Scuba Junkie, Malaysia – Protection of Natural Areas & Wildlife

winner[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Scuba Junkie for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner. This award recognizes tourism businesses’ consideration of their local environment and biodiversity by actively supporting and protecting their natural assets.

Scuba Junkie provides daily dive trips to more than 25 islands in the Celebes Sea in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Whether you want macro diving at Mabul and Kapalai or wish to dive with sharks and turtles at Sipadan Island (frequently voted in the top 10 dives sites in the world) Scuba Junkie will take you there.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Good resource efficiency, educating guests, supports local projects.
  • Good environmental practices such as solar energy, sewage and grey water treatment, pollution control, native landscaping, etc.
  • Good practices and staff engagement in beach cleanups, reef cleanup dives, etc.
  • Full-time environmental officer.
  • Initiatives to reduce emissions such as boat/transfer sharing.
  • Efforts to reduce stress on reef areas frequented by divers.
  • Exemplary education / awareness raising, solar power, $70,000 spent on waste cleaning, best available sewage treatment, reef check, turtle hatchery, no seafood (wow!) and dive against debris.
  • Makes a worthwhile contribution to marine animal and coastal area conservation.
  • Has a strong commitment to sustainable tourism practices.

Inspiring Management

  • 2012 Winner Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards ‘Best in Protection of Natural Areas and/or Wildlife Conservation’

Community Engagement and Development

  • Access to local communities remains open around the resort.
  • Staff, guests and local community are engaged in e.g. beach cleans, school projects.
  • Each year spend around $70,000 supporting local waste removal scheme for local community who do not have government support (Bajau Laut community “sea gypsies”) = 150 bins and 10 skips.

Resource Efficiency

  • Use solar energy for water heating but aware of need to explore other options, in discussion with consultants about improving energy efficiency and use of fuels.
  • Recycle area for staff and guests in restaurant.
  • Approximately 80% of products used are biodegradable and are actively looking for ways to improve.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • All land rights and environmental regulations are adhered to.
  • Buildings from 60m off the hide tide line to allow access, preserve sea grass and protect nesting turtles.
  • Guests provided with information on local customs and environment through compulsory welcome briefing, sign boards and information in their rooms.
  • Weekly presentations on shark conservation and sea turtles, pressures and importance are discussed. Also similar at expos, for government, local and international media. To date, hundreds to presentations on the topic.
  • Best available sewage treatment plant, Grade A with hydroponic system to water plants with output water and sludge drying beds. Nothing raw released into sea.
  • Grease traps in kitchen and grey water processed via onsite Biosolv treatment plant.
  • Weekly ‘Dive against Debris’ cleans up, non-recyclable waste taken to mainland and managed by government body.
  • Have an environmental area in communal part of resort, TV runs showing their achievements and how guests can play a part.
  • Chair Mabul Marine week event and run the Mabul Turtle Hatchery, managed by trained staff and supported by community ‘rangers’. Last year, hatched thousands of eggs.
  • Do not use chemical on gardens (use native plants) to prevent run off into sea.
  • Use low level lighting on jetty to reduce light pollution.
  • Employ a full time Environment Officer (and two Marine Biologists) to engage staff and guests with issues; all staff trained in environmental practices.
  • Do not serve any seafood because none available locally that is sourced sustainably.
  • All dive guides have excellent reputation for providing ‘do and don’t’ in briefings.
  • Certified reef check dive centre, have a reef check trainer and provide eco dive master courses.
  • Advise Semporna Shark Sanctuary (aim to protect wider Sipadan area and reefs) and support the Manta Trust.
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Ranweli Holiday Village, Sri Lanka – Protection of Natural Areas & Wildlife

finalist[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Ranweli Holiday Village for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Finalist. This award recognizes tourism businesses’ consideration of their local environment and biodiversity by actively supporting and protecting their natural assets.

Ranweli Holiday Village is an eco-friendly resort located on a 22-acre peninsula where mangrove forests and winding rivers converge to meet the sea. Located only 18 kms from Colombo’s International Airport, Ranweli is the perfect base to explore the fascinating history, culture and nature of Sri Lanka.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Solid business record – 38 years in operation, 75% occupancy.
  • Good practices to reduce pollution, treat waste water, re-use grey water and minimize non-recyclable waste.
  • Good practices to protect native species.
  • Good idea to incorporate environmental education into welcome cocktail party.
  • Lots of tangible examples: e.g. contributions to conservation, education, carbon offsetting, sewage treatment, green purchasing, and mangrove rehab.
  • Massive impact (almost 50,000 guests / year).
  • A recognised ecolodge in Sri Lanka with a proven track-record for responsible approached to tourism.
  • Makes a concerted effort to protect natural areas and conserve wildlife.

Inspiring Management

  • One of the Top 50 Eco-Lodges of 2009, National Geographic Adventure magazine.
  • EU SWITCH – Asia Greening Hotels Awards 2012 Certificate of Merit for Energy and Water Conservation and Waste Management.

Community Engagement and Development

  • Contributed donations to a local conservation project and worked with school children on their mangrove rehabilitation project.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • Deliver talks, guided walks and welcome briefings to educate guests on local natural area and how to reduce waste.
  • Conduct carbon offsetting project.
  • Mangrove rehabilitation project close to hotel premises looked after by the hotel.
  • Biological sewage treatment plant onsite.
  • Waste water is treated and recycled for watering plants.
  • Has a green purchasing policy to reduce non-recyclable waste, e-waste returned to supplier.
  • Lobster not served during breeding season, and not purchased if under 200g.
  • 25% of property area remains undeveloped.
  • Use of native plants, e.g. indigenous fruit trees, herbal garden, food plants to attract butterflies.

Sampran Riverside, Thailand – Cultural Preservation

finalist[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Sampran Riverside for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Finalist. This award recognizes engagement and efforts by tourism businesses in preserving, enhancing and promoting local cultures and heritage.

Sampran Riverside (formerly known as Rose Garden Riverside) is a family-run property close to Bangkok, where visitors can experience authentic Thai way of life and learn about local wisdom. For decades it has been considered one of Bangkok’s favourite attractions because of the obvious dedication to preserving Thailand’s natural and cultural heritage by engaging with the local community.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Supports cultural preservation through preservation of buildings and also preserving Thai culture, provides high employment.
  • Good resource management practices.
  • Good story about protecting trees and sites of cultural and spiritual significance.
  • Use of local building materials.
  • Good practices to educate visitors.
  • Various ways to incorporate local art and culture into visitor activities, and specific events/activities highlighting local heritage.
  • Successfully implementing “edutainment”.
  • It’s a very managed business for a ‘Thai village’, but beautifully and sensitively presented, and the emphasis on organic farming, local crafts, providing training for local people and students, etc protects Sampran from feeling staged.
  • The community market and organic agriculture development centre is a clear positive development.
  • Provides a unique Thai cultural experience with a focus on cultural and architectural preservation.  Has a long history of serving the tourism industry and providing local employment opportunities through the preservation and presentation of Thai culture.

Community Engagement and Development

  • Arts and crafts workshops support 50 local jobs in traditional e.g. silk processing, bamboo dancing etc. Initiated through local staff’s traditions that may be lost.
  • Initiated workshops as a programme to promote awareness of Thai culture through participation.
  • Sell locally made organic herbal products to support local economy.

Cultural Preservation

  • In 1967 the management saved old teakwood houses from local farmers in the area who where shifting into modern housing, and reconstructed (same materials) them around the central lake as accommodation for guests.
  • Preserved 7 Thai houses to provide a unique cultural experience for visitors.
  • Cared for trees around the property are 50 to 100 years old during the growth of business, including a spiritual bulletwood tree and a banyan tree that is used for traditional Thai wedding ceremonies.
  • The Thai Village House and market pavilions (host weekly farmers market with local traders, including artisans) is constructed from local natural materials incorporating traditional design.
  • Welcome briefings inform guests of local customs and traditions. Including briefing on how to dress for ceremonies in presence of monks.
  • Provide guided tours and engage in Organic Farming, Thai art and craft workshops, informing of cultural significance.
  • Daily cultural show with literature explaining cultural aspects, includes Elephant Demonstration to educate guests on livelihoods of elephants in Thailand.
  • Guests can participate in traditional alms giving ceremonies and learn more. Thai weddings take place, guests explained about customs.
  • Traditional Thai cuisine, ingredients sourced from own organic farm or other local farmers. Promote seasonal produce.
  • Thai culture throughout business, e.g. garlands at theme events, pottery making workshops.
  • River cruise to temples etc, restored traditional barge.

Resource Efficiency

  • Minimise waste from food produce, e.g. serve food in coconut shelves, use leaves for decorations, rice seedlings as table centre pieces.

Apani Dhani, India – Cultural Preservation

winner[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Apani Dhani for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner. This award recognizes engagement and efforts by tourism businesses in preserving, enhancing and promoting local cultures and heritage.

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. This charming and peaceful ecolodge, is an ideal place to start or finish a journey in Rajasthan.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Good practices to educate guests through a code of ethics.
  • Active involvement in heritage protection through Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage.
  • Good ways to incorporate awareness-raising efforts into visitor activities, e.g. workshops led by local craftsmen, language lessons.
  • 5% of profit re-invested locally to support education, etc.
  • The owner has worked for 23 years, and maintains a high focus on sustainable and cultural tourism. Specifically related to culture are the food served, financial support for the National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, heritage awareness programs and participation of guests in celebrations, workshops, Hindi, etc.
  • Owner allows local people to sell crafts without charging any kind of commission.
  • Strong commitment to arts and cultural heritage.
  • Has shown two decades of local leadership in responsible approaches to tourism. 

Cultural Preservation

  • Local natural materials used for construction, vernacular architecture.
  • Guests provided information on local customs via talks, email, guided walks, information in rooms, website.
  • Code of conduct for local customs.
  • Only serve regional dishes, provided by the family, all ingredients sourced locally or from own organic garden.
  • Cookery courses available to guests.
  • Provides heritage awareness programmes for e.g. teachers, school children, mural workshops.
  • Encourage guests to visit local artisan workshops and support their business.
  • Artisans able to come and sell products on site, lodge takes no margin on coordinating these activities.
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Lisu Lodge, Thailand – Community Engagement & Development

winner[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Lisu Lodge for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner. This award recognizes exceptional commitment to supporting the local community and economy in which your business operates.

Named after the Lisu hill tribe village that is found near the lodge, Lisu Lodge is part of a community-based project that aims to conserve the natural heritage of the hill tribes of northern Thailand. The Lisu migrated from southern China and Tibet in the early 20th century.

Our favourite things about them!

  • Outstanding benefits spread throughout community. Long term, consistent commitment to the host community.
  • A fund set up to support local communities – Village Bank – an innovative example of how a business can contribute to local well-being in a concrete and practical way. Tangible, quantifiable contributions to local capacity and development funding.
  • 55% occupancy rate and 9000+ guests last year – these demonstrate that the lodge is a financially viable business, which is a critical factor.
  • Focus on low-impact activities such as walking, trekking and biking – a great way to engage travellers in the lodge’s effort to walk the talk.
  • Local villagers are not just the beneficiaries, but also involved in the business of the lodge – e.g. being part of marketing efforts, identifying new sources of revenues, having a say in management practices.
  • Ecological and sustainability practices such as use of locally sourced building materials, solar panel, water usage agreed by villagers, sewage management, etc. demonstrate awareness and commitment beyond what meets the eye. 

Inspiring Management

  • Provide each guest room with information on local culture and ways in which to behave when visiting a villager’s house.
  • Local guides provide orientation at the beginning of each tour, explain etiquette of hill tribes.
  • 94% workforce is local.
  • Provide opportunities for staff and villagers in business development, education, hospitality training.
  • Staff are paid exceeds national minimum wage (monthly salary, share of guest service charge, social security); meals and uniform provided.

Community Engagement and Development

  • All staff are local community members, including tour staff.
  • Tour guides have been trained with experienced facilitator to develop ‘introduction brief’, information on safety, history of Lisu communities, culture, environmental issues etc.
  • Local community engaged from beginning of development.
  • Lodge contributes to village bank each year, owned and operated by locals exclusively. 2012 contributed approx. US$4,000. Money funds community projects, e.g. waste collection, decided upon by community (lodge has no input).
  • Contribution to building of a school, dam, water investigation studies, disease prevention measures.
  • Purchase fresh produce from local farmers at a fair price.
  • Local work force try to purchase other goods from local family members.
  • Designated area in lodge for local people to sell handicrafts at no charge, as a result the village is now one of the largest local suppliers of handicrafts to the region.
  • Regular meetings with village chief. 

Cultural Preservation

  • Lodge has library with largest collection of hill tribe literature, available for guests and locals.
  • Guests visit local festivals or ceremonies upon invite of community members only.

Resource Efficiency

  • Solar energy used to heat water.
  • Water sourced from source agreed by local villagers.

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

  • Run project ‘Earth Care’ and deliver annual workshops on e.g. recycling for local people.
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2013 Responsible Tourism Award Finalists

finalistFinalists Revealed!

2013 has been a record year for the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards. In its seventh year, we are pleased to announce our best year yet! We received 45 quality applications from the widest geographical spread to date, including entries from all corners of South and Southeast Asia region: India, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar, Vietnam, Nepal and Cambodia.

Our panel of judges had their work cut out picking our 2013 Finalists, especially in our Tour Operator category which received the highest number of entries.

We are over the moon to reveal our 2013 Finalists. The following will now undergo the next round of judging and our 2013 Winners will be announced at our signature ceremony hosted at Asia’s biggest business-to-business travel trade show, ITB Asia, in Singapore this October. In an effort to ensure transparency and promote best practice to inspire others, this year we will be publishing case studies on all our Finalists…we look forward to sharing with you soon.

Congratulations to all our Finalists and good luck.

Best in Community Engagement and Development

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

Bali CoBTA webBali CoBTA, Indonesia more

Bali Community Based Tourism Association (Bali CoBTA) is a non-profit and non-governmental organization that promotes sustainable tourism. By facilitating the development of community based tourism villages, tourists are given a unique opportunity to experience local culture and community life, while communities are empowered to earn an additional income by preserving and showcasing their culture and heritage. Why Wild Asia loves them!

The advisory committee and organisational structure of the association (including the governor of Bali!) is really a great achievement.

Lisu Lodge webLisu Lodge, Thailand more

Named after the Lisu hill tribe village that is found near the lodge, Lisu Lodge is part of a community-based project that aims to conserve the natural heritage of the hill tribes of northern Thailand. The Lisu migrated from southern China and Tibet in the early 20th century. Why Wild Asia loves them!

A ‘Village Bank’ fund set up to support local communities – an innovative example of how a business can contribute to local well-being in a concrete and practical way. Tangible, quantifiable contributions to local capacity and development funding.

Best in Cultural Preservation

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

Apani Dhani webApani Dhani, India more

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. This charming and peaceful ecolodge, is an ideal place to start or finish a journey in Rajasthan. Why Wild Asia loves them!

Strong commitment to arts and cultural heritage.   Has shown two decades of local leadership in responsible approaches to tourism.

Sampran webSampran Riverside, Thailand more

Sampran Riverside (formerly known as Rose Garden Riverside) is a family-run property close to Bangkok, where visitors can experience authentic Thai way of life and learn about local wisdom. For decades it has been considered one of Bangkok’s favourite attractions because of the obvious dedication to preserving Thailand’s natural and cultural heritage by engaging with the local community. Why Wild Asia loves them!

Provides a unique Thai cultural experience with a focus on cultural and architectural preservation.  Has a long history of serving the tourism industry & providing local employment opportunities through the preservation and presentation of Thai culture.

Best in Protection of Natural Areas and/or Wildlife Conservation

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

Ranweli webRanweli Holiday Village, Sri Lanka more

Ranweli Holiday Village is an eco-friendly resort located on a 22-acre peninsula where mangrove forests and winding rivers converge to meet the sea. Located only 18 kms from Colombo’s International Airport, Ranweli is the perfect base to explore the fascinating history, culture and nature of Sri Lanka. Why Wild Asia loves them!

Lots of tangible examples: e.g. contributions to conservation, education, carbon offsetting, sewage treatment, green purchasing, and mangrove rehabilitation.

Scuba Junkie webScuba Junkie, Malaysia more

Scuba Junkie provides daily dive trips to more than 25 islands in the Celebes Sea in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Whether you want macro diving at Mabul and Kapalai or wish to dive with sharks and turtles at Sipadan Island (frequently voted in the top 10 dives sites in the world) Scuba Junkie will take you there. Why Wild Asia loves them!

Exemplary awareness raising, solar power, $70,000 spent on waste cleaning, best available sewage treatment, reef check, turtle hatchery, no seafood (wow!), dive against debris…

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.

Frangipani webFrangipani Langkawi Resport and Spa, Malaysia more

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. Why Wild Asia loves them!

‘Walks the talk’ when it comes to responsible and sustainable tourism approaches.

Heritance webHeritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka more

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. Why Wild Asia loves them!

A well known contributor to sustainable tourism practices across Asia Pacific.

Also recognised by our Judges:
  • ITC Gardenia, India more
  • Soneva Fushi, Maldives more

Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Accommodation Provider

T+L 2012(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 Kiri webSoneva Resorts, Thailand & Maldives more

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. Why Wild Asia loves them!

Soneva just go so far beyond business as usual… innovation after innovation, active and creative on serious issues.

Sukau Rainforest webSukau Rainforest Lodge, Malaysia more

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. Why Wild Asia loves them!

Active conservation and environmental practices. It’s a great achievement to have raised over 1 million RM on community projects.

Also recognised by our Judges:
  • Nikoi Island, Indonesia more

Most Inspiring Responsible Tour Operator

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 webPapua Expeditions, Indonesia more

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. Why Wild Asia loves them!

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.

Via Via webViaVia Tours, Indonesia more

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. Why Wild Asia loves them!

Excellent community development, resource efficiency for such a small project. Strong in the “influence and inspire” area.

Also recognised by our Judges:
  • Andaman Discoveries, Thailand more
  • Reality Tours & Travel, India more

2010 Responsible Tourism Awards Winners & Finalists

Wild Asia announces the finalists for the 5th Responsible Tourism Awards 2010! Wild Asia has shortlisted several operators from across Asia in each category for their outstanding responsible tourism practices. Find out this year’s finalists!

The shortlisted hotels and tour operators were reviewed and extensively researched by our judging panel which comprised of responsible tourism (RT) experts, academics, conservationists, and eco-consultants. Wild Asia’s judging panel first examined all of the completed checklists submitted by the operators, which outlined their best management practices and specific RT efforts undertaken by them. Then, through a scoring system, the panel analyzed and ranked each answer from the advanced entry forms in order to determine the finalists. The winners and finalists for this year’s award goes to:

Large-size Accommodation

WINNER: Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Heritance Kandalama has a unique architectural design which blends the hotel into the natural surroundings and maximises natural light in order to reduce energy use. The entire hotel is built on a raised platform allowing water to flow under the hotel. It also allows the free flow of animals under the hotel, leaving minimum impact on the ecosystem.

FINALIST: Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa, Langkawi, Malaysia

Frangipani Langkawi is dedicated to get guests and staff involved in their RT practices. The operation is involved in a range of creative environmental activities that promote conservation. They are determined to raise awareness of RT and inspire others to incorporate green practices as well.

 

Mid-size to Small Accommodation

WINNER: Sarinbuana Eco-Lodge, Bali, Indonesia

Sarinbuana Ecolodge is dedicated to conserve their surrounding environment and empower local communities. They aim for the highest standards of sustainability in every aspect of their business. Their bungalows use sustainable local materials and have a low impact on the environment. The ecolodge supports a wide variety of local businesses and uses natural and biodegradable products on site.

FINALIST: Soneva Gili, Lankanfushi Island, Maldives

Soneva Gili, located on the beautiful island of Lankanfushi, offers guests the sophisticated Maldivian charm in complete luxury. The concept of ‘Intelligent Luxury’ is adopted throughout the resort’s innovative architecture and infrastructure through energy efficiency, use of materials from certified sustainable sources and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Tour Operators

WINNER: Andaman Discoveries, Phang Nga, Thailand

Andaman Discoveries (AD) is an ongoing community-driven project that stemmed from tsunami relief. AD practices responsible tourism through leadership building, resource development and empowerment of skills. Activities such as handicraft workshops, jungle hikes, cooking lessons, island discovery tours, and other community-led projects put tourists in direct contact with the locals, thereby promoting a sense of authenticity in the tour experience.

FINALIST: PEPY Tours, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Pepy Tours believes tours should be adventurous, educational and responsible at the same time. They focus on providing economic benefits to the local communities through a variety of educational, volunteer and tour programs. Through their unique bicycle tours, they expose travellers to inspiring people and programs throughout Cambodia.

 

 

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.

Thank you to our partners; The Blue Yonder, Dot & Line Graphics, Asian Geographic Passport, WHL Group, The International Ecotourism Society, ITB Asia and Malaysian Airlines for making the 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards a success!

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.