Thursday, October 1, 2009

RTA 2009 Judges Summary

Our RT Awards site visit team and this year's judges met on Friday 25th September to discuss and agree on the results of the site visits. We met in person and were also joined by two other judges who were away in Vietnam and Sabah via skype. This gave us an opportunity to hear feedback from our team who visited all finalists across Asia: India, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia.

We also had a chance to review the site visit reports and to note improvements for next year's Awards. One of the changes we had to make as a result of this meeting was a clarification of the Award's categories. Based on our site visits and feedback from the operators, we found that two of the finalists belonged to different categories. We decided to re-categorize Nikoi Island and Lamai homestay due to these findings, in order to adequately judge the two operations among finalists in similar categories. We apologise for the oversight on our part.

Large Accommodation Operators

- Shangri La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Malaysia
- ITC Mughal, India

Mid sized to Small Accommodation Operators

- El Nido Resorts, Philippines
- Soneva Fushi, Maldives
- Nikoi Island, Indonesia

Community-based to Homestay Operators

- Andaman Discoveries, Thailand
- Sunderbans Jungle Camp, India
- Lamai Homestay, Thailand

We also deliberated on the 6 principles that we had judged from; understanding of tourism impacts; creating a “sense of place"; sustaining Responsible Tourism; communicating Responsible Tourism; internalizing Responsible Tourism and sphere of influence.

This provided room for debate and found that it was especially hard when the operators were equally strong on a number of these principles. Nonetheless, by the end of the 2 hour meeting the team had all agreed on the winners of each category!

Judging Process
  1. Operators' submissions of their self-assessment checklist is verified during site visits and amendments (if any) are made based on findings.
  2. After site visits, fact-finders submit a report to the Judges, which details the 6 principles as above.
  3. Upon completion of all site visits and submission of amended checklists and site reports, judges and fact-finders meet to review both checklists and reports, and discuss strengths between finalists in each category to decide on a winner.

So what's next? The team will be working on a "RT report" based on this year's entries and we will also be sharing with each finalists our site report and revised checklist. This, we hope, will be useful to the finalists as they plan their operations in the future. We will now start to focus on our planning for the networking sessions and closing event. We hope to see many of you at the ITB Asia "RT networking session", our closing cocktail party or our annual workshop.

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