Call for speakers at Responsible Tourism Events at ITB Asia 2017

Call for speakers

We are looking for change-makers in the tourism industry to speak up and inspire others! Join our panel of speakers and share your story.


Be heard at one of Asia’s largest travel trade shows – ITB Asia!

Submission deadline: 14 July 2017 

The United Nations has proclaimed 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, in recognition of the tremendous potential of the tourism industry, which accounts for some 10% of the world’s economic activity, to contribute to the fight against poverty and create a positive impact in destinations and communities around the world.

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. We are looking for papers/presentations on the following topics: 

  1. Social responsibility – case studies, best practices and how to make it a part of your business
  2. Empowering communities through community-based tourism
  3. Preserving wildlife and natural ecosystems for the next generation
  4. Inspiring travelers to care about people and nature
  5. Sustainable tourism and storytelling – how to share the stories well

Submission guidelines:

Closing date for submissions 14 July, 2017 (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 learned 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 given permission to display brochures or other collaterals during the time of their presentation.
  • Speakers will be notified if their presentation has been accepted by 30 July, 2017.

Submission of Paper/Presentation:

Please email your paper or presentation, including an abstract to Deborah Chan at before 14 July, 2017 (Friday).

Responsible Tourism Events At ITB Asia 2016


19-21 October 2016

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 2016’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 in the main exhibition hall.  View floorplan.



20 October 2016 (Thursday)

Time Topic & Speaker(s)

10:00 – 10:30am 


Speaker: Valérie Sfeir, International Coordinator, ChildSafe Movement Childtourism

How can the tourism industry reduce and avoid the negative impacts surrounding the issues of child protection? How can the protection of children be integrated into a sustainable and workable strategy? How can this strategy be valuable for businesses and travellers? With over 10 years’ experience in safeguarding children and youth from all forms of abuse, the ChildSafe Movement, a global protection initiative powered by Friends-International, has developed numerous tools to raise awareness and provide solutions to child protection amongst key tourism industry stakeholders as well as within all tiers of society and the international community.

10:30 – 11:00am


Speaker: Willem Niemeijer, CEO, YAANA Ventures 

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 10.00.48 PMThe presentation will focus on the achievements and challenges of the community-based tourism projects of YAANA Ventures. It will highlight a number of projects, including kayaking in the Kayah State in Myanmar, the Banteay Chhmar CBT, Sambor Prei Kuk in Cambodia, and Anurak Community Lodge in Thailand. It will use these examples to inspire others in thinking outside the box and looking for new and innovative routes. With the advent of low-cost airlines, the tourism hubs in the region are under the severe pressure of mass tourism. To ensure sustainability in the sector, we need to have a more entrepreneurial spirit and meaningful cooperation between private sector, NGOs and governmental bodies to support visitor dispersion.

11:00 – 11:30am


Speaker: Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.53.04 PM

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) is home to some of the most amazing authentic responsible travel experiences on the planet. Learn how an innovative three-prong strategy will tell impact stories of people in the GMS (in collaboration with UNWTO), where travellers share their #MekongMoments, and curated responsible experiences inspire travellers – all with the goal to make the small operator the hero, and shape the brand image of the region.

11:30am – 12:00pm 


Speaker: Dr Marc van Loo, CEO, Loola Adventure Resort Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.57.00 PM

Based on the speaker’s first-hand experience founding and running a multiple-award winning eco resort, Marc will make the case that it is profitable to employ only local people, let them run their own businesses, help the local community, and to embrace and test eco solutions such as rainwater collection, biological wastewater recycling and renewable power.

2:30 – 3:00pm


Speakers: Arnfinn Oines, Social and Environmental Conscience, Soneva & Secretary at Soneva Foundation  Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 9.05.55 PM

Soneva’s vision is inspired by nature’s magnitude, mystery and enchanting beauty. We work hand in hand with the environment to craft beautiful, beyond bespoke experiences where discovery is a way of life. At Soneva, we believe that a business must exist for a greater purpose than just shareholder return. We have created a Waste-to-Wealth concept that sees value and beauty where other views as waste. Through small tweaks in our business model we are able to deliver a desirable resort experience and yet have net positive total impact on society and the environment.

3:00 – 3:30pm


Speaker: Pranav Sethaputra, Group Sustainability Consultant, MCI 

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 1.20.20 PMBusiness tourism is a significant economic engine for destinations but are we making the most of it’s potential as a catalyst for sustainability, prosperity and progress? Hear insights on what forward thinking tourism boards and convention bureau from around the region have done to advance their hospitality community and market their destinations whilst discovering top tips for activating sustainable MICE for your own business or destination.

3:30 – 4:00pm


Speaker: Alison Curry, Marketing Technical Director, Sam Veasna Centre 

Cambodia Bird ConservationMany wildlife responsible tourism initiatives are developed by passionate nature lovers and conservationists, but they are not prepared for what is required to successfully market in today’s digital environment. Marketing now requires collaboration from the entire organization – from bookings, to operations and field guides. All need to connect with marketing, and a completely new set of skills, processes and techniques learned. Using her experiences working with Sam Veasna Centre as a case study Alison will look at the major challenges for responsible Wildlife Tourism operators, how they need to develop organizationally, and key steps and techniques to achieving marketing success. Sam Veasna Centre is a wildlife conservation NGO achieving successful conservation through community based ecotourism around Cambodia.

4:00 – 4:30pm


Speaker: Sarah Griffin, Sales and Marketing Director, Buffalo ToursScreen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.50.35 PM

As the rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasing amongst companies, so too is the rise of CSR in the MICE industry. From corporate gifts to teambuilding to green venues, more and more companies are looking for MICE suppliers that can cater to their corporate values and the justification of MICE spend. Sarah Randall will discuss some of these trends that are emerging and suppliers who are meeting this demand. More importantly, she will address the benefits this provides to the supply chain and wider community and in Asia.

4:30 – 5:00pm


Speaker: Clement Nsala, Marketing Officer, Botswana Tourism 




21 October 2016 (Friday) | 11am – 1pm

Time Details

11:00am – 12:30pm


Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 10.09.17 PMWild Asia celebrates the 10th year anniversary of our flagship Responsible Tourism Awards by handpicking ten award winners to share their stories. This extraordinary two-hour special will showcase ten leaders and pioneers in responsible tourism throughout Asia. Join us for an amazing time as we discover, listen and watch a collection of short clips as our all-stars share their successes and challenges in their journey towards creating a business that impacts positively on local communities and planet earth. We will also share insights and lessons learnt after a decade of assessing and awarding sustainable tourism businesses in Asia.

12:30 – 1:00pm 

Our friends from the GIZ and Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) will also share how you can be part of a growing movement of tourism businesses that want to make a difference.AEN provides 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.logo-gizAEN

** Note – All sessions and speakers are subject to change. All changes will be updated on this webpage. Event organised and supported ITB Asia and Wild Asia.

itb-asia-logo~2    Logovertical

Responsible Tourism Event Speakers 2016

For the Responsible Tourism Events at ITB Asia this year, we continue to bring you the best and most relevant speakers that can inspire and change the way you think about travel. Responsible Tourism is not just a label, it is essentially the way we do business and the way we experience the world. Our speakers have been handpicked because of their leadership, experience, knowledge and passion to make the world a better place via tourism. And we are proud to introduce you to them…

2016 Responsible Tourism Event Speakers

Event Facilitator: Deborah Chan, Responsible Tourism Associate Specialist, Wild Asia

Deborah Chan_Ardent Traveler_2014A storyteller at heart, Deborah’s deep incessant passion for travel had her stumbling into the world of sustainable tourism by chance. As an associate specialist with Wild Asia, she has assessed more than 80 sustainable tourism award applications, visited over 40 sustainable tourism operators across Asia and provided advisory support and trained numerous tourism establishments. Her personal and professional experience in community development in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia has afforded her priceless lessons in strategic development and people management. Her varied skills allows for great versatility in understanding sustainability issues and adapting to different industries, destinations and people groups.

She believes that the only way tourism can become sustainable is if operators assume the responsibility of being leaders in their own destinations; sharing lessons learnt and providing support from within the industry. This is the reason why she continues to facilitate these responsible tourism events, since 2010.

Valerie SfeirValérie Sfeir, International Coordinator, ChildSafe Movement 

Based in Friends-International’s Cambodia HQ, Valérie leads the implementation of the award-winning ChildSafe Movement internationally, promoting sustainable tourism among all stakeholders whilst simultaneously building networks and supportive structures. Following 9 years in the luxury and private banking industries, considering socially responsible investments, Valérie now work with a global portfolio ranging from governmental tourism programs, tourism industry leaders and innovators, businesses and travelers on developing and implementing multiple child protection campaigns, trainings and processes. This aims at raising awareness and changing actors’ behaviors positively towards protecting children across all situations, and creating protective environments for children where they can thrive.

sarah griffinSarah Griffin, Sales and Marketing Director, Buffalo Tours

A part of the Buffalo Tours team since 2004, Sarah Griffin is certainly not new to travel in Asia. Though she is originally from Australia, she’s called the Asian region home for many years, and beyond her work within travel, Sarah loves discovering new and thrilling opportunities around each corner in the region. Sarah is an integral part of Buffalo Tours’ dedication to responsible travel, community connection and stellar customer service.

July 17, 2008. Vancouver, BC.  Photo: Laura LeyshonJens Thraenhart, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office 

Jens Thraenhart was appointed by the tourism ministries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and China (Yunnan and Guanxi) to head the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) as its Executive Director. The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is an inter-governmental body to promote the Mekong region as a single tourism destination, and foster responsible tourism development in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Jens Thraenhart is founder & president of Digital Innovation Asia (DIA). In 2009, he co-founded China Travel Trends, as well as award-winning China digital marketing and social media agency Dragon Trail, and has led marketing and Internet strategy teams with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. He has consulted for many global companies, including recently Prestige Cruise Holdings (now Norwegian Cruise Lines), Swire Hotels, Dusit International, Shinta Mani Hotel Cambodia, and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Educated at Cornell University with a Masters of Management in Hospitality, Mr. Thraenhart was recognized as one of the travel industry’s top 100 rising stars by Travel Agent Magazine in 2003, was listed as one of HSMAI’s 25 Most Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds in Hospitality and Travel in 2004 and 2005, and named as one of the Top 20 Extraordinary Minds in European Travel and Hospitality in 2014. A UNWTO Affiliate Member, and past Chair of PATA China, he founded the Annual China Responsible Tourism Forum & Awards in 2011.

Dr MarcDr Marc van Loo, CEO, Loola Adventure Resort

Dr Marc van Loo is the founding CEO of LooLa Adventure Resort, winner of a number of global sustainability awards. With a PhD in theoretical physics and having taught in schools and universities for over a decade, Marc is a strong advocate of education and open source. Being Dutch means he’s strongly committed to win-win solutions that benefit all stakeholders. As such, his resort is operated exclusively by local staff and it acts as a testbed for open source eco solutions.

Arnfinn OinesArnfinn Oines, Social and Environmental Conscience, Soneva & Secretary at Soneva Foundation 

Arnfinn Oines works as Social & Environmental Conscience for Soneva resorts. He oversees the responsible business practices at Soneva, which have received numerous environmental awards including the prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2015. Arnfinn has been involved in implementing and establishing the Soneva Carbon Calculator, Total Impact Assessment, Clean Water Projects, Soneva Forest Restoration Project, Myanmar Stoves Campaign, the Soneva Foundation, the SLOW LIFE Symposium and the group’s Social & Environmental policy and procedures. 

Prior Arnfinn oversaw the responsible business practices of Six Senses. He co-founded and opened Earthwalkers Hotel in Cambodia as General Manager. He also worked as Course Director for International Tourism Institute in Spain. Arnfinn holds a BA in Adventure Tourism Management and MBA in Hospitality & Tourism.


Willem Neimeijer, CEO, YAANA Ventures

Willem is the CEO of YAANA Ventures, an owner, partner and operator of entrepreneurial travel and hospitality ventures in Asia. Through YAANA, Willem built brands that share real experiences that are grounded in the cultural richness of Asia. More importantly, Willem drives each venture to champion the triple bottom-line: to nurture the people with whom we work, to sustain the planet we all share, and to pursue profits to expand our mission.

Willem founded Khiri Travel at the end of 1993 with a vision of creating a travel company delivering Thailand and Indochina as “4 countries, 1 destination”. He created Khiri Reach, Khiri Travel’s dedicated foundation, which adopts twelve projects that aid underprivileged communities, promote animal welfare, protect local heritage and steward the environment. In the late 1990s, to compliment his travel business, Willem founded a jungle lodge in a remote and breathtaking location in Southern Laos. Tad Fane Resort has since pioneered the development of tourism in the region. Over the following years, he expanded Khiri Travel into Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Maldives. With Khiri Travel continuing to grow sustainably, Willem turned his eye to transplanting the seeds of success he learned through growing Khiri Travel and Tad Fane Resort to the businesses that today form the core of YAANA Ventures: Anurak Community Lodge, GROUND (sustainable community development through service learning),  Khiri Travel, Banteay Chhmar Tents and Grasshopper Adventures.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 1.28.19 PMPranav Sethaputra, Group Sustainability Consultant, MCI 

Pranav is a Group Sustainability Consultant of MCI, the world’s leading provider of strategic engagement and activation solutions in the meetings, events, association and congress industries. As part of MCI’s Sustainability Services team, Pranav provides strategic advisory services to MCI’s clients, working hand-in-hand with corporations, associations, governments, venues and destinations seeking a competitive advantage through a structured sustainability programme. Leveraging on sustainability, Pranav helps MCI’s clients enhance organisational performance, grow globally, energise communities and drive business results.

With core competencies in brand marketing, social research and sustainability consulting, Pranav brings a specialist focus in how businesses can benefit from a structured Sustainability & Communications Strategy. His experience includes working with community, stakeholder engagement and environmental issues for a diverse range of organisations & businesses both in and outside of the events world. His past clients include the likes of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, SAP, BP, Boeing and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). Pranav is also responsible for bringing MCI’s own sustainability commitments to life, guiding MCI’s 100+ Sustainability Champions to develop their local activation strategy in the company’s rapidly expanding 61 offices globally.

Alison Curry_Siem Reap_2016Alison Curry, Marketing Technical Advisor, Sam Veasna Centre

Alison has 25 years’ experience in marketing and organisational development across Europe and Asia, working with some of the biggest brands in the world including Coca-Cola, Nike, Nokia and Unilever. She has launched 3 businesses and trained MNCs in digital marketing, innovation and the development of digital and marketing ready organisations.  After realising that her work was at odds with her values she started a long process of self-education to move towards using her powers for good, including volunteering and professional sabbaticals working in Laos, Sulawesi and Malaysia with environmental, fair trade and social enterprise organisations. She is now working with Sam Veasna Centre for Wildlife Conservation, a Cambodian wildlife conservation and ecotourism NGO as Marketing Technical Advisor to help this remarkable organisation to grow.


sschwepcke-headshotSarah Schwepcke, Head – Responsible and Inclusive Business Hub Southeast Asia (RIBH), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (giz) GmbH

Sarah Schwepcke leads the Southeast Asia Section of the Responsible and Inclusive Business Hubs (RIBH), a programme implemented in Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and the Middle-East / North-Africa Region on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. The Hubs aim to support companies to successfully design and implement responsible and inclusive business models and to promote private sector engagement in international cooperation projects. A particular focus is laid on the tourism industry, amongst other sectors such as agriculture and ICT. Sarah Schwepcke, an innovation management and youth employment specialist, holds Master Degrees in International Management and International Affairs & Governance by the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education. Building on her private-sector focus, she has been working on behalf of GIZ-implemented programmes in Egypt and Southeast Asia for the past five years.

Nikoi Island – Winner, Responsible Operator

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

Situated off the Indonesian coast, Nikoi Island offers guests a private getaway and peace of mind thanks to their environmental initiatives, such as their unique passive-cooling building design constructed from primarily recycled driftwood and alang alang grass in the traditional Indonesian style. With the majority of the island left untouched, Nikoi gives guests an intimate introduction the the natural environment with activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, and trekking.

Nikoi Island employs inspiring strategies to minimise energy waste and environmental impact. Despite their tropical location Nikoi Island doesn’t use air-conditioning, instead buildings are kept cool thanks to double layer roof design, which promotes vertical and horizontal ventilation. All of the toiletries provided in guests’ rooms are biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and packaged in refillable bottles. You’ll be hard-pressed to find beverages bottled in plastic, Nikoi keeps their plastic consumption low by only using refillable glass bottles for water and straws made from bamboo.

Some of their short and long-term plans for further sustainability include: recycling greywater for gardening use; local reef restoration, establishment of “no fishing” zones on the reef; turtle conservation; increasing incorporation of locally-sourced, organic foods; utilization of more renewable energy sources; and the establishment of an artist in residence program for Indonesian sculptors.

To maximise their ability to support the local communities and environment, Nikoi Island established The Island Foundation (TIF), a registered charity in both Singapore and Indonesia, run by an independent board. TIF works with the local government and area communities on their various initiatives, like the collection of plastic waste along the beaches, sponsoring local events, monitoring nearby shipping to prevent illegal dumping, and improving education standards in the area. Another big project: working with the Orang Suku Laut in Berakit village to protect their delicate mangrove ecosystem. The mangroves are considered sacred and are a main source of food for the community.

In an effort to prevent the negative effects of tourism, Nikoi Island does not offer tours to local villages. Instead, cultural interaction is encouraged with staff members and information on culturally appropriate behaviour and language guides are provided in guests’ rooms. Also, events and activities promoting cultural heritage, like Batik and jewelry workshops, nature talks, and cultural performances, are organised through TIF.

For more information about Nikoi Island, visit their website:

Watch their video here

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.

Responsible Tourism Events At ITB Asia 2014


Responsible Tourism Forum & Clinics

October 29 – 31, Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Every year, ITB Asia offers practitioners, newbies 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 2014’s series of Responsible Tourism events. Experts and experienced practitioners will be presenting concepts, international standards, lessons learnt, current trends and notable regional case studies. As always, we will be stationed at the Responsible Tourism Centre Booth at Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65. Do come by for a chat with us.

Engage in a series of personalised clinics and talks to learn and be inspired by leading experts.


Responsible Tourism Clinics, 30 October 2014 (Thursday)

Venue: Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65


Time Topic & Speaker(s)
10:00 – 10:30am How To Make Community-Based Tourism Work: Multi-stakeholder Success Stories From Thailand
Dr Jutamas Jan Wisansing, Executive Director and Consultant, Perfect Link Consulting Group and Education Chair, Pacific Asia Tourism Associations (PATA) Thailand Chapter
10:30 – 11:00am Developing Community Tourism Businesses as part of the Tour Operator Supply Chain
Adrienne Lee, Program Manager (Asia & Africa), Planeterra
11:00am – 12:00noon Revealing Of The Top 3 Winners of the Inspiring Stories Competition
2:00 – 2:30pm Child Sex Tourism is a Risk for Asian Destinations and Companies
Mike Nedelko, CRM & Marketing Manager, The Code
2:30 – 3:00pm Sustainable Practices – Small Ways That Lead to Big Improvements & Cost Saving
Ruben Cortes, Associate Director, Sustainable Building Initiative, Wild Asia
3:00 – 3:30pm Burma’s Reopening to the World: An Examination of Sustainable Tourism Development in the 21st Century
Daniel PliskeSales and Marketing at Access China Tours
 3:30 – 4:00pm Creating Competitive Advantage Through Responsible Tourism Practices
Albert Teo Chin Kion, Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours & Sukau Rainforest Lodge
 4:00 – 4:30pm Climate Change And Tourism
Chan Beng Seng, Coordinator for the Global Alternative Tourism Network (GATN)
* See below for more details about each clinic. 



Responsible Tourism Forum & Networking, 31 October 2014 (Friday)

Venue: Conference Room Hibiscus, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall D1


Time Details
Join us for an inspiring forum session as we discuss four hot topics that surround responsible tourism. Speakers will push the envelope to discuss sustainable tourism market trends, provide tools and applications in achieving sustainability and share an incredible case study of sustainability in Gobi. The following are the four topics:

  • Cost Effective Ways To Achieving Sustainable Tourism Best Practices, Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters and Associates
  • Eco labels for hotel, why you should commit, what benefits you should expect, Nicolas Dubrocard, Associate Advisor, Wild Asia 
  • Sustainable Tourism Trends, Emerging Markets & New Media, Jens Thraenhart, Founder, Digital Innovation Asia 
  • Evolution of an Ecolodge: Lessons from the Gobi, Jalsa Urubshurow, Founder and CEO, Nomadic Expeditions and the Three Camel Lodge

Following the forum, winners of the notable Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards 2014 will be announced. Guests are invited to mingle and network after the event over some light refreshments.

* See below for more details on the forum topics. 



countrysideHow To Make Community-Based Tourism Work: Multi-stakeholder Success Stories From Thailand 

Speaker: Dr Jutamas Jan Wisansing, Executive Director and Consultant, Perfect Link Consulting Group and Education Chair, Pacific Asia Tourism Associations (PATA) Thailand Chapter
30 October (Thursday), 10:00 – 10:30am @ the Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

Stories from 13 selected communities from 6 designated areas for sustainable tourism development will be shared. These communities have been on the systematic process to manage the resource vulnerabilities and risks of being too overly popular, together with multi-stakeholders co-create community tourism products to meet market demand based on an appreciation of community local wisdoms. The clinic’s discussion will be focused on how to ensure CBTs are sustained on a long term basis – what’s the secret behind thriving CBTs?

Beyond Unique Escapes (3)Developing Community Tourism Businesses as part of the Tour Operator Supply Chain

Speaker: Adrienne Lee, Program Manager (Asia & Africa), Planeterra
30 October (Thursday), 10:30 – 11:00am @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

This presentation is about incorporating sustainable practices that empower local communities into tour operator supply chains. The tour operator working directly with its foundation, is working directly with communities to empower under served women and youth to access market-driven approaches to create sustainable businesses. There is often a resource gap between non-profit organizations and blended-social purpose businesses that are attempting to benefit the communities in which they work. Without a strong market, these non-profits or community tourism projects often fold and fail. However, when partnered with a for-profit operator, tourism businesses have one of the greatest reaches and spread to provide opportunity for marginalized communities, and allow social enterprises to scale, access knowledge transfer, and develop their first revenue generating programs.

LOGO_Inspiring Stories from Destinations_2012-page-001Revealing Of The Top 3 Winners of the Inspiring Stories Competition 2014

30 October (Thursday), 11:00am – 12:00pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

Come and be inspired by change setters in the tourism industry! The top 3 winners of this annual competition are operators with an amazing story to tell. They have been selected based on their exceptional efforts in preserving destinations and shaping local communities. This is your chance to glean from their experience & be inspired to make a difference! Read 2012 and 2013 winning Inspiring Stories.

DSC_0242Child Sex Tourism is a Risk for Asian Destinations and Companies

Speaker: Mike Nedelko, CRM & Marketing Manager, The Code
30 October (Thursday), 2:00 – 2:30pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

The Code would like to highlight the need for child protection as part of responsible and sustainable tourism and present it in the context of “crisis and risk management”. Even in Asian tourism sphere, the current initial thoughts of “crisis and risk management” may invoke precautions to prevent natural disasters that can impact tourism, such as tsunami and floods. However, there is also a real risk for a destination’s or a company’s brand and reputation when it comes to crimes of sexual exploitation of children or other crimes relating to children.

resefSustainable Practices – Small Ways That Lead to Big Improvements & Cost Saving 

Speaker: Ruben Cortes, Associate Director, Sustainable Building Initiative, Wild Asia 
30 October (Thursday), 2:30 – 3:00pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

Sustainability is important for all tourism businesses, rural and urban. There has never been a better time to act for the benefit of your business and the “bottom line”. In this clinic session, Ruben will speak about some basic systems and ways that businesses can adopt to reduce negative impacts on the environment, reduce utility bills and ultimately benefit the business on the long run. The presentation will focus on proven steps that businesses can take in order to reduce their environmental impact in an affordable and effective way.

myanmarBurma’s Reopening to the World: An Examination of Sustainable Tourism Development in the 21st Century

Speaker: Daniel PliskeSales and Marketing at Access China Tours
30 October (Thursday), 3:00 – 3:30pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

Now that Myanmar’s government has recently begun allowing travellers/tourists to freely enter the country, the formerly non-developed tourism industry is quickly becoming a major contributor to the nation’s economy. With these quickly increasing visitor numbers, tourism infrastructure development must focus on steady sustainability if it is to succeed as well as provide substantial benefits and opportunities for the country as a whole. The future of Myanmar’s tourism industry is dependent on sustainability practices and initiatives and therefore, must imitate its neighbor’s positive examples in order to preserve vast natural resources for future generations. Myanmar’s tourism development and future perceptions as an international tourist destination will have great implications for Southeast Asia as a whole, as they quickly become a key player in the regions tourism industry.

Spice villageCreating Competitive Advantage Through Responsible Tourism Practices

Speaker: Albert Teo, Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours & Sukau Rainforest Lodge 
30 October (Thursday), 3:30 – 4:00pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

In a highly competitive business environment, brands are required to push the envelope to create evergreen unique selling propositions (USP). Albert will present three case studies based on the award winning Borneo Eco Tours, Sukau Rainforest Lodge, and Borneo Ecotourism, Solutions and Technologies Society (BEST), a non-profit foundation. The strategies discussed are from lessons learnt after being in business for 23 years. They include triple bottom line concepts, specialized responsible tourism practices that improve operations synergy and leverage on business strengths. Albert will also discuss challenges faced and solutions applied when dealing with community projects.

Beach stormTourism And Climate Change 

Speaker: Chan Beng Seng, Coordinator for the Global Alternative Tourism Network (GATN) 
30 October (Thursday), 4:00 – 4:30pm @ the  Responsible Tourism Centre Booth, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall E, J65

With its close connections to the environment and climate itself, tourism is considered to be a vulnerable and highly climate-sensitive economic sector. Climate affects a wide range of environmental resources that are essential attraction factors for tourism. Climate change will make destinations less attractive and jeopardize major sources of income. There are direct impacts like altered seasonal patterns or coastal erosion, loss of beach area and higher costs to protect and maintain waterfronts. Also there are indirect impacts of climate change like water shortages. Higher costs for risk management for touristic infrastructure might change the demand side of tourism markets or the visitor numbers. Furthermore, the awareness of tourists towards climate change and other environmental issues is likely to be a major driver of their future holiday choices. Operators that do not adapt to this emerging ‘climate aware’ market risk losing market share to more responsive competitors. This clinic will discuss the important relation between climate change and tourism, and will try to show some alternatives and help to promote a responsible and sustainable tourism, which bring not only benefits for the tourism industry but also to the people whose livelihood depends on tourism.


Responsible Tourism Forum & Networking 

31 October (Friday), 11:00am – 1:00pm @ Conference Room Hibiscus, Basement 2, Exhibition Hall D1

Join us for an inspiring forum session as we discuss four hot topics that surround responsible tourism. Speakers will push the envelope to discuss sustainable tourism market trends, provide tools and applications in achieving sustainability and share an incredible case study of sustainability in Gobi. The following are the four topics:

Evason Phuket

Cost Effective Ways To Achieving Sustainable Tourism Best Practices 

Speaker: Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters and Associates
It is easy to assume that only high tech solutions can be applied to achieve sustainability. This may be the case for economies that have very high labour costs and relatively cheap access to technology. In economies where labour costs are low and imported technology is very expensive there are alternative solutions to achieve sustainability and to provide memorable tourism experiences. This presentation will draw on case studies from across the globe and relate the findings that are relevant to the ASEAN region.

all inclusive holiday Eco Labels for Hotels: Why You Should Commit & What Benefits You Should Expect

Speaker: Nicolas Dubrocard, Associate Advisor, Wild Asia
Eco labels for hotels represent great challenges and lead to many questions, we will answer them during this presentation. We will highlight the advantages of a sustainable approach to face potential environmental crisis such as water shortage. We will discuss the guest new requirements in terms of environmental respect and the green market positioning. We will take into account the impact of competing for an eco label on the staff. We will browse the operating costs savings linked to a sound environmental management system. Finally we will introduce Wild Asia solutions to support your efforts to get an eco label.

next genSustainable Tourism Trends, Emerging Markets & New Media

Speaker: Jens Thraenhart, Founder, Digital Innovation Asia

In a dynamic, ever-changing, and robust sector, sustainable tourism pioneers and leaders need to be constantly adapting to the changing environment in their approach to do business better, thus continually leaving a positive impact. Understanding current market and technology is also important to responding to appropriate strategic approach. Sustainable tourism is emerging and businesses need to gear up for the next generation of informed travellers.

three-camel-lodge-02Evolution of an Ecolodge: Lessons from the Gobi

Speaker: Jalsa Urubshurow, Founder and CEO, Nomadic Expeditions and the Three Camel Lodge

What makes a lodge “eco”? While” reduce, reuse and recycle” are fundamental aspects of environmentally friendly operations, a true ecolodge goes beyond the green footprint to embrace direct support for cultural and natural heritage, while delivering meaningful social and economic benefits to local people. This presentation tells the story of how Mongolia’s pioneer Three Camel Lodge became recognized by National Geographic as one of the world’s 25 best lodges by developing a successful business model based upon sustainable tourism best practices.


Following the forum, the Winners of the Wild Asia’s 2014 Responsible Tourism Award will be revealed. Esteemed winners will be announced, each representing a specific category; community engagement, cultural preservation and overall most inspiring responsible tourism operator. 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 meet the people behind Asia’s leading sustainable tourism organizations. Read more about this year’s Award Finalists.

** 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, The Blue Yonder and ITB Berlin”s Official Partner Country 2015 – Mongolia, Nomadic by Nature:

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Call For Inspiring Stories 2014

Do you want your responsible tourism story heard at Asia’s biggest business-to-business travel trade show?

Well, we want to hear from you! LOGO_Inspiring Stories from Destinations_2012-page-001

This year, Wild Asia together with Gaia Discovery is on a lookout for inspiring travel stories from within the industry. We are inviting exceptional tourism businesses and projects from across Asia to submit their inspiring story.

Have you empowered local people? Saved a rare wildlife species? Protected an area’s cultural heritage? Innovated ways to run a tourism business that is kinder to the environment? Have you through the power of tourism used it as a force for good? We want to hear your story.

Inspiring Stories from Destinations is an annual competition providing an international platform for tourism players to get their story heard at ITB Asia in Singapore. The competition seeks exciting stories from organisations and individuals who have found in themselves a passion to make a difference in the travel industry and leave a legacy for the next generation.

Check out winners from the 2012 and 2013 Inspiring Stories competition!

What we’re looking for?

The selection of successful stories is based on the authenticity of the story, creative and innovative elements and the power to inspire others towards making responsible tourism a reality. (Terms below)

What’s in it for you?

  • Top 3 Winners will receive complimentary tickets to ITB Asia’s Responsible Tourism Events and will be given 15 minutes each to share their story on the Responsible Tourism stage to an audience of like minded tourism professionals and potential customers.
  • Top 3 Winners will have their story published on the Wild Asia’s website and Gaia Discovery’s website.
  • Top 3 Winners will benefit from the reach of both Wild Asia and Gaia Discovery’s social media networks.

How to enter

Submit your stories in any of the following form:

  • In words; no more than 1,000 words
  • Video; no more than 5 minutes
  • Slideshow; no more than 15 slides

Email your entries to by 14th September 2014 (Sunday). Please title your email “RT Stories for RT Event at ITB Asia 2014″ and include your Name, Email, Organization and Destination in your email. Successful applicants will be notified via email by 30th September, 2014. Winners will be invited to speak at ITB Asia (terms below).

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Inspiring Stories is part of the annual Responsible Tourism networking events that started in 2009. Organised and supported by ITB AsiaWild Asia and this year with the inclusion of Gaia Discovery, this annual event hopes to bring together sustainable tourism practitioners to share, engage, learn and be inspired to make a difference.

Terms & Conditions

  • Previous winners of Inspiring Stories (Top 3 or Top 10) cannot apply.
  • 2014 Finalists of the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards cannot apply.
  • Past Winners of the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards cannot apply.
  • Businesses or projects that have current engagements with Wild Asia and/or Gaia Discovery cannot apply.
  • Business or project must be based in Asia.
  • Free entry to ITB Asia for Top 3 Winners on the day of the Inspiring Stories event (TBC) only. Travel to and from Singapore or accommodation to attend the event is not included.
  • Stories are judged by a panel of responsible tourism experts and their decision is final.
  • Applicants acknowledge that the Top 3 Winners of Inspiring Stories 2014 will have their story and images published on Wild Asia and Gaia Discovery websites.

Inspiring Stories From Destinations is a competition jointly organized by ITB Asia, Wild Asia and Gaia Discovery.

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Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Conference, Kenya

Nairobi, September 24th – 27th 2013

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Wild Asia is a Media Partner of the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference 2013


The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), now in its seventh year, is a unique annual conference providing practical solutions to advance sustainability goals for the tourism industry. Offering invaluable learning and networking opportunities, the ESTC is a leading international meeting place where innovative minds gather to discuss ideas that inspire change. In 2013, the ESTC will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from September 24-47, and will bring together 450+ professionals from across the industry. Advancing policies and practices benefiting businesses and communities, the ESTC helps reinforce the roles of tourism in building a more sustainable future.


(Banner photograph credit: Randy Crossley on National Geographic)