Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WARTA 2010 - Finalists revealed!

This year, Wild Asia has received an increased number of participants for the Responsible Tourism Awards compared to last year. “We received a selection of high quality checklists and this proves to show that the network and awareness of RT is building up. Travel operators from around the region are truly striving to make a difference for a better and greener future,” says Deborah Chan, Wild Asia’s Programme Manager.

Wild Asia shortlisted several operators in each category in order to determine the finalists. Due to the extremely high calibre of entrants this year, it was a very difficult decision narrowing down to just 6 finalists. The shortlisted hotels and tour operators were reviewed and extensively researched by our judging panel which comprised of responsible tourism (RT) experts, academics, conservationists, and eco-consultants. The decision followed lengthy discussions and debate. Wild Asia’s judging panel first examined all of the completed checklists submitted by the operators, which outline their best management practices and specific RT efforts undertaken by them. Then, through a scoring system, the panel analyzed and ranked each answer from the advanced entry forms in order to determine the finalists. Each operator showcased strong and innovative RT practices which impressed the judging panel. It was such a close competition!

And now for Wild Asia’s 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards Finalists:

Large-size accommodation

Frangipani Langkawi Resort (Langkawi, Malaysia)
Frangipani Langkawi is dedicated to get guests and staff involved in their RT practices. The operation is involved in a range of innovative environmental activities that promote conservation. They are determined to raise awareness of RT and inspire others to incorporate green practices as well.

Heritance Kandalama (Dambulla, Sri Lanka)
Heritance Kandalama has a unique architectural design which blends the hotel into the natural surroundings and maximizes natural light in order to reduce energy use. The entire hotel is built on a raised platform allowing water to flow under the hotel. It also allows the free flow of animals under the hotel, leaving minimum impact on the eco system.

Small to Mid-size accommodation

Sarinbuana Ecolodge (Bali, Indonesia)
Sarinbuana Ecolodge is dedicated to conserve their surrounding environment and empower local communities. They aim for the highest standards of sustainability in every aspect of their business. Their bungalows use sustainable local materials and have a low impact on the environment. The ecolodge supports a wide variety of local businesses and uses natural and biodegradable products on site.

Soneva Gili (Lankanfushi Island, Maldives)
Soneva Gili focuses on the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving natural resources and effectively managing energy and waste using an array of technological innovations. The operation uses sustainable building materials and climate-friendly designs.

Tour Operators

Andaman Discoveries (Phang Nga, Thailand)
Andaman Discoveries strongly believes in community leadership and allows for the participation of local communities in every aspect of planning through open dialogue. They promote respectful interaction between visitors and local communities, and ensure direct economic benefits to the communities.

Pepy Tours (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
Pepy Tours believes tours should be adventurous, educational and responsible at the same time. They focus on providing economic benefits to the local communities through a variety of educational, volunteer and tour programs. Through their unique bicycle tours, they expose travellers to inspiring people and programs throughout Cambodia.

Between the months of August and September, a team of fact finders and media from Wild Asia will conduct site visits to each of the mentioned finalists to verify the submitted self-assessment checklists and photo-document unique best practices.

Winners will be announced on October 21st, 2010, during the Responsible Tourism Award ceremony held in conjunction with the ITB ASIA in Singapore. ITB Asia Trade Show runs from 20 – 22 October, 2010.

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