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Tourism InSPIRE Awards


Picture: L/R: Mr Priyantha Ratnayake, Resident Manager, Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort, Sri Lanka; Mr Joselito R Costas, Project Consultant and Community Organiser, Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association, The Philippines; Mr Andrew Jones, Vice Chairman, PATA and Guardian, Sanctuary Resorts, Hong Kong SAR (receiving the award on behalf the Blue Yonder, India and CBT Vietnam); Mr Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA; Ms Loraine Gatlabayan, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Mr Somsak Inthachai, Head of Ban Rai Gong King Community-Based Tourism Club, Thailand; Ms Mariglo I. Laririt, Director of Environment of Sustainability, Ten Knots Development Corporation/El Nino Resorts, The Philippines; Mr Chitral Jayatilake, Head of Eco-Tourism at Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts and Vice President, John Keells Group, Sri Lanka; Mr Henry Llames, Operation Manager, Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Malaysia; and Mr Baton Bijamin, General Manager, Sukau Rainforest Lodge Malaysia.

Winners of the inaugural Tourism InSPIRE Awards attended a special awards dinner on Friday, November 27, 2015 in Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines hosted by the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines as part of the PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum 2015. The awards were presented by Mr Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA and Ms Loraine Gatlabayan, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The awards programme was organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) on behalf of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the SWITCH-Asia Regional Policy Support Component (RPSC)  managed by UNEP and funded by the European Union. PATA was engaged to implement the awards programme of behalf of UNEP.

Read the full release here.

2015 Winners


  1. Best Branded Accommodation – Ten Knots/El Nido Resorts, The Philippines
  2. Best Independent Accommodation – Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Malaysia
  3. Best Marine and Wildlife Tourism Provider – Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Sri Lanka
  4. Best Cultural & Heritage Tourism Provider- Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort, Sri Lanka
  5. Best Responsible Tourism Destination – Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Malaysia
  6. Best Community Based Tourism Initiative – Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association, The Philippines

Honourable Mentions  

  1. Honorable Mention of the Best Cultural & Heritage Tourism Provider category – The Blue Yonder, India
  2. Honorable Mention of the Best Community Based Tourism Initiative category – CBT Vietnam, Vietnam/Canada
  3. Honorable Mention of the Best Community Based Tourism Initiative category – Ban Rai Gong King Community-Based Tourism Club, Thailand

Read the full release here.

Please click the following links to view the event in more detail.

About the Awards

The Tourism InSPIRE (Industry’s Sustainability Practitioners Inspiring Responsibility and Excellency) Awards recognises the organisations and businesses that demonstrate excellence in social, environmental, and economic sustainability in tourism. The Tourism InSPIRE Awards of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is supported by the SWITCH-Asia Regional Policy Support Component (RPSC)managed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by the European Union. The awards seek to identify and recognise excellence in sustainable tourism operations by awarding tourism entities – accommodations, tour operators, destinations, and communities – that demonstrate outstanding practices and performance within the three pillars of sustainability (environment, social, economic).

The purpose of the Tourism InSPIRE Awards is to raise awareness on sustainable tourism issues amongst tourism practitioners, managers, operators, and visitors with in the region. This initiative aims to inspire the uptake and sharing of good practices, ultimately embedding responsible and exemplary sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices in the daily operations of organisations throughout our industry.

Award criteria were developed based upon SCP principles and existing tourism standards – specifically those of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The six (6) categories for these awards are:

  1. Best Branded Accommodation (i.e. chain-affiliated, part of a multinational company, multiple brand affiliations)
  2. Best Independent Accommodation (i.e. independent, privately owned and financed, directly managed by its owner(s))
  3. Best Marine and Wildlife Tourism Provider
  4. Best Culture and Heritage Tourism Provider
  5. Best Responsible Tourism Destination
  6. Best Community Based Tourism Initiative

Awards Criteria

These awards recognise businesses and institutions that are systematically embedding sustainable consumption and production (SCP) principles into their business strategy and daily decision-making throughout their business operations: from the business models to the development of tourism products and services, and including the marketing and sale of these products and/or services in the tourism industry.

Applicants must demonstrate the use and application of SCP approaches that inspire others, that assist in the mainstreaming of sustainability, address sustainable tourism challenges, and that can be replicated as good practices. All applications will be judged based on how applicants exemplify the following criteria:

  1. Resource efficiency: organisations are minimising the use of scarce and non-renewable resources in the development and operation of tourism facilities and services; organisations have adopted climate change mitigation or adaptation strategies in their operational approaches; organisations provide support for conservation and management of areas vulnerable to climate change pressures.
  2. Value chain approach: organisations are incorporating sustainability practices aimed at reduced consumption of water and energy, and less waste throughout their value chains. These actions should demonstrate a clear reduction in impact and/or demonstrate the value of a sustainability strategy to the tourism value chain.
  3. Eco-innovation: organisations are reducing impacts on the environment while ensuring business profitability. This includes enhancing social benefits from operations, applying innovative business models in combination with a range of methods, tools, processes and/or services that support and meet business and sustainability objectives.
  4. Sustainable consumption: companies are driving consumers towards making better sustainable tourism choices, encouraging demand for sustainable tourism services, and mainstreaming sustainable tourism in their operations.
  5. Sustainability reporting: companies are reporting on their sustainability impacts, their concrete objectives to reduce those impacts and progress towards their accomplishment.
  6. Community action: companies are able to maintain and strengthen cultural practices, quality of life and jobs in local communities, including key social structures and access to resources, use of amenities and life support systems, avoiding any form of social degradation or exploitation, whilst also alleviating poverty.
  7. Cultural heritage: companies respect and enhance the heritage, culture, traditions, and distinctiveness of host communities
  8. Collective impact: organisations are working in cooperation with other stakeholders in a collaborative effort towards a common goal and creating shared value.

Tourism InSPIRE Awards 2015 Judging Panel

The judging panel is comprised of a group of international and regional experts and representatives nominated by UNEP and PATA.

saul_antonioSaúl Antonio Blanco Sosa

Technical Specialist and Global Lead,
Sustainable Tourism Certification Program
Rainforest Alliance


ronaldo_canizalRolando Canizal

Assistant Secretary for Tourism
Development Planning
Department of Tourism Philippines


randy_durbanRandy Durban

Chief Executive Officer
Global Sustainable Tourism Council

Chief Judge, Tourism InSPIRE Awards 2015


jose_froehlingJosé Froehling

Advisor in the Sector Initiative
“Sustainable Development through Tourism”


andrew_jonesAndrew Jones

Sanctuary Resorts



amy_mcloughlinAmy McLoughlin

Responsible Tourism Awards Manager
& Associate Specialist
Wild Asia


helena_reyHelena Rey

Tourism and Environment Program Officer
Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


Sustainable Tourism

Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development; a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability.

Thus, sustainable tourism should:
1) Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecosystem functions and helping to conserve a destination’s natural heritage and biodiversity;

2) Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance; and

3) Ensure viable, long-term economic operations from use of the resource, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including decent jobs, income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, whilst also contributing to poverty alleviation.
Sustainable tourism development requires strong political leadership and the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and it requires constant monitoring of impacts, introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary.

Sustainable tourism operations should also contribute to a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience of the destination. It should raise visitor awareness about local sustainability issues, promote consumption of sustainable products and services and responsible behaviour amongst visitors (UNWTO 2005).