Borneo Eco Tours – 2014 Finalist

Borneo Eco web

1COMMUNITY ICONBorneo Eco Tours, based in Malaysian Borneo, 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 Sukau Rainforest Lodge and Borneo’s primates, and Kudat, which provides opportunities for guests to visit and support cottage industries along the scenic coast.

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 Community Engagement and Development…

  • In 1996 Borneo Eco Tours established a non-profit foundation, BEST Society, to deliver community projects in destinations in which they operate. To date, this has included installing water tanks to villages with no access to clean water, medical and dental camps, introducing organic farming projects in rural areas, and tree planting.
  • They are very committed to sourcing staff locally, and pride themselves that 100% local of their team is made up of local people, including management level.  Furthermore, staff have access to great benefits such as a higher than national minimum wage, medical benefits, recreation activities, allowances for overtime, and special skills training.
  • After more than two decades of successful business, Borneo Eco Tours shares its expertise and access to useful contacts with other budding entrepreneurs. They have been training local community members in tourism and supporting them to establish their own social enterprise. Some examples include: increasing access to markets for artisans (e.g. beaded jewellery makers, weavers, coconut oil and honey producers), sending 50 farmers on an organic farming training course,  and technical support to accommodation proprietors.
  • As big believers in sharing their cultural heritage, many tours include visits to cottage industries which support the local economy.
  • To date, their operations have generated approximately $127,000 for community and environmental projects. They have achieved this by including a levy on every guest’s bill which automatically is invested into local BEST projects.

 

For more information about Borneo Eco Tours, please visit their website.

 

 

 

 

Reality Tours & Travel – 2014 Finalist

Reality web

1COMMUNITY ICONReality Tours and Travel is based in Mumbai and is most famous for their Dharavi slum tour. Following the success of their ever expanding product range in the city, they have recently spread their wings to the capital, Kerala, and Rajasthan. Their tagline is “see the real India”; guests get beyond tourism to experience authentic destinations in India, and their unique social business structure supports community development projects along the way.

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 Community Engagement and Development…

  • Reality’s Dharavi slum tours showcase the enterprising heart of this community. The tour gives guests an insight into this bustling destination, but there is a strict no photo policy and responsible clothing guidelines for guests to reduce their impact.
  • They have established a sister NGO, Reality Gives, and 80% of profit from all tours goes to the charity to improve the quality of life in the community they operate in. Programs include: community centre, youth empowerment program, English language classes, computer classes, girls football club, library, and curriculum development.
  • Around 93% of Reality’s staff comes from the surrounding area, with many from the Dharavi community itself.
  • Committed to continuously improving themselves, they recently commissioned an external consultant to gather feedback from Dharavi residents. As a result, they are improving on areas identified, including enhancing the reach of their NGO work.
  • In a culture where girls sometimes have to take the back seat, Reality Gives is creating opportunities for girls in activities they would normally not be able to partake in. Through their girls’ football program, they are learning leadership skills, responsibility, friendship, and English.

 

For more information about Reality Tours and Travel, please visit their website.

 

Village Ways – 2014 Finalist

Village Ways web

1COMMUNITY ICONVillage Ways offers eye-opening experiences in India, Nepal, and Ethiopia. In each destination guests can experience the essence of the destination by spending time with families and communities. Each place of stay is an autonomous business belonging to the community, typically a specially constructed or restored village guesthouse, providing direct benefits to your hosts.

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 Community Engagement and Development…

  • Many of the homestays guests can experience have been lovingly renovated. Village Ways provides funding for renovation at properties they wish to send guests to. They provide 40% grant and 60% interest free loan, payable only if they send guests there. Communities form committees and manage the enterprise together, empowering them through the running of their own business.
  • They have established a charitable trust as a model to help wider community development, with the objective to provide skills and capacity building to rural communities, to help them improve their quality of lives.
  • Spread benefits by ensuring that the committees have a member from each household.
  • 100% of Village Ways staff is local.
  • In addition to providing training within destinations for accommodation entrepreneurs, they take trainees to different areas to get exposure of industry.
  • Village Ways operates in many untouched destinations, providing immersive experiences with cross cultural interactions with families at homestays.
  • Building communities through tourism, Village Ways ensures local people are involved with the whole process of implementation. They have values of inclusivity and have encouraged women to take on guiding roles.
  • Communities have commented that the process of establishing tourism projects has brought people together and strengthened the community.

For more information about Village Ways, please visit their website.

Asia’s Best Responsible Tourism Businesses Revealed

2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winners

The seventh Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards revealed its six prestigious winners at Asia’s biggest business-to-business travel trade show, ITB Asia, today (Friday 25th October) in Singapore. From all corners of the region, this year’s winners represent leaders in sustainability, each showcasing how the tourism industry can be a force for good. These businesses are inspirational examples of socially and environmentally responsible companies, making a big positive difference in the destinations they operate within.

Best in Community Engagement and Development

This award recognizes exceptional commitment to supporting the local community and economy in which the business operates.

Workplace staff_small business opportunityWinner: Lisu Lodge, Thailand

Named after the Lisu hill tribe village that is found near the lodge, Lisu Lodge is part of a communitybased project that aims to conserve the natural heritage of the hill tribes of northern Thailand. Lisu Lodge has demonstrated an inspirational commitment to creating a sustainable local economy through
capacity building and employment, empowering women’s groups through the conservation of heritage crafts and contributes to a local development fund for community initiatives led by indigenous communities.

* Why did they win? Download their factsheet! *

Runner up: Bali CoBTA, Indonesia

Best in Cultural Preservation

This award recognizes engagement and efforts by tourism businesses in preserving, enhancing and promoting local cultures and heritage.

1.Apani Dhani - central hutWinner: Apani Dhani, India

Apani Dhani is based in the heart of Rajasthan. They offer eco-friendly accommodation, excursions and activities with locals such as cooking lessons, initiation to traditional arts and crafts. Staying will enable travellers to discover daily life and traditions of rural India. Apani Dhani’s multifaceted cultural mission is based on engaging the community on many levels, supporting local artisans and cottage industries, and campaigning for the protection of historical buildings.

* Why did they win? Download their factsheet! *

Runner up: Sampran Riverside, Thailand

Best in Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

This award recognizes tourism businesses’ consideration of their local environment and biodiversity by actively supporting and protecting their natural assets.

Scuba Junkie presentationWinner: Scuba Junkie, Malaysia

Scuba Junkie dive resort located on Mabul island, provides daily dive trips to more than 25 islands (Including Sipadan Island (frequently voted in the top 10 dives sites in the world)) in the Celebes Sea in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. They have established a range of partnerships to protect the marine environment and wildlife, ranging from government to marginalized local communities. They are also managers of the Mabul Turtle Hatchery, chair of an annual marine week and advisers to the Semporna Shark Sanctuary.

* Why did they win? Download their factsheet! *

Runner up: Ranweli Holiday Village, Sri Lanka

Best in Resource Efficiency

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

Heritance webWinner: Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka

Heritance Kandalama is based in the heart of the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka, built overlooking the the rock fortress of Sigiriya. Endorsed by both ISO14001 and ISO50001 management systems for energy and water efficiency, they continuously achieve quantitative goals to reduce consumption. Their Eco Park has been visited by over 1.8million guests, partnering with more than 30 local schools and various conservation bodies – Kandalama has excellent commitment to promoting environmental education.

* Why did they win? Download their factsheet! *

Runner up: Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, Malaysia

Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Accommodation Provider

(This category is sponsored by Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia)

This award recognizes the accommodation provider that excels in all of the above categories, 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 accommodation of the year.

Soneva webWinner: Soneva Resorts, Thailand and the Maldives

Soneva Resorts is the original barefoot luxury brand, and still one of the travel industry’s greatest innovators. The acronym SLOW LIFE (which stands for Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun- Experiences) explains the Soneva philosophy. Soneva supports clean water projects, an orphanage initiative and a hunger alleviation charity. They have helped implement a local ban on shark fishing, established a coral restoration project, and their innovative carbon calculator ensures they continuously strive for inspirational resource efficiency.

* Why did they win? Download their factsheet! *

Runner up: Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Malaysia

Most Inspiring Responsible Tour Operator

This award recognizes the tour operator that excels in all of 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 responsible tourism business of the year.

tourWinner: ViaVia Jogja, Indonesia

ViaVia tours, based in Jogjakarta, all offer something unique – including adventure, gastronomy and culture. ViaVia is also an arts hub providing space to young local artists, whilst supporting marginalised groups. Parts of the ViaVia profits go to support educational, social and cultural projects in and around Jogjakarta. They have provided humanitarian assistance to local natural disasters, helped establish a rural community library and delivered free training to local groups and guides.

* Why did they win? Download their factsheet! *

Runner up: Papua Expeditions, Indonesia

Amy McLoughlin, Awards Coordinator, says “Congratulations to all our worthy winners and finalists. All of them are role models for the industry. Their investment in community engagement, workers’ welfare, cultural conservation and environmental stewardship – make the travel industry a more exciting place to work. Most importantly, they’re supporting long lasting development in their destinations across Asia, ensuring a more sustainable future for the places we love to visit”.

Looking for inspiration for your tourism business? Visit the Wild Asia website for fact sheets on this year’s twelve finalists to discover their best practices and social impact. Furthermore, businesses can also uncover this year’s winning entries from the Inspiring Stories from Destinations competition, also hosted annually at ITB Asia.

Special thanks to our 2013 Media Partners – especially T+L Southeast Asia and SOST for their amazing support! Also thank you to ITB Asia for letting us use this fabulous platform to showcase our Finalists and Winners.

ViaVia Tours, Indonesia – Most Inspiring Tour Operator

winner[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates ViaVia Tours for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner. This award recognizes the tour operator that excels in all of the above categories 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 responsible tourism business of the year.

ViaVia tours are as varied as Jogjakarta is populated and they all offer something unique. Adventure, gastronomy and culture. ViaVia in Jogja offers art space to young local artists and is also often the venue of concerts, Friday night Jazz, performance art, film festivals and debates. Parts of the ViaVia profits go to support educational, social and cultural projects in and around Jogjakarta.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Excellent community development, resource efficiency for such a small project.
  • Internal and external impact assessment.
  • Strong in the “influence and inspire” area.
  •  Supporting local artists.
  • Inspirational commitment to supporting marginalised groups (e.g. HIV).
  • Plan to improve energy efficiency.
  • An active company achieving good results and customer numbers.

Inspiring Management

  • Guest information on sustainable tourism: website, peronsal communication, guided walks, welcome briefing, brochures, books.
  • Internal and external environmental and social impact assessments.
  • Staff dedicated to following Indonesian law.
  • New guides go through a weeklong training, specialising in cross cultural communication.
  • All staff have job descriptions where their roles are outlined, with performance appraisals identify capacity building needs.
  • Some staff have participated in Sustainable Tourism training with international specialist. All core guides received a Training of Trainers by specialist.
  • The Manager has her Graduate and Post Graduate Degrees in funded by ViaVia.
  • Gives preference to smaller accommodation suppliers, each is visited and partnership built on shared RT principles.
  • Participated in local and national panel discussions on sustainable tourism.
  • Work with partners, provide partners opportunity to visit, join trainings and tours to learn.
  • Provide informal consultancy to local travel agencies who are interested in “copying” concepts.
  • Host free annual training (approx. 20 people) on cross cultural communication and guiding skills; workshops on social enterprises for students.
  • Facilitated training on sustainable tourism for tourism students of several universities in Jogjakarta (UNY, UPN, and others).
  • 2008 external sustainability assessment (Exchange Belgium) and regular interns assess.

Community Engagement and Development

  • Guides develop personal relationships with villages and seek feedback. Annual meeting to discuss plans and feedback.
  • Organise street festival to engage neighbourhood and other businesses.
  • Work with ILO and other organizations to provide trainings to local communities on tourism, e.g. establishing homestays.
  • Provide humanitarian assistance e.g. emergency relief after 2006 Jogjakarta Earthquake and 2010 Mt. Merapi Erruption; fundraising after the 2006 Nias Earthquake; Awareness raising and fund raising during World Refugee Day in 2004.
  • Constructed 26 houses after 2006 Earthquake.
  • Waste management and environmental training to schools in villages they work with.
  • Supported a community library in Sukamade Village which they visit on Overland tour.
  • Financially and non financially supported the Jogjakarta Mural Project Sama-Sama You Are Welcome in 2003.
  • Provide venue spaces for charitable events.
  • Fund the university education of 5 women (4 staff, 1 non-staff).
  • Funded a life saving surgical operation in Belgium for one of staff.
  • Fair Trade Shop, which provides opportunities for economically disadvantaged people, (e.g. street children, HIV sufferers).
  • Provides regular safe venue for meetings of Narcotics Anonymous, and other marginal groups.
  • 100% local staff and 100% local management.
  • Many staff have progressed from low skilled jobs to management within the business.
  • Staff paid living wage, health insurance, maternity leave, holidays.
  • Has a restaurant, which also uses as much local and organic ingredients by small local producers as possible. No-MSG, No-Palm Oil.
  • In tours visit home industries, guests to buy locally.
  • Child sexual exploitation policy signed by all staff and made available to guests.
  • Promote women in the work place and equality, but some challenges due to culture.

Cultural Preservation

  • Customers told about acceptable dress in brochure and pre-tour briefing.
  • Supports one of the last surviving Javanese ‘Ketoprak’ Theatre Groups.
  • After the 2010 Mt. Merapi Eruption held public meeting with fundraising about the damage caused by the ash, and the future risks to local temple complexes, with key note speaker (British archaeologist Tony Tack).
  • Contribute tourist fees to heritage sites.
  • Promote maintaining local access to heritage sites (e.g. Borobudur).
  • Provide opportunity for young local artists every few weeks to decorate Via Via or exhibit and they take a lower than average commission (30%).
  • Offer Bahasa language courses and Batik courses.

Resource Efficiency

  • Promote sustainably sourced products.
  • No plastic bag policy, refillable water bottles,
  • Furniture made from recycled materials e.g. old boat.
  • In the office use LED lighting, taps checked for leaks.
  • Trees 4 Tours carbon offset scheme.
  • Local school take old paper for recycling.
  • Composting.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • Maximise public transport on tours.
  • Trees 4 Tours™ concept supports local farmers with tree planting per tour in a vehicle.
  • Staff trained on species and library provided.
  • Contribute tourist fees to protected areas for e.g. turtle conservation.
  • Discuss environmental and conservation issues on tours.
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Papua Expeditions, Indonesia – Most Inspiring Tour Operator

finalist[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Papua Expeditions for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Finalist. This award recognizes the tour operator that excels in all of the above categories 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 responsible tourism business of the year.

Papua Expeditions offers keened-out, professionally guided birding, general wildlife, hiking and trekking expeditions in New Guinea’s Wild West. Permanently based in West Papua, their ecotourism programme focuses exclusively on the little-known western half of New Guinea under Indonesian administration.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Excellent policy in regards to attracting local people, not sending guests to ceremonies, all round excellent responsible business model.
  • A good example of responsible tourism business in a destination that face various external challenges in terms of business conditions.
  • An inspiring model demonstrating that responsible business ethics and sustainability practices are important no matter what.
  • “Learning while doing” training approach to support local capacity building.
  • 100% local staff.
  • Strong stance against exploitation of children.
  • Focus on growing regional client base as a concrete example of positive and business-focused climate action.
  • Within a remarkable and largely undiscovered destination, provides inspiring management, contributes to community engagement and development, cultural preservation and the protection of natural areas and wildlife conservation.

Inspiring Management

  • Provide information on web, pre-tour guide, and through interaction on tours on sustainable tourism approaches.
  • Internal environmental and social impact assessments.
  • Operates in a corrupt and poor region and maintains policy on clean governance, following ‘legal mass’ to adopt most appropriate solution under conflicting circumstances.
  • Trains staff ‘learning while doing’.
  • Consults tribal leaders about fluid land ownership laws to ensure their accommodation suppliers are compliant.
  • Published article on practice in eco tourism publications to inspire others.
  • 2010 Highly Commended Wild Asia RT Awards.

Community Engagement and Development

  • Provide ‘respectful usage’ fee to local communities for conservation.
  • Prevent ‘pay and go’ attitude and have long term MOU agreement with host communities to make benefits more long lasting.
  • Established Cenderawasih Fund for Community Development, 10% net profit donated. Funds small scale initiatives e.g. health care, social conflict resolution, relief, education.
  • 100% local workforce, 100% local management.
  • Yearly staff review and identify training needs.
  • Purchase local organic fresh produce and adhere to local market fares, to prevent tourist inflation which results in local people out-competed.
  • Support like-minded businesses wherever possible.
  • Encourage guests to buy local services not included in activities e.g. handicrafts.
  • Employ up to 80 different day-workers per month, all of whom are entitled to ancestral land-rights and/or reside at the destinations within portfolio, all receive the same basic training through ‘learning while doing’.
  • Facilitate ‘inter-cultural exchanges’ of motivated day-workers between destinations, it provides networking and possibilities for learning from culturally different Papuans. Proved beneficial toward character- and leadership-building.
  • Carefully selected city hotels with policies against sexual exploitation of children.
  • Do what they can to promote women’s rights and equality but can prove challenging given cultural context.
  • Staff exceed provincial minimum wage.
  • Tours are delivered by indigenous people so able to communicate after each tour feedback; bi-annual meets with land-owners and village elders.

Cultural Preservation

  • Do not engage guests with ceremonies as have strong reservations whether it adds value to local people. Rather they promote experiencing day-to-day life instead.
  • Always respects any prohibitions on visitation imposed by indigenous communities and closely follow their instructions where visitation is permitted.
  • Local language is provided in briefing.

Resource Efficiency

  • Oppose printed materials, online business.
  • Garbage prevention policy, non-recyclable waste is no more than 15g per guest per day.
  • Use of battery power or fire wood (local traditional methods) only in the field.
  • Office – energy efficient lighting and laptops, switch off policy.
  • Water usage is very low so little opportunity to reduce further.
  • Does not use carbon offsetting as remains controversial.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • Encouraging more Australia guests (now about 70% of guests) rather than European or USA to reduce international travel.
  • Encourages locals against deforestation by bringing tourists to those areas because of those natural resources.
  • Maximise use of public transport or use energy efficient vehicles if hired.
  • 5 year pilot project in Raja Ampat – agreement with customary landowners in a bid to preserve the entire Orobiai River catchment (92 sq km of virtually untouched primary forest, set in visually stunning topography, and globally threatened wildlife).
  • Community Conservation and Ecotourism Agreement (CCEA) seals direct structured payments by Papua Expeditions to customary land-holding groups on Waigeo in return for carefully defined and monitored conservation and education outcomes.
  • Indigenous guides have clear understanding of conservation issues and communicate with guests.
  • Provide birding guidelines to prevent disturbance.
  • Improved access through close consultation and assistance from indigenous communities, improved more than sixty kilometres of trails across the destinations.

Soneva Resorts, Thailand & Maldives – Most Inspiring Accommodation

winner[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Soneva Resorts for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner. This award recognizes the accommodation provider that excels in all of the above categories 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 accommodation of the year.

Soneva Resorts is the original barefoot luxury brand, and still one of the travel industry’s greatest innovators. The acronym SLOW LIFE (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences) explains the Soneva philosophy. Intelligent Luxury, is all about creating unforgettable, enlightening experiences that rejuvenate each guest’s love of SLOW LIFE. It’s about illuminating lives whilst treading lightly on the earth.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Excellent sustainable business model incorporating social, economic and environmental aspects.
  • Internal and external impact assessment.
  • Mandatory sustainability training.
  • Wheelchair accessible.
  • A great personal touch to guest communications with “Mr./Ms Fridays.”
  • Concrete emission calculation and reduction goals.
  • Soneva just go so far beyond business as usual… innovation after innovation, active and creative on serious issues.
  • UNESCO Biosphere, shark protection, coral restoration project (30 tonnes of rock), waste to wealth centre, 85% waste recycled, serious engagement with the carbon calculator which avoids dis-ingenuity, Carbon sense fund 450,000 trees planted, whole world water initiative…
  • An established operator with good track record on responsible approaches to sustainable tourism practices.

Inspiring Management

  • Internal and external social and environmental impact assessments made.
  • Engage guests through information in rooms, personal interaction, personal tours, website.
  • Size, layout and location of all buildings planned to integrate the native vegetation into man-made structures and to maintain the natural charm. Large, vegetated parts of the island are unspoilt to provide cooling, shading, fresh air and natural experiences. Villa numbers are kept low.
  • All timber used from sustainable managed, certified sources.
  • Wheelchair accessibility to some villas.
  • Fushi property delivered international event on their SLOW LIFE concept, with international leaders to inspire wider audience on sustainability.
  • Founded WHOLE WORLD Water campaign through their SLOW LIFE Trust.
  • 2/3 properties Long Run Alliance Members; use own Soneva Carbon Calculator annually.
  • Won numerous awards for sustainability.

Community Engagement and Development

  • Hold annual Soneva Nature Trip (through NGO Eco Care, sponsored by Soneva) most influenial environmental awareness event in Maldives. Locals (including 100 students) do various activities, conduct audits and learn about environmental issues.
  • Financially supported Thalassemia Prevetion and Relief programme of screening blood donations (Maldives has highest genetic blood disease prevelance in world).
  • 92% local staff, 50% of management are local people.
  • Staff training target of 9 hours per month, each staff member has own My Development Plan. Mandatory sustainability training for all staff.
  • 50% food from local area (80% organic), lots grown at properties.
  • Each villa assigned with own butler, from local area, who engages guests with local customs etc.
  • 90% staff live onsite, provide good living conditions with access to recreational activities and three meals a day.
  • All staff paid above national minimum wage.
  • Monthly meetings with island leaders to maintain relationships and receive feedback.

Cultural Preservation

  • Do and Don’t guide provided (dress etc).
  • Invite local women to showcase cooking and invite guests to their home to learn.
  • Use locally produced materials for design e.g. coconut ropes.
  • Sale of local crafts through Soneva Gallery.

Resource Efficiency

  • 3% renewable energy – installed 70kW solar PV in 2009 (then biggest on Maldives), expanding to 350kW which will result in 50% reduction in diesel consumption.
  • Each villa has its own Little Green book with information on responsible tourism.
  • 100% self sufficient in water (45% rain water harvested, 45% desalination, 10% deep wells).
  • Water saving: aerators, low flow shower heads, water saving toilets.
  • Monthly monitoring of resource efficiency with targets and bonuses if achieved.
  • Soneva Carbon Calculator includes travel, freight etc – 2011-12 footprint was 42, 500 tons (15% from energy, 76% guest travel).
  • Established Carbon Sense Fund, 2% levy on room bill for carbon mitigation projects (reforestation in Thailand, SLOW LIFE in Myanmar, stoves project in Sudan).
  • Output treated sewage and grey water is mixed with brine to reduce salinity then released into sea.
  • Less than 15% is non-recyclable waste and sent away.
  • Established Eco Centro Waste to Wealth centre with Manager, handles and monitors all Fushi waste.
  • 85% food waste recycled, used on own herb garden.
  • Garden waste composted or bio-charcoal.
  • Working to improve chemicals by working with Eco Lab, hope to install rechargeable batteries.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • Baa Atoll, where Soneva Fushi is situated, recently achieved UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status. In-house marine biologist involved in establishment of management team for Biosphere Reserve, resort will contribute financially.
  • Soneva Fushi worked with local NGOs to lobby for shark protection and in 2010 a national Shark-fish ban was implemented.
  • Soneva Fushi has own Marine Biologist who trains staff on conservation.
  • Follow IUCN ‘no no’ red list for F&B, work with local fishermen for sustainable fish, prioritize organic food.
  • 66% area left undeveloped (e.g Soneva Fushi island has largest forest cover in Maldives).
  • Use of native salt and drought tolerant plants reduced need for irrigation.
  • Soneva Kiri established coral restoration project – 1,850 corals or 27 species were transplanted, 30 tons live rock incorporated.
  • Offer 3 nights free stay to guests in low season who contribute to community/conservation work.
  • 3 hours per week set aside for marine biologist to monitor reefs, working with IUCN, to development management plan.
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T+L 2012‘Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Accommodation Provider’ Award is sponsored by Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge – Most Inspiring Accommodation

finalist[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Sukau Rainforest Lodge for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Finalist. This award recognizes the accommodation provider that excels in all of the above categories 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 accommodation of the year.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge nestles on the banks of one of Borneo’s most important waterways, the Kinabatangan River, home to many of Borneo’s magnificent wildlife. Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers the rare comfort and luxury in the midst of the Borneo Rainforest whilst retaining an Eco-Lodge ethos, the delicate balance of true sustainability.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Uses external experts to assist/advise on compliance issues.
  • Makes a significant contribution – mostly at own expense – to promoting benefits of sustainable tourism practice and ecotourism in Borneo and wider afield.
  • Consistent efforts to educate tourists and the industry about ecotourism for over a decade through different media and techniques.
  • Commitment to partnership and multi-stakeholder approach (e.g. set up association). Several international awards.
  • Active conservation and environmental practices – supporting KiTA, projects through BEST Society, etc. The BEST Society, of which the Founder is also the chair man has implemented lots of projects, which are reported annually and available to learn about online on the best website. It’s a great achievement to have raised over 1 million RM on community projects.
  • Good wages and welfare to staff. Weekly team meetings addressing staff’s personal development, supporting staff training opportunities – internal and external.
  • Wheelchair accessible.
  • Great interpretation practices to inform and educate guests.
  • Feedback from community leaders.
  • Responsible wildlife viewing practices.

 Inspiring Management

  • Internal environmental and social impact assessments delivered.
  • Guests receive information on sustainable tourism through own personal booklet.
  • Work with compliance team to maintain legal compliance, work with NGOs (e.g. WWF) and specialist to monitor environmental aspects.
  • Weekly staff meetings to share personal development, some staff sent for training, H&S for all staff twice a year.
  • Some rooms and all public areas have wheelchair accessibility.
  • MD is advisor to International Ecotourism Society board and speaks at events on responsible tourism.
  • 1997 British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award.
  • World Travel Awards 2010 Winner for Best Asia Green Hotel award.
  •  Voted the top 50 best eco-lodges by National Geographic, 2009.

Community Engagement and Development

  • Provide opportunity for guests to vists local’s house, money goes direct to family, to learn about local culture.
  • Helped form KiTA, local tourism association, and its conservation levy scheme. Raised over RM1million to date through own and sister company, spent on community/conservation projects.
  • Provided 50 water tanks to local community.
  • Organised 3 medical camps, bringing doctor and dentist to local area.
  • School visits site twice a year to learn about conservation.
  • 53% local workforce, 40% of management are local people.
  • Hire local contractors, e.g. boat men or maintenance staff.
  • Provide internship opportunities for local people.
  • Policy to protect female staff, anyone who does not follow is immediately terminated and reported to police.
  • Newly constructed staff quarters, provide very good and better than other local standards of living.
  • Above minimum wage with other opportunities, e.g. share tips or night cruise fees.
  • Meet on ad hoc basis with community leaders and at times when delivering local projects.

Cultural Preservation

  • Do and Don’t provided by leaflet.
  • Design based on local style, reducing impact to trees, constructed by locals with as many local materials as possible.
  • All guests have to wear traditional sarung to dinner to immerse in local culture.
  • Sell regional crafts in the shop.

Resource Efficiency

  • Use of solar for water heating.
  • Avoid dependency on electricity by using e.g. kerosene lamps on walkways.
  • Inform guests about reducing energy and water through info in rooms.
  • Water from rain water harvesting and from river (treated) in dry season.
  • Water saving: toilets and showers.
  • Recently improved waste water management with new septic tanks installed.
  • All waste including recyclable taken offsite.
  • Performed risk assessment (2007) to identify risks from chemicals and have taken actions to prevent.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • Evening presentations and talks from naturalists to educate guests on conservation.
  • First business in area to get solar, set buildings back from river, electric motor on river cruises, wildlife guidelines and have waste management scheme.
  • Has tree planting programme aimed at carbon offsetting.
  • Guests told to reduce noise after 9pm.
  • 80.8% area left undeveloped. All flora on site are native.
  • Funded river clean up through KiTA, reforestation and rehabilitated hornbills, pangolin, and an owl at the lodge.
  • Boardwalk design allows for elephants to move across. 
T+L 2012‘Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Accommodation Provider’ Award is sponsored by Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia.

Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka – Resource Efficiency

winner[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Heritance Kandalama for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner. This award recognizes excellence in waste, water and energy management and sustainable architectural design in order to minimize your business’s environmental impact.

Heritance Kandalama is an architectural masterpiece by Geoffrey Bawa, built overlooking the eighth wonder of the world – the rock fortress of Sigiriya. The hotel sits at the heart of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, close to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Our favourite things about them!

  • A well known contributor to sustainable tourism practices across Asia Pacific.
  • First-mover advantage in sustainable tourism certification in the region.
  • Excellent Resource efficiency policy, clear targets and action plans.

 Inspiring Management

  • Winner of National Productivity Awards Sri Lanka for Service sector.
  • Gold Medal for Cleaner Production, National Cleaner Production Awards.
  • 2012 Finalist Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards ‘Most Inspiring Operator’.
  • ISO140001, ISO50001 management systems.

Resource Efficiency

  • ISO140001, ISO50001 management systems for energy and water conservation.
  • Practice 7R’s: Reject, Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim, Repair, Replace and Recycle for sourcing and disposing (waste is monitored)
  • 13% renewable energy
  • Engage guests with environmentally friendly activities
  • GRI Reporting, National Green Reporting System of Sri Lanka (NGRs) for water withdrawl and consumption
  • Purchasing policy in place to promote local products
  • Deliver presentations to special interest groups on the environment
  • Three sewage treatment plants which process 100% of water, sludge is used as compost on their 50 acre land or sold to guests.
  • Organic waste is sent to local piggery farm for food.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • Use environmentally friendly products and all chemicals used are certified as biodegradable by the Central Environment Authority of Sri Lanka.
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Frangipani Langkawi Resport, Malaysia – Resource Efficiency

finalist[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Finalist. This award recognizes excellence in waste, water and energy management and sustainable architectural design in order to minimize your business’s environmental impact.

This secluded and eco-friendly resort is situated on a 400-metre stretch of soft golden sand along Pantai Tengah, southwest of Langkawi. All 117 rooms, villas and suites are spacious, tastefully decorated to provide a calm feeling and relaxed atmosphere. Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa is the first resort in Langkawi to implement Green practices to preserve the environment.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Good practices to reduce and recycle waste. Onsite recycling centre.
  • 60% renewable energy and good practices to monitor energy usage, actively working to reduce consumption of electricity.
  • Good water saving measures.
  • In-house environmental education department.
  • Eco-walks to engage guests in environmental issues; exceptional and very commendable effort.
  • The awards they have received are recent and specifically for green hotels / environment.
  • Long track record in sustainable tourism practices in Malaysia.
  • ‘Walks the talk’ when it comes to responsible and sustainable tourism approaches.

Inspiring Management

  • PATA Grand Awards 2012 Environmental Education
  • ASEAN Green Hotel Awards 2011
  • 2010 Winner ASEANTA Best Conservation Effort
  • Virgin RT Awards Large Accommodation Highly Recommended
  • Claims to be the only hotel in Malaysia that has Environment & Education Department that monitors the progress of resource efficiency and trains staff and the public.

Resource Efficiency

  • Recyclable items sold to the recycle contractor (paper, aluminium cans, tins plastic bottles).
  • Organic waste is processed into compost and is measured. Fish and chicken intestines are buried as fertilizers near fruit trees. Fruit peels are processed as enzyme which is cleaning agent.
  • Items that can be recycled in house are used for e.g wine bottles are used as feature wall, lamp and vases. Engage guests with recycling agenda by showing staff do glass painting.
  • 60% renewable energy.
  • Monitor and report all energy use.
  • Inform guests about reducing energy through info in rooms and lobby, and eco-walks.
  • 99 politanks (4,000 litres) for rainwater harvesting; 77 water container for air-conditioner water harvesting to water plants and clean public area.
  • Every month comparisons are made on water consumption, made known to staff to get their support on water conservation.
  • Target: 10 % decrease in water consumption for year 2103 is relayed to all staff for their contribution to achieve.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • Each department has own Green practices including the Purchasing in Accounts and Maintenance with the Environment Department monitoring all departments adhere to the rules and regulations pertaining to Green Practices.
  • Pesticide, insecticide and fungicide are processed in house using neem leaves.
  • Salt water pool use rock salt which uses less chlorine.
  • Grow morning glory to prevent beach erosion.