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 if you wish to be part of 2016′s Responsible Tourism events.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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. 


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.


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!


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

International Conference on Community Development Through Tourism


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.

Presentations From Responsible Tourism Events At ITB Asia 2013

On behalf of ITB Asia and the other co-organizers, Wild Asia would like to thank you for participating in the Responsible Tourism Clinics and Forum at ITB Asia 2013. We would also like to thank all our speakers who graciously spared their time to share their wealth of experience and knowledge with us. The outcome was overwhelming and we hope that 2013 will be bigger and better. Please contact if you wish to be part of 2013′s Responsible Tourism events.

Below you will find the full set of presentations throughout the 3-day event. Click on the links below to view the presentations. Let’s continue to “Learn, Be Inspired and Make a Difference!”


Voluntourism – Are The Extra Hands Helping? by Martin Stevenson & Amy McLoughlin

Voluntourism is a growing travel sector and with it comes the pros and cons of volunteering abroad. For the volunteer, it can be a travel and learning experience, a new way of seeing the world while giving back, but for the local communities it may be disruptive, intrusive to local cultures and traditions or its benefits short lived. How effective and sustainable are voluntourism programs?

Martin Stevenson – Voluntourism Through The Eyes of A Backpacker 

Amy McLoughlin – The PEPY Story 

Impact Of Sustainability Initiatives On Customer Choice by Kumud Sengupta

What impact do sustainable business practices by travel companies have on travellers’ choice of a travel service provider (hotel, resort, tour operator etc.)? A survey was commissioned by Market Vision in mid-2013, aimed to determine the extent to which demonstration and promotion of sustainability initiatives by travel companies can impact customer choice behaviour. The results suggest that, all else being equal, a certain proportion of travellers would be inclined to patronize a travel company whose sustainability credentials are easily visible while a larger proportion would be inclined to go with a travel company whose sustainability credentials are easily visible and are endorsed by a credible third party assessor. A smaller proportion of travellers would not care. What should eco-tourism businesses do to attract such customers and influence their choice?

Be a Hero: Child Protection in Responsible Tourism by Patchareeboon Sakulpitakphon

The sexual exploitation of children should not be a part of the tourism reality, but it is. Although tourism is not the cause of this crime, offenders utilize the services and infrastructure of the tourism industry to carry out the crime. Thus, the tourism industry has a responsibility towards combating the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. The Code is a tool that allows your company to implement child protection for responsible tourism.

Poverty Alleviation Through Sustainable Tourism Development: An Idea Or Reality? by Chananya Phataraprasit, Djinaldi Gosana and Hannah Won

A debate has arisen over the actual effects the tourism industry has within developing countries, and to what extent it helps the poor. The concept of tourism as a means of poverty alleviation has been around for nearly a decade, but there is a continuing debate over its effectiveness. Is tourism actually helping to give families and communities a better life or are here leakages that we do not see? Hear from various credible sources including the people on the ground and decide for yourself.

Bali CoBTA

Lisu Lodge 

Hannah Won – Orphanage Tourism 

Story Telling – How To Communicate Responsible Tourism (Without Sounding Boring!) by Adrianna Tan,  Jeremy Torr and Robin Boustead

Responsible Tourism as tool for branding and marketing is slowly dulling in the background with too many cases of greenwashing and/or boring technical achievements in sustainable practices. It’s time to sharpen your marketing edge and liven up the way you tell your story without compromising on credibility and the great business practices you have adopted. Find out how others have told their story and what travellers are really looking for.

Telling Travel Stories 3.0 by Adrianna Tan,

Sustainable Tourism: We All Need To Talk About it by Jeremy Torr, Storylocker

Great Himalaya Trail: A Case Study by Robin Boustead

Presentations from Responsible Tourism Clinics & Forum at ITB Asia 2012

On behalf of ITB Asia and the other co-organizers, Wild Asia would like to thank you for participating in the Responsible Tourism Clinics and Forum at ITB Asia 2012. We would also like to thank all our speakers who graciously spared their time to share their wealth of experience and knowledge with us. The outcome was overwhelming and we hope that 2013 will be bigger and better. Please contact if you wish to be part of 2013′s Responsible Tourism events.

Below you will find the full set of presentations throughout the 3-day event. Let’s continue to “Learn, Be Inspired and Make a Difference!”

Responsible Tourism Clinics

Holistic Property Management by Andrew Johns, Sanctuary Resorts

Responsible Tourism Reporting by Raj Gyawali, Social Tours

Tourism as a Tool for Conservation by Raj Basu, HELP Tourism

Responsible Tourism Forum

Greening the Supply Chain to Increase Profit in Business by Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Greenearth Travel, ICTP

New Media as a Strategic Communication in Sustainable Tourism by Jens Thraenthart, Dragon Trail

Workshop on Community Based Tourism (Frasers Hill)

The perfect setting for a workshop with WWF Malaysia’s Community Officers – lush green forested areas, cool temperatures and an array of wildlife and flora. The Wild Asia tourism team and Sandra Tagal, director of Borneo Jungle Safari’s was invited to speak at the “Community Based Eco-Tourism workshop” in Frasers Hill on 27-29 June 2012. The two-day workshop saw 15 people from all walks of life coming together to share a common vision and passion – to see communities empowered to venture into alternative source of livelihood via tourism.

Community Officers set the tone at the start of the workshop by giving the team and their colleagues an overview of their project site, initiatives, challenges and lessons learnt. Each took pride in sharing their experiences and each shared a common empathy on the struggles faced when dealing with communities.

A few success stories surfaced from the sharing and among them were the  engagement with tourism operators in Kinabatangan, Sabah. Programme  Officer, Lavernita Bingku talked about her two year journey in putting a conservation and visitor levy for the Kinabatangan, the second longest river in Malaysia that is steadily growing in tourist numbers and businesses.  Kick-starting the implementation of the Conservation Levy Programme was no easy feat; however with the right authorities supporting and continuous support and effort from the Kinabatangan Corridor of Life Tourism Operators (KiTA) themselves, the Conservation Levy Programme was successfully implemented. Through the levy, they’ve raised a substantial amount that will be used for conservation efforts in the within the area.

Another amazing story was that of PEWANIS, a local women’s entrepreneurs group in a coastal village in Setiu, Terengganu. WWF was involved in identifying members for this group and further identifying avenues for secondary source of income for these women. The group started producing banana chips for sale. Although the chips were selling well, profits were not enough to sustain the growing number of women in the group. So, WWF and PEWANIS came together to rehash and agreed on offering low impact nature tourism products and activities to tourists. Strategically located on the coastal front, the village has astounding views of the sea and is easily accessible via boat. There are also major hotels around the area setting the scene for healthy flow of tourists. The women developed and marketed tourism activities such as mangrove tree planting, environmental education activities, kite making and cooking classes. Currently, the group is going strong and all efforts are fully developed and managed independently by the community.

After listening to inspiring stories from around the country, Wild Asia’s associate programme manager, Deborah Chan shared on concepts of community based tourism and eco tourism. She highlighted case studies from around Asia of community led and managed tourism projects. She drew examples from Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award winners and finalists. Among them was Ecosphere, a secluded hilltop village in Spiti, India who successfully established a tourism business that generates half of the community’s income annually, Andaman Discoveries, initially a relief aid NGO set up in Thailand after the tsunami and now a very effective tour operator with responsible community based tourism projects across Thailand. Wild Asia’s responsible tourism coordinator, Amy McLoughlin also enlightened the group with her experiences with two grassroots community projects in India – Kabani Homestays and Agri Tourism India.

Community officers learnt the ingredients that make successful community projects and tools to monitor and measure these successes using standards like the Global Sustainable Criteria (GSTC) and the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Checklist. They also learned the importance of communicating their lessons learnt and ways to market tourism products in order to ensure transparency and profitability.

[pullquote style="left" quote="dark"]Passion and heart for the community are the very essence that determines the success or failure of a community project. People must come first…[/pullquote]

Reflecting on the two-day workshop, Liza Jaafar who’s overseeing a turtle project in Malacca and hoping to develop the destination for turtle tourism expressed that tourism is far more complicated then she thought and she now understands that tourism is a volatile industry and hence it needs to go hand-in-hand with other innovate sources of income.

Another participant, Jennifer Matthew said, “I have learned so much from this workshop particularly the need to involve all members of the community when it comes to decision making and to ensure equitable distribution of wealth. I will take this lessons learnt and implement them for future projects in the highlands of Bario, Sarawak.”

Among the results of the workshop was healthy dialogue about how to introduce tourism into existing community initiatives and ways to establish positive working partnerships with industry players. Wild Asia hopes to partner with WWF to create sustainable community based tourism projects in Malaysia. This two-day workshop is a foretaste of (hopefully) greater collaboration.

Download Presentation

View the slides presented by Wild Asia on Community Based Tourism (CBT). It outlines basic concepts CBT in the context of environmental conservation, economic benefit and development of local communities with case studies of our previous Responsible Tourism. Responsible CBT projects can produce revenues for local communities and improve local attitudes towards conservation. If you would like to engage Wild Asia for future talks or workshops, please contact

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