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The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH will enter into a partnership to collaborate on strengthening tourism in the Pacific region.

The long-term objective is to advise the tourism industry, in particular the hotel sector, on renewable energy and energy efficiency options.

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Suva today, GIZ Programme Director, Dr. Wulf Killmann and SPTO Board Chair, Papalii Matatamalii Sonja Hunter expressed their excitement about this new collaboration.

“Through this partnership, SPTO will seek out opportunities to organise workshops and seminars in collaboration with GIZ so we can provide our tourism industry stakeholders with an understanding of best practices for renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency,” Ms. Hunter said.

Read the full article here.

 

By South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) 

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by Maeve Nightingale, Mangroves for the Future Programme Manager, IUCN

 

Cox's maeve

Home to a golden sand beach, towering cliffs, amazing surf, rare conch shells and colorful pagodas, Cox’s Bazar should long ago have been on the map as a popular tourist destination. Yet, little is known about this fascinating fishing port located in the South Asian nation of Bangladesh.

Cox’s Bazar is best known for having the longest beach in the world – a 120 km of continuous sandy shore running the length of the coastline. The town is named after Lieutenant Cox, an officer of the British East India Company who sought shelter in the then British territory after the conquest of Arakan by the Burmese. A majority of the population, many of which are originally from Myanmar, are descendants of the Arakan refugees creating a continuum of ethnic diversity and cultural harmony that shapes Cox’s Bazar today. Products of the Rakhine people are a favorite amongst tourists. Their unique culture attracts visitors from home, and abroad.

Cox's fishermen-on-inani-beach-coxs-bazar

“Fishermen on Inani Beach, Cox’s Bazar”©IUCN Asia/Ann Moey

From Cox’s Bazar all the way down to Teknaf: a place of culture, wildlife and natural landscapes

Located north-west of Cox’s Bazar town, the Island of Sonadia has been identified by the Government of Bangladesh as an ‘Ecologically Critical Area’ or ECA to protect it from over exploitation (Environmental Protection Zone as a result of the 1995 Environmental Conservation Act). It is a barrier island, meaning it is protecting the mainland from erosion by lying parallel to it. Sonadia Island provides diverse habitat that supports three different vegetation types—sand dunes, salt marshes and mangroves. Along with its associated marine area, it provides habitat for several threatened species including marine turtles, shore birds and cetaceans. The Island is one of the last remaining habitats of the Spoon Billed Sand Piper, a very rare shore bird.

Nearby, St Martin’s Island – the only coral-bearing Island in Bangladesh – is a site of interest for establishing one of the first national Marine Protected Areas (MPA) through the support of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and its regional coastal ecosystem programme, Mangroves for the Future (MFF), opening up opportunities for conserving wildlife and promoting sustainable tourism activities. MPAs involve the protective management of natural areas so as to keep them in their natural state. MPAs can be conserved for a number of reasons including economic resources, biodiversity conservation, and species protection. They are created by delineating zones with permitted and non-permitted uses within that zone.

Other important local attractions include the Forests of Shilkali and Chunuti, which are managed and protected by local communities. Chunuti Wildlife Sanctuary is the country’s third oldest sanctuary and home to a herd of majestic Asian elephants, the rare Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Kalij Pheasant and Crab-eating Maongoose, all of which can be seen whenhiking in the forest. The Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary is another place of diverse wildlife, featuring a hill forest in the middle part of the Teknaf Peninsula.

Driving Cox’s Bazar tourism industry towards inclusiveness

Sustainable approach to tourism means that neither the natural environment nor the socio-cultural fabric of the host communities should be impaired by the arrival of tourists (UNESCO). In fact the goal is for local communities to benefit from tourism, both economically and socially, without sacrificing their natural environment in the process.

Tourism can be a driver for social growth and economic development if it carefully considers local assets to build attractive and marketable tourism products while maximizing benefits sharing and reducing negative environmental impacts.

”Defining a Sustainable Tourism Strategy for Cox’s Bazar will require developing a common vision at the local, national and regional level, to pave the way for local to national economic development opportunities and work across industries including fisheries and aquaculture, agriculture, handicrafts, tourism facilities and service providers,” says Maeve Nightingale. The first step of this strategy will be a participatory consultative initiative where national, local government, tourism industries and related businesses as well as local communities work together to design the vision and way forward for a sustainable future for Cox’s Bazar, recognizing that conservation and tourism and community development opportunities go hand in hand as marine and coastal environments provide key natural assets, essential to the tourism industry and coastal communities. Therefore, coastal tourism development should be an inclusive process that values local communities and creates benefits-sharing systems.

Cox's “Women from Nuniarchi Conservation Village selling their hand-made products” © IUCN Asia/Petch Manopawitr

“Women from Nuniarchi Conservation Village selling their hand-made products” © IUCN Asia/Petch Manopawitr

To guide the tourism sector towards sustainability, IUCN has developed guidelines for the integration of biodiversity in hotels and resorts development; to integrate business skills into ecotourism operations; and to ensure sustainable tourism in Parks and Protected Areas. In parallel, MFF works to leverage opportunities for communities to develop small-scale, sustainable enterprises, which support local livelihood development. Some of these initiatives include facilitating the supply of local sustainable seafood to hotels and restaurants, souvenir product development for hotels, development of ecotourism services. In Thailand, MFF/IUCN influence coastal industries through interaction with supply chains and customer base e.g. several Marriott Hotels & Resorts have now local seafood strategies in place for their restaurants. A Thailand seafood guide will also be developed for awareness.

Cox's one-of-joars-eco-cottages-mff-funded-project

“Lunch with MFF grantee Joar at one of the eco-cottages in Shyamnagar”© IUCN Asia/Amin Raquibul

Emphasizing the importance of these types of collaborative approaches, MFF works closely with communities in Bangladesh to achieve a sustainable, community-based ecotourism industry. In Shyamnagar, a sub-district located close to the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, MFF works together with Joar an NGO that supports natural resources dependent communities by providing alternative sources of income from the operation of eco-cottages and related ecotourism activities.

Cox's "Joar's Eco-Cottages (MFF Funded Project)”©IUCN Asia/Amin Raquibul

“Joar’s Eco-Cottages (MFF Funded Project)”©IUCN Asia/Amin Raquibul

Raising awareness for public-private partnerships

In the long run the future of tourism as a driver of sustainable and inclusive development in Cox’s Bazar will necessitate a participatory approach, working together and active support from both private, public sector and the community.

Strategic guidelines like a participatory tourism development planning is necessary for Cox’s Bazar to ensure a holistic approach for sustainable tourism development that includes considerations for managing freshwater, wastewater, drainage, waste management, infrastructure and other essential services necessary for tourism. At the same time preserving, the much treasured cultural and natural heritages as the foundation not only for tourism but also for societal well being is essential. Recognized for its potential to become a top tourist destination, Cox’s Bazar has been selected to be the venue of this year’s PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum – 24th and 25th November 2016. Mohammad Shahad Mahabub Chowdhury, National Coordinator for MFF Bangladesh will be moderating the session “Rethinking Sustainable Coastal Tourism.” The session will focus on how the private sector is a critical stakeholder for the stewardship of coastal resources.

Cox's "Boat Renovation on Inani Beach Cox's Bazar”©IUCN Asia/ Ann Moey

“Boat Renovation on Inani Beach Cox’s Bazar”©IUCN Asia/ Ann Moey

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About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN’s work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation, with almost 1,300 government and NGO Members and more than 15,000 volunteer experts in 185 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by almost 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.

Learn more at: www.iucn.org

About MFF

Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a partnership-based regional initiative which promotes investment in coastal ecosystem conservation for sustainable development. MFF focuses on the role that healthy, well-managed coastal ecosystems play in building the resilience of ecosystem-dependent coastal communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. The initiative uses mangroves as a flagship ecosystem, but MFF is inclusive of all types of coastal ecosystem, such as coral reefs, estuaries, lagoons, sandy beaches, sea grasses and wetlands. MFF is co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP, and is funded by Danida, Norad, Sida and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Thailand.

Learn more at: www.mangrovesforthefuture.org

 

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

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2015 PATA Grand Award– Environment
The Success of Self-reliance
Jetwing Yala, Yala, Sri Lanka

Jetwing YalaAkin to a phoenix rising from the ashes – recovering after a decade from the devastating tsunami of 2004 – Jetwing brings a truly ‘at-one-with-nature’ concept to a more refined and elegant form with Jetwing Yala. Set within the immediate outskirts of the Yala National Park, Jetwing Yala boasts a tremendous commitment to sustainability and the environment, bringing a wildlife experience complemented with the finest in luxury and comfort. Designed by renowned architect Murad Ismail, the 90 room property overlooks spectacular sand dunes and the Indian Ocean and is a landmark that changes the face of the deep south of Sri Lanka. Jetwing Yala has been created from ground up to be as sustainable as possible with the intention of conserving energy and resources, reusing and recycling and being a part of the environment whilst causing no harm to nature.

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Perspective: Sustainability in Nepal

Categories: Blog Posts, South
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by Marcus Cotton, Managing Director, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge & Jenefer Bobbin, Managing Director, JUSTreport Global

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

What do you see as the main as the main challenges for sustainability in Nepal?

One of the great challenges in tourism is to prevent both unintentional and deliberate ‘green-washing’ (the false presentation of pseudo-environmental policies and practices). All businesses have the ability to make a negative impact; often they are unaware of the detrimental effect their impacts are having, maybe through naivety or misinformation. Some are fully aware of the negative impacts but believe that they can ‘pull the wool’ over the industry’s eyes. Monitoring and reporting promotes transparency and accountability by being published in the public domain and hence businesses are more likely to manage these issues effectively. A sustainability report at best highlights the void between what people say and what people do, and at least shows potential guests that we are prepared to be transparent with our performance.

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Honourable Mention Culture and Heritage Tourism Provider

Blue YonderThe Blue Yonder was set up in 2004, to assist the work of Nila Foundation, that was working to preserve the rich heritage of River Nila (Bharatapuzha) region in Kerala. From this learning, we spread across many states in India, including Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, Rajasthan and many regions in the Himalayas through partnerships.

Our focus has always been about ‘creating better places for people to live and for people to visit’ in that order. We never launched a tourism project first, but always started with community development project. We pursued Gandhian Talisman and we designed all our travel initiatives based on how we could bring in a change into destination and our people. This started with investment into local communities and working with them, increasing their quality of life. It was obvious that once the quality of life was enhanced, the destination by default becomes the natural fit for Responsible Tourism leading to a sustainable tourism destination.

Our business is focused on Co-creation ( we never push our ideas into the community we work with, but we co-create them), Collaboration ( without deep rooted alliances, no change would happen in a destination) and Crowd-sourcing ( We are aware of our limitation as one company, so we always go to the public seeking ideas ).

In the last ten years, we have launched more than 40 initiatives focusing on heritage conservation, livelihood, dignity, natural conservation and community health care to name a few. From 2004, where we launched Musical Trail to bring in dignity, respect and income generation to isolated musicians, to 2015 when we partnered with Kozhikode District administration on Compassionate Kozhikode, we have continued to be innovative and disruptive when it comes to destination development.

 

For more information: The Blue Yonder website

Best Marine and Wildlife Tourism Provider – 2015 InSPIRE Awards

siddhalepaHealth Resort is nestled amidst tropical gardens along the picturesque coastal belt of Wadduwa Sri Lanka. Offering a unique combination of health, luxury and relaxation, this serene resort is part of the renowned Hettigoda Group – the creators of one of Sri Lanka’s much loved brands ‘Siddhalepa’.

Facing the sparkling blue Indian Ocean and secluded amidst tropical gardens, the resort combines contemporary luxury with age old traditions – not just in the healing therapies offered, but also in the architecture and the ambience. Set amidst an extensive tropical garden covering over 7 acres of Ayurvedic medicinal plants and trees it is a natural haven of beauty and a healing sanctuary of serenity and peace. Especially prepared dishes based on the Ayurvedic physician’s recommendation are served to guests who are undergoing treatment. While the focus is on authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, guests also have a choice of Chinese, Indian or Western food and the stylish speciality restaurant with beautiful views of the ocean offers an A La Carte menu.

The Ayurvedic spa at Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort been recently revamped to have a completely new theme emulating Sri Lankan heritage, and many novel facilities such as individual water features are added to treatment rooms. Innovative treatments including a sea water Jacuzzi is included to the existing spa treatment menu. The spa specialises in providing a range of traditional Ayurvedic treatments that cleanse, detoxify and rejuvenate, using 100% natural resources under the supervision of experienced Ayurveda physicians. All treatments and therapies are based on ancient Ayurveda methods handed down over generations and the parent company, Hettigoda Industries manufacture all the products used – with 100% natural ingredients, mostly grown at own plantations. With their own training centre, even the doctors and therapists are trained by Siddhalepa guaranteeing the exceptional standards of quality offered to guests. From its inception, the resort has been dedicated to being environmentally conscious right from the architectural design to their day to day operations and the recent renovations also ensure further introductions of eco-friendly means and methods. The hotel’s green practices come under three categories: Energy Conservation, Water management and waste management.

 

For more information: Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort Resorts website

Best Marine and Wildlife Tourism Provider – 2015 InSPIRE Awards

Cinnamon_Wild_Yala201Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts is a motivated and progressive chain of hotels, creating inspired experiences for each and every stakeholder, using a responsible and awakened approach. As a collective of 14 diversified properties across Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the unique community and environmental needs of each destination have been a priority factor. For instance, while wildlife and marine tourism play a key role in our offering, it also becomes a key component of our long-term sustainability and responsibility objectives.

Nature Trails, the Nature and adventure tourism arm of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts is honoured to showcase Sri Lanka’s natural world as a sustainable tourism product. Nature Trails have a two-pronged approach; on one hand, it is an experience provider, highlighting iconic species such as Leopard, Elephant, Whale, Primates, Birding and dedicated photography tours to collectively promote the islands natural diversity. As its other core purpose, Nature Trails engage in conservation and awareness initiatives that help protect and sustain natural environments.

This sense of responsible integration is present in other initiatives too; engaging with local communities and making them an essential part of the cycle is very much a part of how we do business. For example, we don’t own a single jeep or boat used for our tour work, instead we sub-contract this to adjacent communities. By engaging with them we also inspire entrepreneurship and inculcate sustainable practices in a way that it is mutually beneficial to everyone.

At Cinnamon, Inspired Living means that everyone from our guests to our neighbours and every stakeholder of the Cinnamon offering is encouraged to live life to the fullest, be inspired by vibrant experiences and awakened to the potential of sustainable living.

 

For more information: Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts website

Source: World Economic Forum (WEF):

This last use case from the Global Agenda Council on Risk and Resilience highlights tangible examples from Nepal of where multi-stakeholder partnerships between the public and private sectors and civil society organisations made a difference, and where they could be scaled up to be more effective in future.

Building resilience in Nepal through public-private partnerships

The report offers the following key observations based on the analysis of the aftermath of the earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May 2015:

  • Resilience is a social and political issue as much as an economic and developmental one. Efforts to “build back better” must also incorporate support for Nepal’s political transition as a foundation for resilience;
  • Strengthening pre-established partnerships between the public and private sectors can improve responses to and reduce the impacts of future emergencies;
  • Crucial economic sectors, such as tourism and construction, can benefit from public-private cooperation for recovery and reconstruction;
  • Implementing and enforcing building codes and focusing on making schools safe should be a high priority in reconstruction efforts;
  • Retrofitting to make existing houses more “earthquake-resilient” can save lives and reduce economic losses,and can be done in an affordable way that uses locally available skills and technologies;
  • The private sector can offer unique expertise, capability and capacity for the Nepali government’s reconstruction efforts;
  • Public-private partnerships and innovative financing arrangements can be crucial parts of reconstruction and building resilience in Nepal.
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ITC Hotels, India

Categories: Accommodations, Asia, Management, Operations, Private Sector, South
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ITC Hotels, headquartered in India, is the second largest hotel chain in the country and operates over 100 hotels in 90 locations, including the ITC Hotels: Luxury Collection, WelcomHotel/Sheraton, Fortune Hotels, and WelcomHeritage brands. The company operates under a philosophy of “Responsible Luxury,” which manifests itself as an ethos of integrating the highest level of international green best practices with contemporary eco-design principles.

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Mountain Shepherds Initiative

Categories: Asia, Human Capital Development, People and Places, Private Sector, South
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Founded in the Himalayan region of Nanda Devi in 2006, the Mountain Shepherds Initiative has trained up more than 70 youth, both boys and girls, to work in responsible adventure tourism. Those that stay with the initiative can own shares in the company – so far 12% of the total equity is owned by the youth, and the percentage is growing each year. Recently the group has begun to share its model with other similar communities spread across the Himalayas, helping sustain these remote and inaccessible villages, while also ensuring the preservation of the natural heritage that surrounds them.

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