Call for Speakers for Responsible Tourism Event at ITB Asia 2016

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We are looking for world-class speakers to join our panel. Share your experience!

Responsible Tourism Events at ITB Asia in Singapore | 19 – 21 October 2016 

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 deborah@wildasia.org if you have other ideas not in the list:

  1. Quality and profitable eco/green/sustainable tourism – How to make it happen?
  2. Communicating 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. Experiential Responsible Tourism – How do you involve travellers?
  8. Sustainable tourism trends and emerging markets
  9. Best practice case studies: Achievements & challenges

Submission guidelines:

Closing date for submissions 22 July, 2016 (Friday).

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.

To apply, email us and include the following:

  • Name and speaker’s bio
  • Presentation title: The title should aim to be precise and concise so that it conveys a clear message
  • Presentation abstract: Abstract should contain brief summary of the content areas of your proposed topic
  • Paper to accompany your presentation abstract (if any) or supporting information

Note to speakers:

  • All speakers 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.
  • Speakers will be notified if their presentation has been accepted by 7 August, 2016.

Submission of Paper/Presentation:

Please email your paper or presentation, including an abstract to Deborah Chan at deborah@wildasia.org before 22 July, 2016 (Friday).

Presentations From Responsible Tourism Events At ITB Asia 2015

FullSizeRenderOn behalf of ITB Asia, Wild Asia would like to thank you for participating in the Responsible Tourism Clinics and Forum at ITB Asia 2015. We would also like to thank all our speakers who graciously spared their time to share their wealth of experience and knowledge with us. We had a stellar crowd at the Responsible Tourism Centre booth and many meaningful and passionate discussions took place. Let’s hope they translate into reality, making destinations better for tourists and local communities that depend on it. If you missed the responsible tourism events, don’t fret. We have compiled the presentations below. Click on the title or image below to view the presentation of your choice. Wild Asia hopes that you glean from these amazing case studies and knowledge. Please contact rt@wildasia.org if you wish to be part of 2016′s Responsible Tourism events.

ELEPHANTS IN TOURISM: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

buffalo tours

Speaker: Graham Harper, Director of Educational and Responsible Travel, Buffalo Tours

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.

HOW TO USE TOURISM AS AN INCENTIVE FOR CONSERVATION: STORIES FROM CAMBODIA, LAOS & MYANMAR 

wcsSpeaker: Paul Eshoo, Regional Conservation Enterprise Advisor, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) 

Tourism 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.

BUILDING COMMUNITY FUND & BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES 

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.22.31 PMSpeaker: Chananya Phataraprasit, Founder, Asian Oasis Travel

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.

HOTEL RESILIENT: STRENGTHENING THE RESILIENCE OF THE TOURISM SECTOR

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.23.50 PMSpeaker: Hanna Maier, Junior Advisor, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

A 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.

ADVENTURE TOURISM: THE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM OPPORTUNITY FOR EMERGING MARKETS

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.25.18 PMSpeaker: Shannon Stowell, President, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) 

Shannon 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.

QUALITY & PROFITABLE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: ECOLODGES INDONESIA’S STORY  

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.26.45 PMSpeakers: Gede Ori Ariandika, General Manager and Steve Noakes, Director, Ecolodges Indonesia 

Ecolodges 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.


THE RESPONSIBILITY OF TOURISM 

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 9.17.12 PMSpeaker: Mariglo Laririt, Director of Environment and Sustainability, El Nido Resorts

El 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?

CONSERVATION & TRAVEL: GIANT PANDAS, EDUCATION AND VOLUNTEERING IN CHINA

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.30.20 PMSpeaker: Luo Peng, Founder, Eco Action 

Based 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. 

BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES: THE KEY TO COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM 

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.28.32 PMSpeaker: Yurie Nagashima, Business & Development Manager, Kinyei 

Kinyei 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.

THE NEW PLATFORM TO INTERWEAVE THE PEOPLES OF ASIA, CONSERVATION AND TOURISM

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.31.45 PMSpeakers: Masaru Takayama, Founding Chair and Supaporn Prachumpai, Secretary, Asian Ecotourism Network (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!

BOTSWANA & SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 9.05.26 PM Speaker: Thabo Brian Dithebe, Chief Executive Officer, Botswana Tourism Organisation

Responsible Tourism Events At ITB Asia 2015

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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.


RESPONSIBLE TOURISM CLINICS

22 October 2015 (Thursday)

 

Time Topic & Speaker(s)

10:00 – 10:30am 

ELEPHANTS IN TOURISM: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

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 

HOW TO USE TOURISM AS AN INCENTIVE FOR CONSERVATION: STORIES FROM CAMBODIA, LAOS & MYANMAR 

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

BUILDING COMMUNITY FUND & BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES 

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 

BOTSWANA & SUSTAINABLE TOURISM 

Speaker: Thabo Brian Dithebe, Chief Executive Officer, Botswana Tourism Organisation 

12:00 – 12:30pm

ADVENTURE TOURISM: THE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM OPPORTUNITY FOR EMERGING MARKETS  

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

QUALITY & PROFITABLE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: ECOLODGES INDONESIA’S STORY  

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

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF TOURISM 

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

CONSERVATION & TRAVEL: GIANT PANDAS, EDUCATION AND VOLUNTEERING IN CHINA

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

BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES: THE KEY TO COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM 

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

HOTEL RESILIENT: STRENGTHENING THE RESILIENCE OF THE TOURISM SECTOR

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.

 

Ecopshere

“SUSTAINABLE TOURISM STORIES: THE BEST IN ASIA” 

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

SHORT-FILM SHOWCASE: THE POWER OF DESTINATION STORYTELLING GLOBALLY

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 

INSPIRING OPERATORS IN ASIA: WILD ASIA’S 2015 RESPONSIBLE TOURISM AWARD FINALISTS & WINNERS

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. 

THE NEW PLATFORM TO INTERWEAVE THE PEOPLES OF ASIA, CONSERVATION AND TOURISM

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

photo

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 deborah@wildasia.org 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 deborah@wildasia.org 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.

Winners: 2014 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards

RTAwinners

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

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

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

Best in Community Engagement & Development

WINNER: Borneo Eco Tours, Malaysia

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

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

Best in Cultural Preservation

WINNER: Ock Pop Tok, Laos

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

FINALIST: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand 

Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative

WINNER: The ChildSafe Network, Cambodia

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

FINALIST: BEST Society, Malaysia

 

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

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

International Conference on Community Development Through Tourism

intconfcomdevtrsm2

On 16th and 17th September 2014, Wild Asia attended the International Conference on Community Development Through Tourism, in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh. It brought together over 300 participants from tourism authorities, community tourism experts, and practitioners from 28 nations to discuss various aspects of community based tourism development. The aim of the conference was to present case studies, examine the mechanisms (both institutional and practical) that have led to successful inclusion of stakeholders, implementation, and analysis of the lessons learned in developing community based tourism enterprises. 

The conclusion of the two day inspirational event was to accept and endorse the prestigious Phnom Penh Declaration on socially responsible tourism that benefits host communities.

 In line with this year’s theme for UWNTO’s World Tourism day of tourism and community development, we resolve to seek further understanding, participation and involvement of the citizens in the ongoing process of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism development. I hereby proclaim the Phnom Penh Declaration as the official record of our two-day international conference. 

- H.E. Mr. Tith Chantha, Secretary of State of Tourism and High Representative of H.E. Dr. Thong Kohn, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia.

Wild Asia has been fortunate to encounter regional best practice in socially responsible tourism for almost a decade. Amy, from our tourism team, was delighted to be invited by PATA to share some insights into examples of tourism projects supporting community development. She shared case studies from our annual Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards and the Inspiring Stories from Destinations competition we hold each year at ITB Asia.

It was an honour to be invited to participate in this event, alongside industry experts and inspirational leaders. PATA invited me to speak about the role of communities in marine based tourism, and it was an exciting platform to share some of my favourite stories from businesses Wild Asia has been lucky to engage. These included Scuba Junkie, Sri Lanka’s Travel Foundation, Andaman Discoveries, the ChildSafe Network, and Nikoi Island.

- Amy McLoughlin, Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award Manager.


 

For full details on the conference and the Phnom Penh Declaration, please see the official Press Release here.

All keynote speakers’ slides can be viewed online here.

Browse photos of the event here.

ChildSafe Network – 2014 Finalist

ChildSafe web

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

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

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

 

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

(Photo credit Robert Buchan)

 

BEST Society – 2014 Finalist

BEST web

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

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

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

 

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

 

Ock Pop Tok – 2014 Finalist

Ock Pop Tok web

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

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

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

 

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