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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

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

UNEP CBD - Tourism Supporting Biodiversity

A healthy natural environment is one of the world’s most important tourism attractions, and that visiting nature serves to heighten awareness of its intrinsic value for us all, a new manual launched by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) presents guidelines on sustainable tourism and management.

Geared towards being both practical and accessible, Tourism Supporting Biodiversity: A Manual on applying the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, highlights the important role tourism plays for biodiversity and aims to improve knowledge and materials to better integrate biodiversity into sustainable tourism development.

“The manual is a reference tool for planners, developers, managers and decision makers involved with tourism development and resource management in areas of sensitive biodiversity,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “The purpose is to help them to mainstream biodiversity concerns and ecosystem services within sustainable tourism development.”

With its emphasis on management and governance, the manual, prepared as a result of experiences compiled by the Secretariat and decisions taken by countries at the eleventh and twelfth meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, reflects a wider perspective on approaches and experiences in sustainable tourism development and management. It serves to complement the more technical User’s Manual on the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, published in 2007.

The manual is the result of a collaboration between the CBD Secretariat, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and some 140 experts from around the world to identify current trends and upcoming issues and opportunities on the links between sustainable tourism development and the CBD agenda, and is meant to be used as a transformative tool for sustainable consumption.

 

 

Download PDF here

 

FINALIST – 2015 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, Best in Community Engagement & Development

IMG_2626-e1440147722754Creating unforgettable learning experiences in the Cambodian provinces of Kratie and Stung Treng, CRDTours works closely with their partner NGO, CRDT (Cambodian Rural Development Team) to create sustainable changes through community-based tourism initiatives, such as rural development and environmental conservation.

Not only does CRDTours give tourists hands-on cultural experiences, such as whipping up local dishes with their host families, attending traditional religious blessings, and participating in on-going development projects identified by the local communities. But they also make sure the local communities don’t become overly dependent on tourism as a livelihood source by limiting the carrying capacity of visitors to Koh P’dao, an island nestled in the mighty Mekong river and home to a number of their tourist programs.

By expanding their community development tours’ projects to include chicken and pig raising and building toilets and rainwater collection systems, CRDTours is able to reach more beneficiaries and maximize long term benefits while also developing non-tourist centric methods of livelihood such as livestock raising, maintaining home gardens, and environmental education.

Mobilizing local communities key to CRDTours’ success. They are trusted by the local community, provide trainings and improve community awareness about issues such as environmental conservation. During village demonstrations, events, and livelihood trainings focused on deforestation and environmental awareness, 60% of beneficiaries were able to raise at least 3 environmental issues, such as illegal fishing and climate change present in their community and offer solutions.

CRDTours actively involves the local  community members, encouraging them to play a role in development and environmental conservation initiatives, which include:

  • Finding alternative livelihoods to slow/stop the depletion of natural resources
  • Raising awareness about the impact of unsustainable natural resources and gradually change the community’s behavior towards the environment
  • Promoting ecotourism as an incentive for community members to stop harming wildlife and take action to protect it

Ecotourism has been an incentive for communities to protect their rare, Irrawaddy dolphin neighbors and make them proud of their community. Over a quarter of the Community Based Ecotourism (CBET) annual development fund was given to the community fishery for river patrolling. By 2013 community beneficiaries stopped using gillnets (which dolphins are known to get caught in) close to the known dolphin pool and reduced their time spent fishing by 45%. Thanks to the complete removal of gillnets in the area, two baby dolphins were born in the Koh P’dao pool earlier this year.

CRDTours website

Seeking Experiential Travel in China: Interview with Mei Zhang, founder of Wild China

Categories: Asia, East, Management, Operations, Private Sector, Recommended Reading, Southeast, Tour Operator
Comments Off on Seeking Experiential Travel in China: Interview with Mei Zhang, founder of Wild China

Mei ZhangAre Travelers Ready for the ‘Real’ China? Mei Zhang, founder of Wild China, explains why she’s counting on a sense of discovery to take travelers beyond the Great Wall and create tourism opportunities in China, Tibet and Myanmar.

 

Last week was the International Volunteer Day which takes place every year on December 5th.

International Volunteer Day : orphanage tourism

“Children are not tourist attractions” www.thinkchildsafe.org

The growing popularity of international volunteering has led to the trend of orphanage tourism: people take time to volunteer at or visit an orphanage while visiting a foreign country. In Cambodia, a visit to an orphanage would include a short performance or dance routine by the children, accompanied with a request for a small donation to assist with orphanage running costs. Another version is for a tourist to volunteer for a few days at the orphanage. An entire industry has grown out of thousands of tourist visits.

A recent report into Cambodian orphanages has revealed that tourist visits, despite tourists’ best intentions, cause more harm than good. Orphanage tourism, often conducted by shady business operators, does more to harm, rather than help child protection, rights and education standards. In Cambodia, as in much of the developing world, orphanages opened for tourists are a problem, not a solution.

What can you do about it?

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