Friday, October 22, 2010

Wild Asia's RTA 2010 Winners Revealed!


Norm and Linda van Hoff of Sarinbuana Ecolodge and Jeevaka Weerakone of Heritance Kandalama - winners of this year's Awards. Representatives from Andaman Discoveries, our winner for tour operator category regrettably could not make it for the event.


Wild Asia announces the winners for the 5th Responsible Tourism Awards 2010 from Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka at ITB Asia. After months of short-listing the finalists and making site visits to the final six properties and tour operators, Wild Asia’s judging panel has finally selected its 2010 RT Awards winners.

Operators such as Heritance Kandalama (Sri Lanka), Sarinbuana Ecolodge (Indonesia), and Andaman Discoveries (Thailand) have surpassed judges’ expectations by scoring high against the Awards checklist and are this year’s award winners for the following categories of accommodation operators respectively – large; mid-sized to small; and tour operators.

Every year the WA judging panel reviews submitted checklists (based on the UNWTO Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria) from operators throughout Asia. Two finalists for each category are shortlisted based on some of the following criteria:
  • Sense of place - whether tourists understand their destinations in terms of the cultural and ecological context better through the operators' efforts.
  • Sustainability - whether these RT efforts are long-term.
  • Involvement of guests – how much does the operators involve their guests in their RT practices?
  • Internalisation - how much is sustainability part of the day-to-day operations?
  • Reach – how far are these ideas and practices shared across the destination or even the industry?
  • Continual Improvement – how do the operators strive to improve their RT efforts?
Understanding and internalising the essence of responsible tourism, these operators are catalysts for positive change within their sphere of influence, inspiring others to embark on the green journey while at the same time, still affording customers with the memorable holiday experience the travel for in the first place.

Mr. Jeevaka Weerakone, general manager of Heritance Kandalama noted that “it is a great honour to receive the Awards and will continually raise the game in making Heritance Kandalama an example in Sri Lanka and to the world, at the same time a learning center for responsible tourism.”

Norm vant Hoff, owner of Sarinbuana Ecolodge, the winner of the small to mid-sized to small accommodation category expressed that, “winning the Awards has helped us increase our profile thereby bringing in more conscious travelers and increasing revenue streams for the local community.”

Wild Asia would like to congratulate winners and finalists for their commendable efforts and commitment in achieving high standards of environmental protection and social responsibility that form the critical pillars of their business philosophy.

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