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UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards

Call for Entries: 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation

20 FEBRUARY, 2017, BANGKOK,– Submissions are now being accepted for the 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

The Awards recognize the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully restored or conserved structures, places and properties of heritage value in the region. The Awards emphasize the importance of the conservation process, including the technical achievements and quality of the restoration, as well as its social impact, including community involvement in the project. By UNESCO Bangkok. To find out more please click here.

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WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards finalists

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is pleased to announce the 15 Finalists for its 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The 2017 Finalists cut across five continents in the following categories: Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation and People.

The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, now in its 13th year, showcases business practices of the highest standards that balance the needs of ‘people, planet and profits’ within our sector.

The 2017 Awards fall within the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, all 15 Finalists illustrate great commitment to “support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals”, as the International Year calls for.

Following a rigorous 3-phase judging, which includes an onsite evaluation, Winners of the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at the 17th WTTC Global Summit, taking place in Bangkok, 26 – 27 April 2017.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said: “I am extremely pleased to once again see such inspiring business leadership amongst this year’s Finalists. This year saw a 36% rise of applications, which shows not only that more and more Travel & Tourism companies are looking to operate sustainably but also an increased interest to share company best practices and thereby educate peers and governments.

As the Travel & Tourism sector continues to grow, WTTC currently estimates global Travel & Tourism to have grown by 3.1% in 2016, we have to ensure we safeguard the environment, local communities and cultural heritage, and our Awards programme calls on tourism businesses to showcase just that.”

Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, said: “The 2017 Finalists illustrate how widespread the notion of sustainable tourism has become. While sustainability used to be focused around the preservation of nature, this year, the organisation’s missions are, amongst other things, centred around innovative value creation for societies, travel technology for those with accessibility needs, and empowerment of the young workforce.”

The Finalists of the 2017 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which is Headline sponsored by AIG Travel for the second year, are:

Community Award Finalists, whose organisations are committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage

  • Cinnamon Wild Yala, Sri Lanka
  • G Adventures, Canada
  • Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Destination Award Finalists, who show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations:

  • Botswana Tourism Organisation, Botswana
  • City of Bydgoszcz, Poland
  • Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, Finland

Environment Award Finalists, whose organisations and companies achieved environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change, and green operations:

  • Biosphere Expeditions, UK
  • Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil
  • Misool, Indonesia

Innovation Award Finalists, who provided innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced by Travel & Tourism in implementing sustainability in practice:

  • NATIVE Hotels and Accessible Tourism, Spain
  • Soel Yachts, Netherlands
  • The Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative led by the Nature Conservancy, USA

People Award Finalists, who are dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future:

  • Desert & Delta Safaris, Botswana
  • STREETS International, Vietnam
  • The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI), China

The Winner Selection Committee is chaired by Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and include a further 15 independent judges from within the Travel & Tourism sector.

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Chair, said: “Now more than ever it’s important to highlight how tourism positively connects people across the planet and brings great social and economic benefits to destinations. The 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Award Finalists demonstrate a commitment to long term vision in preference to short term gains and provide inspiring examples of responsible leadership in their businesses. The true value of the awards is the insight and learning which can be shared across the industry and I’m looking forward to hearing their stories during the WTTC Global Summit in April 2017.”

For the full list of finalists and more about the Awards, read more here.

Click here for the original article by WTTC.

To view the announcement of the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Finalists, presented by Lead Judge Graham Miller, please click here.

Copyright @ WTTC 2017

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Ten countries that protect their environment and respect human rights

Chile_made the list of the ten most ethical travel destinations for 2017

Chile made the list of the ten most ethical travel destinations for 2017, in part due to its expanding solar industry in places like the Atacama Desert, pictured above. Photo credit: Danielle Pereira / Flickr

Travel is more than an opening for good will, writes Ethical Traveller. It is one of the world’s most powerful economic engines, and can drive the way countries treat their citizens, indigenous peoples, wildlife and the environment. Travel is the world’s largest industry, with a trillion-dollar annual footprint. This means that travelers have enormous power. Where we put our footprints has reverberations reaching far beyond our personal experience. By “voting with our wings” – choosing our destinations well and cultivating our roles as citizen diplomats – we can help to change the world for the better.

Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of over one hundred developing nations. We then select the ten that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving the environment and supporting social welfare – all while creating a lively, community-based tourism industry. By visiting these countries, we can use our economic leverage to reward good works and support best practices.

 


The Winners
Ethical Traveler congratulates the countries on our 2017 list of The World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations. The winners, in alphabetical order (not in order of merit), are:

  • Belize
  • Cabo Verde
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • Mongolia
  • Palau
  • Tonga
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu

By Ethical Traveller. Find out how the list is created – click here to read the original article.

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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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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

Honourable Mention Community Based Tourism Initiative

TheCBT-Vietnam RedDao-hadynyah-copy-e1422561514990 Northern Vietnam Community Based Tourism project is a collaboration of several organizations that make up the overall initiative. It is led by the School of Tourism at Capilano University in association with Hanoi Open University, and the ethnic hill tribe communities of Taphin, TaVan, and Lao Chai in the trekking region of Sapa. The Capilano University School of Tourism lies within the Faculty of Global and Community Studies. Some of the guiding principles of the Faculty are to connect from global to local levels in all facets of learning, demonstrate leadership in stewardship and sustainability, place emphasis on healthy communities and good governance, and actively engage and pursue social entrepreneurship. We have also had the support of the PATA Foundation to run this project for the past five years.

The overall goal of the work has been to provide practical tourism training for three ethnic minority communities (Tavan, Taphin and Lao Chai) to reduce poverty, create employment opportunities, and improve quality of life. The key objectives have been as follows:
• To create healthy business operations for several independent family or individual owners;
• To create social enterprises in the villages to share benefits of tourism
• To build active business partnerships with appropriate values based external tourism operators where mutual benefit results
• To facilitate quality and good value tourist experiences in the villages;
• To generate fiscal resources to sustain and enhance tourist products;
• To improve environmental quality in alignment with the development of tourism in the communities.

When Capilano University and Hanoi Open University were first invited into the villages of Taphin and Tavan in 2002 to begin the work of helping generate sustainable tourism, Sapa was just emerging as a destination and very few visitors were coming to the remote, ethnic minority villages. We were challenged to help locals understand what tourism was, what the perspectives of the visitors were, and to help build skills in a culture based solely on subsistence agriculture and minor trade for hundreds of years. The only way to achieve this was through exceptionally high levels of consultation, community engagement, and relationship building. Details of the work and outcomes are described in following sections of this submission.

 

For more information: CBT Vietnam website

Honourable Mention Community Based Tourism Initiative

Ban Rai Gong KingBan Rai Gong King Village is a small community in Chiangmai Province, a popular tourist destination in the northern part of Thailand. The community is situated next to Chiangmai Night Safari, so the main occupation of the villagers are vegetable plantation to sell as animal food in the zoo. During the economic crisis in the year 1997, many villagers who worked in the city moved back to Ban Rai Gong King Village to be with family and to think about what to do next. Many villagers lost their jobs and income. To help solving the economic problem of villagers, the village headman set up the ‘Ban Rai Gong King Development Fund’ which started with 3,000 Baht (approximately USD100). The initial money was used to set up a Bulk Purchasing Business where villagers can sign up for their commodity needs and the village headman will go to buy the products in bulk to get the wholesale price and save money for all. The profit from this business goes to the Development Fund which is used for community welfare from the birth to the death.

With the rich cultural resource and strong community welfare system, Ban Rai Gong King Village thought about using tourism as a development tool to improve the livelihood of villagers. With the support from various organizations, Ban Rai Gong King Community-based Tourism Club is formed with the objectives of the following:
1. To use tourism as a tool for developing sustainable livelihood of the villagers.
2. To revive the local culture and wisdom for next generation.
3. To improve the community welfare.
4. To promote healthy lifestyle for all.

The operation of Ban Rai Gong King Community-based Tourism Club is fruitful because of villagers’ participation in every process of development. That is why in the year 2015, Ban Rai Gong King Community based Tourism club earned a Thailand Tourism Awards in the category for ‘Best Community-based Tourism’.

Best Community Based Tourism Initiative

Bojo AloguinsanBojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS) was formally registered with the Department of Labor and Employment in October 2009, and with the Bureau of Internal Revenue the following year. The project was initiated by the local government of the municipality of Aloguinsan, a town located 73 kilometers midwest of Cebu City on the island of Cebu in central Philippines. The town is classified as a 4th class municipality with a population of 26,000 and a land area of 7,421 hectares. The village of Bojo is a fishing village of about 1,600 residents living in an area of about 355 hectares. Most of the residents earn from fishing, farming and working as laborers in the city. The 1.3 kilometer Bojo River flows through this village and empties into the Tanon Strait, the biggest marine protected area in the Philippines, and home to 14 species of dolphins.

Community organizing work began in the first quarter of 2009. The association had 52 member families with 75% of them having finished elementary education. More than half of the members are fishermen and housewives and earning US$70 a month. Sixty-five percent have lived in the village since birth.

BAETAS’ mission is to protect Bojo river and the marine resources of Tanon Strait, and attract tourists and earn supplemental income. Its general strategy is community-driven environmental management and the approach is ecotourism revenue as a strong incentive to protect the environment. By the middle of 2009, the Bojo River Eco-Cultural Tour was launched. After fine-tuning the product for a year, it began full swing in 2010.

To date, it has received almost 38,000 satisfied tourists who have joined the tour bringing memorable and meaningful experiences with them after. Tours have generated a total receipt of 16 million pesos with the 2.6 million pesos turned over to the local government. People hail it as a trailblazing initiative in Philippine community-based ecotourism where a local community association gives financial endowment to a municipal government from its tourism activities! The Department of Environment and Natural Resource, Integrated Coastal Resource Management Project and the Asian Development Bank awarded BAETAS the Inang Kalikasan Award for Best in Ecotourism Leadership in 2013.

 

 

Best Responsible Tourism Destination

Borneo Rainforest LodgeBorneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL) is nestled in a magnificent setting alongside the Danum River flowing through Sabah’s largest protected lowland rainforest – Danum Valley Conservation Area of 43,800 hectares of pristine and undisturbed tropical flora and fauna in the eastern part of Sabah. This pristine rainforest is also home to more than 340 species Birds, 124 species of Mammals, 72 species of Reptiles, 56 species of Amphibians and a staggering 200 species of plants per hectare.

BRL has 30 individual chalets with fans and en-suite bathrooms, accommodating up to only 60 guests on any one day and on a Full-Board basis. The newly opened 3 units of Premium Villas offer a higher level of comfort. These two single-storey and a double-storey chalets combine minimalist design and green conservation exercising eco sensitive structure with minimal footprint. Each chalet has its own outdoors tub attached to spacious viewing deck for a panoramic view of the river and serene forest landscape.

 

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