Responsible Tourism Leaders Webinar Schedule

Webinar series

 

In conjunction with our friends at TrainingAid, and to celebrate our 10th Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, we are delighted to be co-hosting a series of educational webinars. We’ve scheduled several engaging and eye-opening webinars with responsible tourism leaders who have featured in our Awards over the years. These webinars will be an opportunity to learn from pioneers and experts in the field, on various key topics in sustainable travel.


Coming up next…


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Thursday 4th August (4pm Thailand)

Maximising Community Benefits Through Social Innovation & Responsible Volunteer Travel

Featuring PEPY Tours and The Blue Yonder

How can responsible tourism operators successfully adopt the social enterprise model? Join our live conversation with responsible tourism leaders The Blue Yonder and PEPY Tours, and learn how the inclusive and community-oriented business model works in practice.

Join the Live Session

bannerThursday 11th August (4pm Thailand)

Make it Count: how to scale up sustainable tourism

Featuring The Travel Foundation and Leeds Beckett University

Join this free session to find out what practical and profitable actions you can take within your business to scale up the sales of your sustainable tourism products, and how supply chain partners can work together more effectively to sell more sustainable tourism for mutual benefit.

Join the Live Session


Free Replay

7343612936_7ac79a1450_oThursday 23rd June (4pm Thailand)

Taking Sustainable Luxury to the Next Level

How can luxury resorts and hotels embrace sustainability and play an active role in creating positive sustainability solutions for the travel and tourism industry?

Learn from the internationally recognized sustainable luxury leaders who are redefining what it means to offer authentic luxury travel experiences, and demonstrating that socially responsible and environmentally sound practices can – and should – be a key part of successful and competitive hospitality brands.

Featuring Soneva Resorts and El Nido Resorts

Catch it on demand (log in required)


Wild Asia retains the right to change the details in this schedule and for regular updates please check out www.trainingaid.org

ViaVia Tours, Indonesia – Most Inspiring Tour Operator

winner[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates ViaVia Tours for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner. This award recognizes the tour operator that excels in all of the above categories by taking into consideration all the key principles of responsible tourism (maximum positive impacts to the local community and minimum negative impacts to the environment) and awards innovation for this most inspiring responsible tourism business of the year.

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

Our favourite things about them!

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

Inspiring Management

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

Community Engagement and Development

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

Cultural Preservation

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

Resource Efficiency

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

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

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

finalist[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his post congratulates Papua Expeditions for being recognized as a 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Finalist. This award recognizes the tour operator that excels in all of the above categories by taking into consideration all the key principles of responsible tourism (maximum positive impacts to the local community and minimum negative impacts to the environment) and awards innovation for this most inspiring responsible tourism business of the year.

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

Our favourite things about them!

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

Inspiring Management

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

Community Engagement and Development

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

Cultural Preservation

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

Resource Efficiency

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

Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation

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

2013 Awards – Why should I apply?


IMG 1391 2_1Why should I apply? 

The difference our Awards have made...

 

Marc Van Loo, founder of 2012 Winner of Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator, LooLa Adventure in Indonesia shares with us just how they have benefited from receiving international recognition through our Awards.

Pictured: Marc Van Loo

1.       What partnerships have you made through our Awards?

We’ve been exploring the idea of creating a Wiki portal for tourism operators to share best practice. Through the awards, we got in touch with Geoffrey Lipman (Secretary General of UNWTO and past President of the WTTC) and together have been in touch with Wikipedia. Their CEO got personally involved and we received assurances of dedicated support.

Most recently we are busy designing three new Eco villas that support local employment and are resource efficient. As well as a team of fantastic experts we’ve engaged with this work, past Award winners Sarinbuana (Bali) are also helping to support this project (Norm is designing villas as we speak!).

The award gave our international credibility an enormous boost and was instrumental in opening all these doors for us.

Significantly, the Wild Asia award led to an invitation from WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow awards (2013) to apply, and we’re now one of three finalists in the Community Benefits category, further enhancing our credibility.

2.       How has the Award made a difference to your destination?

The local government has always liked what we do and is very proud of our achievements. They are very happy to see that what they liked about us, is also recognised independently and internationally.

Most of all, the Award has done miracles for empowering our staff.

It has hit them: we are no longer a bunch of villagers in a remote place in Indonesia, we compete at the world stage, and we’re going to show that we can retain and enhance that position. Motivation has never been this high. The Wild Asia checklists have done wonders for pushing certain not-so-popular items like waste (water) management to the front.

3.      Has the Award provided a platform to improve your responsible tourism communications?

The award enabled us to get an appointment with some of the highest officers in Singapore within STB (Singapore Tourism Board), which is very nice.

For internal purposes, it has been great. Now we can always refer back to the application forms, and all our staff now accepts that this stuff is very important.

4.       Has the Award application improved your systems/identified areas to improve?

Absolutely. The process allowed us to identify the management of waste water and water supply were some of our areas that could be improved.

We’re currently working with an architect who has just completed an initial design for (waste and rain) water, and is working together with experts for waste water integration.

We also wanted to improve our energy efficiency. Electricity is now being completely overhauled. At first I thought that this was not possible – but now it turns out that we are able to have air-con in our new villas in a eco-sensitive way, not using ANY batteries and only using solar power! It’s all very exciting!

5.       In what way has Wild Asia as an organisation supported your business?

Wild Asia has always been ready to answer any question if they were in a position to do so, by generously and sharing relevant contacts in their network without any clear benefits for themselves except creating goodwill.

Really, absolutely tops.

Sustainability Training for Tour Operators – October 2012 (Bangkok)

Following our recent partnership with Travelife, Wild Asia is proud to announce the 2-day ‘Sustainability for Tour Operators’ training course organized by Travelife this October in Bangkok. The free course is targeted at tour operators (company executives, contracting and marketing managers) and travel associations and tourism boards.

Dates: The training will be provided twice

  • 17th & 18th October (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 24th & 25th October (Wednesday & Thursday)

Venue: Bangkok, Thailand (exact venue TBC)

After completion of the training, participants will be offered support in the use and implementation of the knowledge, methods and tools that have been acquired in the training. This support will be in the form of follow-up meetings and individual coaching sessions. The ultimate goal is to prepare travel operators for sustainability certification in order to increase your competitiveness in the global markets.

The training will be conducted by Chris Thompson and Naut Kausters, both leaders and practitioners in sustainable tourism with more than 20 and 15 years’ experience individually. The training is designed to be hands-on and interactive using a variety of learning techniques.

What will you learn?

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the concept of sustainability in tourism
  • Recognize the key environmental, social and economic impacts of tourism
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of tour operators (inbound/outbound)
  • Identify the types of actions tour operators can take in the field of transport, accommodation, excursions and customer communication
  • Identify quick wins for your own business and for your suppliers
  • Set realistic sustainability targets and identify methods of measuring success
  • Identify personal sustainability USP’s (Unique Selling Points)
  • Communicate sustainability achievements in an effective way to your clients
  • Use your sustainability achievements to create more business (marketing)

How to register?

Book early as training slots fill up quickly. To register, complete the registration form below and email to n.kusters@cbi.eu. You will receive a confirmation upon successful registration.

Choose from the two dates: 17th & 18th October (Wednesday & Thursday) OR 24th & 25th October (Wednesday & Thursday)

Cost: Free of charge. Sign up now!

Registration deadline: 30th September 2012.

Participants should have relevant experience in the tourism business and master the English language on professional level.

Stay in touch for the latest training updates and sign up for Wild Asia’s e-alerts.

Download the Agenda and Registration Form

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Supporting organisations

  • TEATA, Thai Eco and Adventure Tour operator Association
  • ATTA, Association of Thai Travel Agencies
  • ABTA, The British Travel Association
  • ANVR, The Dutch Association of Tour operators and Travel Agents
  • CBI, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries
  • IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative
  • Travelife, Sustainability in Tourism
  • Wild Asia, Responsible Tourism Initiative

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Wild Asia & Travelife

For more than ten years Wild Asia has been working across Asia championing the benefits and potential of developing a tourism industry that benefits local places and people through their Responsible Tourism Initiative (RTI). Wild Asia’s RTI works with businesses to improve their social and environmental practices to meet and exceed global standards. By creating partnerships with businesses within the industry, they aim to inspire and create change to benefit our environment, wildlife, people and communities.

Travelife, developed in 2005, was set up to support an efficient and cost effective introduction of sustainability principles for the tourism industry. They offer industry-wide standards for sustainability management and certification and provide best practice guidance and support for tour operators implementing them through the provision of training, tools and references. Travelife, originally initiated in Europe, is already supported by more than 15 national travel associations who promote Travelife across their members.

The partnership with Travelife is a perfect marriage of values. Wild Asia will be the Asia based Travelife delivery partner, offering training and support to tour operators across the region. Tour operators will benefit greatly from having locally based expertise at hand.

Together, the sustainability partners will support tour operators achieve green accreditations, enhancing the tourism offer for customers and improve marketing for the region. Adopting responsible tourism principles through the Travelife training programme and management systems will not only improve participants’ corporate social responsibility profile, it will also provide significant cost saving opportunities, enhance relationships with staff and host communities, and open doors to new marketing avenues.

If you are a tour operator based or operating in South East Asia and are interested in beginning your journey towards sustainability, please contact Wild Asia to enquire more about joining the Travelife scheme. Contact rt@wildasia.org.

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   Wild Asia Logo 

Wild Asia & Travelife Partnership

Wild Asia is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with the international sustainable tourism certification and training scheme, Travelife for tour operators.

For more than ten years Wild Asia has been working across Asia championing the benefits and potential of developing a tourism industry that benefits local places and people through their Responsible Tourism Initiative (RTI). Wild Asia’s RTI works with businesses to improve their social and environmental practices to meet and exceed global standards. By creating partnerships with businesses within the industry, they aim to inspire and create change to benefit our environment, wildlife, people and communities.

Travelife, developed in 2002, was set up to support an efficient and cost effective introduction of sustainability principles for the tourism industry. They offer industry-wide standards for sustainability management systems and provide best practice guidance and support for tour operators implementing them through the provision of training, tools and references.

The new partnership with Travelife is a perfect marriage of values. Wild Asia will be the Asia based Travelife delivery partner, offering training and support to tour operators across the region. Tour operators will benefit greatly from having locally based expertise at hand.

Together, the sustainability partners will support tour operators achieve green accreditations, enhancing the tourism offer for customers and improve marketing for the region. Adopting responsible tourism principles through the Travelife training programme and management systems will not only improve participants’ corporate social responsibility profile, it will also provide significant cost saving opportunities, enhance relationships with staff and host communities, and open doors to new marketing avenues.

Reza Azmi, Founder and Director of Wild Asia, the only Asian grown organization dedicated to responsible tourism across the continent, speaks out about the exciting new partnership. “We’re delighted to be working with Travelife. Becoming accredited Travelife Auditors and Regional Representatives is great news for Asia. We look forward to working with locally based tour operators, helping to improve their business, tourism for Asia, and protecting our diverse environment and unique and treasured cultural heritage. Sustainable tourism has never been more important, and in demand. A recent Lonely Planet survey revealed a staggering 93% of people said they would purposefully partake in environmentally-friendly travel. Businesses must step up to the demand”.

If you are a tour operator based or operating in Asia and are interested in beginning your journey towards sustainability, please contact Wild Asia to enquire about joining the Travelife scheme. Please contact us at rt@wildasia.org.