Seeking the best in responsible travel, eight accommodation providers across Asia were short-listed, with four selected as the winners for the 2008 Responsible Tourism Awards.
In 2008, 45 operators submitted entries from 8 countries. We had 4 categories, including: Community-based Homestays, Budget Accommodation, Mid-range Resorts and Hotels, and Luxury and Boutique Resorts.
Community Based Homestay
WINNER: Ecosphere Spiti, India
Ecosphere is a social enterprise that works on the sustainable development of Spiti valley (a cold desert in the Trans-Himalayas of India), by focusing on economic empowerment, conservation & development. Ecosphere’s program on tourism develops unique, authentic & reliable tourism activities & experiences for visitors that are linked to community livelihoods. This not only provides the community with a additional sources of income but also serves as an incentive for them to conserve their unique natural and cultural heritage.
FINALIST: Andaman Discoveries, Thailand
Andaman Discoveries is one of North Andaman Tsunami Relief (NATR)’s on-going community-driven development projects. NATR is an independent, non profit organization that continues to provide assistance to tsunami-impacted coastal communities of the North Andaman. NATR has implemented over 120 projects in twelve villages, focusing on human needs and services. Explore diverse, pristine eco-systems such as taking a traditional long-tail boat through dense mangrove forests; hike through lush rainforests that are alive with the sounds of exotic wildlife or snorkel in clear, emerald-colored waters teeming with vibrant marine life.
WINNER: Tree Tops Jungle Lodge, Sri Lanka
A real ecolodge and jungle experience in the forgotten valley of Weliara. Experience living and walking with a team of native, local trackers and naturalists. Accommodation at the lodge will be in simple tree and mud huts discretely blending with bush, virgin forest and wildlife. This is a remote and non-touristic wilderness in Southeast Sri Lanka, only a few kilometres north of Yala National Park, a wildlife buff’s paradise.
FINALIST: Fasaai Resort and Spa, Thailand
Faasai Resort & Spa is located on the Kung Wiman Beach, Chanthaburi Province, Thailand. This garden eco-resort is approximately 220 kilometres to the southeast of Bangkok or about 3 hours drive by car. The quiet garden resort is only ten minutes walk from Kung Wiman beach and a good base for exploring the beaches and mountains of Chanthaburi. Set behind a hilly forested ridge abutting the coastline, Faasai maintain close links with the community and attempts to keep a green landscape among cultivated fields, village homes and orchards.
Mid Range Resorts and Hotel
WINNER: Alila Manggis Bali, Indonesia
Alila Manggis is a secluded, stylish seaside resort in Manggis, East Bali. Set amidst a coconut grove, the resort is nestled between the sea and the majestic Mount Agung, Balis most sacred mountain. Alila Manggis excels in designing immersive experiences personalised to each guest’s lifestyle preferences. The resort is committed to preserving the environment and supporting local communities through their Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy.
FINALIST: Alila Ubud Bali, Indonesia
Alila Ubud is a tranquil and secluded hillside retreat that sits high up on the edge of the rich green Ayung River valley in Balis central foothills. The resort is located just minutes from Ubud, the islands cultural heart. Blending contemporary design and traditional Balinese architecture, the secluded courtyards, spacious terraces and private gardens create an intimate feeling like none other. Designed in contemporary Balinese style, the resort has good relations with the surrounding villages and follows clear policies to protect the environment and nurture the local culture.
Luxury and Boutique Resort
WINNER: Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi, Thailand
Six Senses Hideaway at Yao Noi is located on the island of Yao Noi, Phang-Nga. The natural vegetation and tropical landscaping provide privacy and allow glorious views over Phang Nga Bay. It is situated midway between Phuket and Krabi. This luxury resort focuses its attention on privacy and detail. Guests stay in private pool villas hidden among tropical vegetation. Gardens have been replanted with local species which consume less water and attract local wildlife. The Hideaway’s strengths are its energy, water and nature conservation efforts.
FINALIST: El Nido Resorts, Philippines
El Nido Resorts is located in northern Palawan on the islands of Miniloc and Lagen. Lagen Island Resort is set in a cove, fringed by a thick primary forest. The surrounding provides a wealth of opportunities and experiences for wildlife observation and sightings. The Lagen trail is one of the best sites for birdwatching. The island hosts a high diversity of birds including almost all of the species endemic to Palawan. A management system following three core values – sustainable environmental resource management, socio-economic development and local capacity building ensures they are among the best responsible tourism operators in the region.
Congratulations to our 2008 winners, and thank you for being an inspiration to us all. Taylor’s College hosted our award presentation event, which also included a public seminar on climate change and was attended by over 421 guests, including his Excellency the French Ambassador. We shared our award ceremony with over 400 invited guests and held a series of workshops on Responsible Tourism for operators and media, a workshop on animal welfare and zoos (with Acres, a Singapore-based NGO) and a workshop for Taylor’s College.