Wild Asia’s judging team had their work cut out to pick from an exceptionally high level of Applicants in the 2012 Awards. We saw entries flooding in from India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. We also introduced new award categories this year, moving away from size of operators to themes of responsible tourism. We shortlisted 12 inspirational operators across Asia.
Best in Community Engagement and Development
This award recognizes exceptional commitment to supporting the local community and economy in which the business operates.
As the first employee-owned hotel in Cambodia, Soria Moria works closely with various local charities and organizations on a grassroots level, and facilitates vocational training and a higher education program to empower locals.
Agri Tourism’s goals are to develop and promote agricultural tourism as a potential vehicle for diversifying and stabilizing rural economies by creating jobs, increasing community income, and attracting tourists to the area. Through their projects, training, and support, farmers benefit from the development of tourism and the income to improve their livelihoods.
Best in Cultural Preservation
This award recognizes engagement and efforts by tourism businesses in preserving, enhancing and promoting local cultures and heritage.
WINNER: Agri Tourism, India
Agri Tourism is successfully reconnecting urban Indians to their rural roots. Their mission to diversify farms by introducing tourism is benefitting local livelihoods and keeping farming heritage alive. By providing exciting opportunities for sustainable secondary income, this project is preventing urban migration and protecting traditional village life.
FINALIST: Heritance Tea Factory, Sri Lanka
A story written inextricably around the wondrous “tea plant”, this business is harmonizing Tourism with the Tea Culture. They are committed to offer prominence and a sense of recognition to the heritage of the communities who have contributed for decades to the development of Sri Lanka’s tea industry and environment.
Best in Protection of Natural Areas and/or Wildlife Conservation
This award recognizes tourism businesses’ consideration of their local environment and biodiversity by actively supporting and protecting their natural assets.
Scuba Junkie, based on Mabul Island off the east coast of Sabah, the company strives to be sensitive and have a positive effect on this unique area. Introducing the first rubbish collection scheme on the island, they’re improving waste management and protecting their natural assets. They also run a Turtle Hatchery and are championing the Semporna Shark Sanctuary, in order to help save our seas.
FINALIST: Banjaar Tola, India
Taj Safaris (a joint venture between &Beyond and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces) offers India’s first wildlife circuit of four exceptional lodges in India’s Madhya Pradesh region. Banjaar Tola is nestled in Kanha National Park. Their groundbreaking Gaur relocation project has saved a species from extinction in the area and the first newborn from the group has just arrived.
Best in Resource Efficiency
This award recognizes excellence in waste, water and energy management and sustainable architectural design in order to minimize the business’s environmental impact.
Backed by a huge range of environmental management accreditations, 5 star ITC Sonar is a leading light in renewable energy and resource efficiency. It is nestled amidst acres of land, resplendent with greenery, sunshine, and water. It was the first hotel in the world to earn carbon credits under the carbon trading scheme.
This eco retreat presents earth-friendly dwellings and proven traditional healing services in a verdant landscape. It incorporates all aspects of sustainability: architecture, energy generation, water conservation, waste management and food chain. With more that 70% of energy generated from renewable resources this resort is working harmoniously with its natural surroundings.
2012 Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator
This award recognizes the tourism business 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.
LooLa is an outdoor-enthusiast resort in Bintan, Indonesia. Since 2000, with a 100% local team, they offer exciting (eco) action, adventure and community-based activities, all in a natural beautiful setting that favours sea breeze over air-con. Guests are asked to go easy on water and electricity, return to the basic joys of life and enjoy the authentic local scene.
An idyllic island retreat, El Nido Resorts measure against a quadruple bottomline: financial growth, environmental stewardship, community engagement and employee development. Guests are treated with unique experiencessteeped in conservation and environmental education. Meaningful livelihoods for staff and host communities complete their story.
Heritance Kandalama is a Geoffrey Bawa architectural masterpiece, built overlooking the eighth wonder of the world, the rock fortress of Sigiriya. The hotel situated within the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, within close proximity of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites has been recognized the world over for its sustainability initiatives.
Nikoi Island is a private island resort off the east coast of Bintan, Indonesia. Just 50 miles from Singapore it is a popular escape from city life. Built from driftwood and alangalang grass, with environmental conservation and energy conservation at the heart of the design and the development.
Wild Asia would like to congratulate Winners and Finalists for their commendable efforts and commitment in successfully integrating high standards of responsible tourism into their business philosophy.
Thank you to our expert Judging Advisory Panel: Asit Biswas, Ian Hall, Jens Thraenhart, Les Clark, Masaru Takayama, Peter Richards and Vikneswaran Nair for making the 2012 Responsible Tourism Awards a success!