Who and Why
Our Panel is made up of senior level sustainable tourism experts. All members must have at least 10 years experience in tourism with a significant amount of experience in responsible tourism in Asia. Our 2013 Panel includes representatives from the International Ecotourism Society, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Sustainable Travel International, WWF and PATA. Our Judges also represent independent consulting companies and tourism businesses. Their impressive backgrounds have been with international initiatives with UNWTO, ST-EP and EU Life… Plus so much more.
Judging Advisory Panel
The role of our Judging Advisory Panel is to review the answers and evidence provided in the application forms, and the required documentation. The Panel help identify the most inspiring operators. Each Judge will select their top 2-3 operators for each category. The two operators with the most votes will be selected as Finalists and this decision is final. Likewise, the operator in each category at the second round of judging with the most votes will be selected as a Winner and this decision is final. Allowing the Judges to vote as an independent Panel gives us assurance and fair judging.
Andrew Jones grew up in the hotel business, as his parents managed Country Inns and Restaurants in the United Kingdom. Over the past 40 years Andrew has worked in a number of senior management and corporate positions in prestigious hotels, resorts and management companies in London, Bermuda, Canada and several countries in Asia.
In 1996 Andrew started a new journey when he founded and became Guardian of Sanctuary Resorts, a company that offers responsible and sustainable tourism experiences where people can balance their body, mind and spirit in an environmentally friendly space.
In addition, Andrew was previously Director, Asia Pacific Affairs for the International Hotel and Restaurant Association and a member of the Board of the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization. Andrew is a Certified Hotel Administrator of the American Hotel and Lodging Association and a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.
Andrew is a leading proponent of Corporate Social Responsibility and Wellness in Tourism, and a knowledgeable Key Speaker, Moderator and Panellist on matters of Responsible and Sustainable Tourism at many Hotel, Environment and Social Enterprise Forums and Conferences, as well as Universities and Vocational Schools. Andrew is also a member of the World Travel Market World Responsible Tourism Day Advisory Panel.
He has just recently been appointed as the Advisor on CSR and Sustainable Tourism to PATA and Chairman of their Hospitality Committee and sits on their Executive Board.
Andrew believes in contributing to the community, being Chairman Emeritus of the KELY (Kid’s Everywhere Like You) Support Group in Hong Kong, a Past President of the Rotary Club of Kowloon, and a supporter of numerous other Charitable organizations and Social Ventures.
Arabella (or Abs), has spent the past eleven years working in tourism, primarily focused on Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia. Her career started managing a safari lodge in South Africa followed by extensive travel in the region, gaining an understanding of the conflicts between conservation and tourism.
In 2006 she moved to Asia with the aim of broadening her understanding of the impacts of tourism, and for 6 years pioneered sustainable tourism projects as a senior manager for Buffalo Tours, a locally run tour company with operations in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Amongst other initiatives, she brought forward practices that advocated sustainable tourism across the board, such as environmental training for tour operators and hotel staff, developing environmental and social policies that met IFC’s standards, ensuring that rural communities benefited from tourism activities through non-exploitative means, and collaborating with an international NGO (SNV) to extend the standard boundaries of tourism activities.
She decided to solidify her experiential knowledge by completing an MSc in Responsible Tourism Management. During her masters she continued to advise Thien Minh Travel (one of the largest privately owned tourism investment groups in Vietnam) on their sustainability practices as well as other small NGOs and private sector companies. She is currently consulting at WWF Vietnam, working alongside the Department of Nature Conservation, to develop a national policy on ecotourism investment in Vietnam.
Ayako is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of TrainingAid, a company that focuses on providing tools and solutions for practical online professional training programs in the international development field. Prior to starting this new company, Ayako worked for The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) as Director of Communications, focusing on areas including member communications, social media marketing, content development, training and education program management, and leading TIES blog and newsletter editorial team. She is originally from Japan, and has travelled extensively especially in Asia and Europe.
Jens Thraenhart is co-founder and President of travel technology and digital marketing firm Dragon Trail, helping travel brands develop a China presence leveraging social media, digital marketing and internet technologies, as well as publisher and editorial director of China Travel Trends. Educated at Cornell University with a Masters of Management in Hospitality, Mr. Thraenhart was recognised as one of the travel industry’s top 100 rising stars by Travel Agent Magazine in 2003, and was listed as one of HSMAI’s 25 Most Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds in Hospitality and Travel in 2004 and 2005.
As a global e-tourism expert, he has led marketing and Internet strategy teams with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and has consulted for many global companies. He has served on various boards, including HSMAI and IFITT, and is currently the Chair for PATA China and the PATA Technology Innovation Council. He is an avid blogger, author, a frequent speaker at industry conferences all over the world, and currently strategic advisor to the CEOs of PATA and Mekong Tourism.
Jens was also a judge for the 2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards.
Marcello is Senior Hospitality and Sustainable Tourism Consultant at Total Tourism Solutions a tourism consultancy based in Australia. Marcello has gained a broad and multidisciplinary experience on sustainable development of hospitality and tourism industry through working for a variety of organizations. These include inter-governmental (UNWTO, ILO, IUCN, UE), governmental (SNV, Italian Cooperation), academic and research institutions, local communities, private and non-profit organizations.
He has had the opportunity to be involved in several programs and projects (MDG, ST-EP, Inclusive Business, EU Asia Invest, EU Life, etc.) dealing with community engagement and development, natural and cultural preservation, social and economic inclusion and business solutions. In particular he was involved in the EU Asia Invest program in Nepal, Mongolia and Vietnam and more recently in Iran assisting the set up of the Iranian National Tour Guides Associations.
He gained extensive experience in training and coaching activities at academic and operational level, given on the job training to national and local counterparts on the continuous basis during the projects. He has carried out research, written studies, reports, and best practices on hospitality and tourism for international organizations and academic institutions. As member expert of different international professional bodies, Marcello regularly provide advisory and training service on tourism and hospitality management, sustainable tourism strategies and practices, responsible tourism marketing, tourism product development in environmental and cultural destinations. Marcello is graduated in Economics and Banking (Siena University, Italy) and Master in Tourism Economics (Bocconi University, Italy).
Peter Richards has 10 years of hands-on experience working in sustainable and community based tourism. His career responsible tourism has seen him in roles as Regional Responsible Travel Coordinator for Intrepid Travel (2000-2002), Marketing Manager for the Responsible, Ecological Social Tours Project (2003-2007) and the Marketing Support and Development Coordinator and a founding member of the Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute (2007-2010). Between 2009-2010, Peter managed the Corporate Social Responsibility and Market Access Partnerships Project (CSR-MAP) lead by the Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA) which received a PATA Gold Award for education and training.
Since 2010, Peter has broadened his experience by working with The Netherlands Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ANVR), The United Nations Joint Project (UNJP), The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand (MOTS) and Thailand’s Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA).
Peter also helps his wife to operate the Family Tree, a boutique Fair Trade store, offering arts and crafts made by over 40 local Thai community groups and exceptional independent artists, planted in the charming beach resort of Hua Hin, Thailand. Peter was a judge for the 2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards.
Steve has been a leading advocate for responsible approaches to tourism development across the Pacific and Asia regions for more than three decades. Based in Australia, he combines business, NGO and academic interests in sustainable tourism. He is Chairman / Board member of Second Nature Asia Pacific, Pacific Asia Tourism Pty Ltd. and Ecolodges Indonesia, has served on a number of NGO Boards such as Sustainable Travel International and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and contributes to academia as Head of the Tourism & Hospitality program at CQUniversity Australia and an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, Queensland.
For the past 25 years, he has volunteered as a Judge in a range of tourism & travel awards at the international, national, state and regional levels.