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Elephant camps in spotlight

Picture L-R: Nicolas Dubrocard, Project Director – Wild Asia; Jeniffer Peron,  Associate for Sustainability & Social Responsibility – PATA; Naut Kusters, General Manager – Travelife.

Delegates from tour operators and travel agents in Thailand joined a PATA Tour Operator Sustainability Working Group meeting on ‘Elephant camp standards’ hosted jointly by Travelife on January 27, 2017 at the PATA Engagement Hub in Bangkok.

The workshop focused upon the importance of applying best practices across the industry when considering elephant camps as potential attractions to offer to local and international visitors. Delegates received an update from Nicolas Dubrocard from Wild Asia – a PATA sustainability partner – on the first stage of a study that examined eight elephant camps in Thailand.

PATA and Travelife for Tour Operators signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2014 designed to promote sustainable practices amongst the tour operating communities in Asia. Travelife, a Dutch not-for-profit organisation operated by ECEAT is dedicated to making holidays more sustainable by working with travel businesses around the world to help them to improve their social, economic and environmental impacts.

Businesses that prove they meet the Travelife sustainability criteria can become Travelife certified, helping them to promote their achievements to others. Read more about the PATA/Travelife partnership here.


Ten Years of Transformational Tourism

Categories: Asia, Featured Post, Non-Profit
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Photo: Soneva Resorts (Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awardee)

Ten Years of Transformational Tourism
Reflecting on a decade of the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards

Friday 21st October, ITB Asia, Singapore

In 2006, Wild Asia, a Malaysian social enterprise that works with the tourism industry to support operators meet and exceed global standards for sustainability, started identifying regional leaders in responsible travel. At that time, the concept of sustainable tourism was in its infancy, particularly in Asia. Following their philosophy to work with industries, they believed the growth of this sector lay in the hands of practitioners. To help encourage and inspire other tourism professionals to become more socially and environmentally aware, they introduced the first Asian Responsible Tourism Awards. This program aimed to share real-life examples of responsible tourism in action, to educate the industry from within and on a peer-to-peer basis.

Since then, they have assessed hundreds of businesses and initiatives of all shapes and sizes, across South and South East Asia. Benchmarking these enterprises against the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, they have celebrated these leaders on an annual basis, especially through their on-going partnership with ITB Asia. 75 businesses have been awarded to date, with entries from 15 Asian countries.

This year, to celebrate a decade of the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, the team decided to consolidate lessons learned and reflect on the last 10 years of life-changing travel.

Dr Reza Azmi, Founder of Wild Asia, says “This journey has been a rewarding and enriching experience for me personally. It has given me a unique perspective on the challenges of sustainable tourism but also the inspiration to do more”.

As part of the 10 year anniversary, Wild Asia reconnected with Awardees to help share stories of success and replicable best practices. Ten past Award recipients participated in this special study, and their unique business features and positive impacts have been highlighted in a report and an on-going series of educational videos.

To read a collection of ten inspiring case studies, and the first part in a series of mini-documentaries of Awardees’ best practices, visit:

Stay tuned for 4 more videos to be released over the coming months.

2016 marks the end of the annual Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards. Amy McLoughlin, Awards Manager, says “Today, we are delighted that there are more opportunities than ever before for cutting-edge responsible tourism pioneers to be recognised for their achievements. There are now a wide variety of award programs available. After 10 years of highlighting the very best in Asia, we are excited to be shifting our focus to applying these lesson learned to support the development of up-and-coming business through our one-to-one mentoring services”.

Wild Asia continues to offer bespoke advisory and consultancy services to destinations, tourism businesses, and community organisations in the field of responsible tourism. Their insights into behind-the-scenes ‘know how’ of Awardees to date are shared through these services, to support businesses implement tried and tested sustainability measures. For more information visit:


Ten Years of Transformational Tourism Across Asia

Categories: Asia, Blog Posts
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Celebrating a decade of best practice in responsible travel

Ten years ago Wild Asia, a social enterprise in Malaysia, identified a need to work with industries, rather than against them, to improve social and environmental impacts of the private sector. One of those industries was tourism, and as a way to inspire and educate businesses from around the region, they set out on a mission to identify and reward the best examples of responsible tourism and share them on a B2B platform. A decade later, Wild Asia has one of the largest collections of case studies on sustainable travel practices in the region, and has assessed hundreds of tourism enterprises of all shapes and sizes and geographical locations.

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2016 marks the 10th birthday of the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards. Instead of running a traditional awards competition, this year Wild Asia has been focusing on consolidating lessons learned in a decade of responsible tourism, and has been re-connecting with past recipients to share stories of best practice.

This year’s activities will be celebrated and shared at ITB Asia, and then available open source on their website: www.rt.wildasia .org. The awards family is excited to share inspiring stories and open-source documentation, that will highlight successes, challenges, impacts made, and insights across the program to date. During this year’s ITB Asia, Wild Asia will share a reflection report and premiere several short engaging and educational documentaries of Awardees from around South and South East Asia.

2016ʹs special celebration could not be possible without the generous support of GIZ. “Presented by the Responsible and Inclusive Business Hub Southeast Asia (RIBH SEA) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Responsible and Inclusive Business Hub Southeast Asia”

Responsible Tourism at ITB Asia

The Responsible Tourism Events at ITB Asia, Asia’s largest travel trade show, is a growing success. These events started in 2009 as a collaboration with ITB Asia’s CSR partner, Wild Asia, a leading sustainability consultancy. These events aim to showcase and provide practitioners and experts in the field of sustainability, a platform to share stories, case studies, and tools to help operators run their business better; for the environment and for local people in destinations.

This year, Wild Asia is proud to announce 2016’s series of Responsible Tourism events. Our line up of speakers have been carefully chosen to provide you with the latest trends, lessons learnt from successful case studies and inspiration needed to help you become better and more sustainable in your business. The events will be held on 20 and 21 October at Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

The following topics will be discussed and it will be held at the Responsible Tourism Hub, a prominent booth in the exhibition hall is the main hub where the talks will be held. More details on the talks can be found here:

Some of the topics include:

  • Tourism and child protection – The Childsafe movement
  • The role of community based tourism in visitor dispersion and the spread of the tourism dollar
  • Storytelling to promote the Mekong region
  • Money-spinners for the tourism business: Go local, engage community and test eco solutions
  • Seeing beauty and value in waste
  • MICE tourism as a driver for sustainability?: Case studies and leadership lessons from Asia
  • Passion is not enough: Preparing for success in wildlife and nature tourism marketing
  • The rise of CSR in MICE
  • Marketing for BTWO and founding trustee for Tlhokomela Bostwana Endangered Species Trust

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On the last day of the trade show, 21 October, 2016 from 11am to 1pm, Wild Asia will be celebrating our 10th year anniversary of our flagship Responsible Tourism Awards. We have handpicked ten award winners around the region to share their stories. This extraordinary two-hour special will showcase ten leaders and pioneers in responsible tourism. Join us for an amazing time as we discover, listen and watch a collection of short clips as our all-stars share their successes and challenges in their journey towards creating a business that impacts positively on local communities and planet earth. We will also share insights and lessons learnt after a decade of assessing and awarding sustainable tourism businesses in Asia. Also speaking at this special event are notable speakers from GIZ and the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN).

—————– end ——————-

Notes to Editor:

About ITB Asia and Wild Asia 

ITB Asia, the annually held three day B2B trade show and convention – now in its seventh year in Singapore – will take place in Marina Bay Sands this year. It is organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore) Pte Ltd and supported by the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau. This is where international exhibitors of all sectors of the travel-value chain, Asia Pacific’s leading travel companies and emerging small and medium-sized enterprises meet with top international buyers from the MICE, Leisure and Corporate Travel markets.

Wild Asia is a social enterprise working to protect and support the conservation of natural areas and local communities via the tourism industry. Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Initiative works through strategic partnerships with businesses and modules to facilitate learning and implementation of international standards and guidelines. Our ultimate goal is to promote sustainable practices that will adverse impacts on the environment and ensure that local communities are engaged and empowered. For more on Wild Asia’s tourism work, go to

Media access and contact:

For more information or media passes to cover the Responsible Tourism events, please contact us at the contact details below:

Deborah Chan
Responsible Tourism Associate & Responsible Tourism Events Manager
Email: [email protected]

Amy McLoughlin
Responsible Tourism Awards Manager & Associate Specialist
Email: [email protected]


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.





September 08 2015 – The Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards are an opportunity for shining stars in sustainability to gain international recognition for their efforts to create better places to live and better places to visit. The Winners represent leadership in commitment to benefiting their local communities and natural environment, whilst providing authentic and meaningful travel experiences for visitors from around the world. Wild Asia Read more.

16-17 September, 2014, Sofitel Phokeethra, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

View photos


PP Declaration logos


Session 1: Opening and Keynote Addresses

Ms. Anne Lemaistre, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, UNESCO
“The Role of UNESCO in Promoting Poverty Alleviation through Community-Based Tourism Development – Managing Tourism & Heritage at Angkor”

Mr. Xu Jing, Executive Secretary of the General Assembly and Executive Council Regional Director for Asian and the Pacific, UNWTO
“UNWTO Perspectives on Tourism Trends and Outlook”

Mr. Martin Craigs, CEO, PATA
“The Role of PATA in Promoting Tourism and Poverty Alleviation”

H.E Dr. THONG Khon, Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Cambodia
“The Role of the Government in Promoting Poverty Alleviation through Tourism”


Session 2: Involving Communities in Water-Based Tourism
Moderated by Professor David Shum, Dean (Research), Griffith Health Executive, Griffith University

Dr. Harsh Varma, Director for Technical Cooperation and Services, UNWTO
“The Tripartite Cooperation ‘Mekong Discovery Trail Projects’ (STEP-funded project), a Pro-Poor, Sustainable Community-Based development in Northeastern Cambodia”

Dr. Gayle Mayes, Lecturer in Tourism, Leisure & Event Management and Member of the Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast
“Assisting Melong River Communities and Raising Awareness of the Need to Protect the threatened Mekong River Dolphin through Sustainable Sport and Event Tourism – the Proposed Mekong River Descent and Ultra-Marathon Cane Race”

Ms. Amy McLoughlin, Responsible Tourism Awards Manager & Associate Specialist, Wild Asia
“The Role of Communities in Marine Based Tourism”

Panel discussion and contributions to the Phnom Penh Declaration on Community Development through Tourism


Session 3: Community-Based Tourism Best Practice
Moderated by Professor Greg Hill, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of the Sunshine Coast

Mr. Robert Basiuk, Environmental Consultant, Chemsain
“CBT in Malaysia and Beyond”

Mr. Randy Durband, CEO, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
“Limits and challenges for Community-Based Tourism”

Daw Kyi Kyi Aye, Senior Advisor, Myanmar Tourism Federation
“Policy, Tourism and Community Development”

Professor RW (Bill) Carter, Professor for Heritage Resource Management and Associate Director of the Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast
“ASEAN Community-Based Tourism standards”

Panel discussion and contributions to the Phnom Penh Declaration on Community Development through Tourism


Session 4: Community Development, Tourism and Heritage conservation
Moderated by Professor RW (Bill) Carter, Professor for Heritage Resource Management and Associate Director of the Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast

Mr. Philippe Delanghe, Culture Specialist, UNESCO Cambodia
“Tourism, Tangible Heritage and Community development”

Dr. Mihee Kang, Research Professor of Research Institute for Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University
“Ecotourism for Nature Conservation and Community Development”

H.E Mr. PRAK Sovannara, Director-General at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Kingdom of Cambodia
“Historical and Cultural Heritage Conservation”

Mr. Ben Bowler, Founder, Monk for a Month
“Tourism, Religious and Cultural heritage and Community Development”

Panel discussion and contributions to the Phnom Penh Declaration on Community Development through Tourism


Session 5: Community development, Tourism and the Education sector
Moderated by Dr. Anne Roiko, Associate Professor in Environmental Health, Griffith University

Professor Greg Hill, Vice-Chancellor & President, University of the Sunshine Coast
“The Role of the Education Sector in Sustainable Tourism and Community-Based Tourism”

Mr Claude Colombie, Director, Sala Bai Hotel School
“Tourism Education: The Case of Cambodia”

Ms. Potjana Suansri, Director, Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I)
“Industry Needs of Education to Support Community Based Development”

Panel discussion and contributions to the Phnom Penh Declaration on Community Development through Tourism


Session 6: Community development, Tourism and Community health
Moderated by Mr. Robert Basiuk, Environmental Consultant, Chemsain

Dr. Anne Roiko, Associate Professor in Environmental Health, Griffith University
“Community Health Underpinning Community Development through Tourism”

Mrs. Rika Jean-Francois, Corporate Social Responsibility Commissioner, ITB Messe-Berlin
“Human Rights in Tourism”

Dr. Chris Bottrill, Dean of Global and Community Studies, Capilano University
“Climate Change and its Implications for Tourism and Community Development”

Panel discussion and contributions to the Phnom Penh Declaration on Community Development through Tourism


Session 7: Community development, Tourism and the Primary production
Moderated by Dr. Chris Bottrill, Dean of Global and Community Studies, Capilano University

Mr. Pandurang Taware, President & Managing Director, Agri Tourism Development
“Agriculture, Agri-Tourism and Community development”

Mr. Kevin Murphy, President & CEO, Asiawide Hospitality Solutions
“Economic Impacts of New Tourism Developments”

Mr. HENG Sovannara, Deputy Director-General at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, Kingdom of Cambodia
“Overview of Fisheries Sector in Cambodia and Ongoing Collaborative Activities and Achievement Between FIA and CI”

Panel discussion and contributions to the Phnom Penh Declaration on Community Development through Tourism


Session 8: Plenary
Moderated by Mr. Kevin Murphy, President & CEO, Asiawide Hospitality Solutions

Mr. Nick Ray, Author, Lonely Planet
“Community Based Tourism – Connecting with the consumer”

Mr. THOK Sokhom, Director of International Cooperation and ASEAN, Ministry of Tourism, Kingdom of Cambodia
“Royal government’s policy for pro-poor, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible Community-Based Tourism toward the Cambodia’s lead coordinating role in developing ASEAN CBT Standards”

Professor RW (Bill) Carter, Professor for Heritage Resource Management and Associate Director of the Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast
“Attracting development partners or donor countries to concentrate and support tourism development projects”

Discussion on Phnom Penh Declaration on Community Development through Tourism