism operators on sustainability campaigns, like their “Don’t Waste Your Waste” program.

For more information about EXO Foundation, visit their website:

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.

itb-asia-logo~2    LogoverticalTBY logo final sept 29

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).

2015 Responsible Tourism Awards Finalists

PATA Travel Mart has Sustainability Centre Stage – Wild Asia Awards

Now in their ninth year, the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, has just announced their 2015 Finalists.

The 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. Participants also benefit from gaining third party verification from the panel of esteemed expert judges.

This September, Winners will be officially announced and celebrated at the 2015 PATA Travel Mart in Bangalore. “Sustainability is one of the main advocacy themes of the Association and an important issue to address when we talk about the responsible development of travel and tourism,” said Mario Hardy, PATA CEO. “We are therefore delighted to host the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards at this year’s Travel Mart and share in the celebration of tourism organisations that truly exemplify what it means to be sustainable. Wild Asia is a valued PATA Sustainability Partner, and a special partner of the Responsible Travel Pavilion at PTM, a space where like-minded organisations can gather, share knowledge, and build business.”

Best in Community Engagement and Development
This award recognizes exceptional commitment to supporting the local community and economy in which your business operates.

Best in Protection of Natural Areas & Wildlife Conservation
This award recognizes tourism businesses’ consideration of their local environment and biodiversity by actively supporting and protecting their natural assets.

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

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

Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative
This award recognizes grass-roots initiatives championing responsible tourism within their destination.

Over the next couple of months, all Finalists will undergo further rigorous investigation to determine the 2015 Winners. During this time, thorough open-source articles will become available on the Wild Asia website for each of these businesses or projects. The aim of sharing their successes, challenges, and
lessons learned, is to inspire and influence the industry to adopt measures to become more socially and environmentally responsible.

For those wishing to join the PATA Travel Mart and celebrate alongside the winners, the deadline for applying to showcase your business at the Responsible Travel Pavilion is 30th June 2015. Full details can be found at here.

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.

2015 Awards Call for Entries

The 2015 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards is now welcoming applications.

Now in its ninth year, the Wild Asia Awards remain the only programme dedicated to identifying travel industry leaders in sustainability across Asia. The Awards are founded on international standards (the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria) and provide a unique opportunity for businesses, organisations, and destinations across the region to benchmark their operations against global criteria, and be assessed free of charge by renowned experts in the field.

This year, there are seven categories available:

  • Best in Community Engagement & Development
  • Best in Cultural Preservation
  • Best in Protection of Natural Areas & Wildlife Conservation
  • Best in Resource Efficiency
  • Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Destination
  • Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative
  • Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator

For the first time, the Awards will be celebrated at the PATA Travel Mart, which this year is being held in Bangalore, India. The celebration provides a whole host of added benefits for Award recipients, such as complimentary admittance to the trade show, opportunities for buyer meetings, networking, and invitation to speak at PATA Talks events on responsible tourism. In addition, Winners will also be invited to attend ITB Asia, the region’s biggest B2B travel trade show, free of charge and may facilitate the regional responsible tourism clinics.

Applicants can download their application forms from the Wild Asia website, and can submit their entries up until 15th May 2015.

For further details, please contact

DOWNLOAD Press Release

Winners: 2014 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards


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: