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And the Winners of Wild Asia’s 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards Are…

  • WHL Group
  • 26 October 2010

Last week, Wild Asia at last announced the winners of the 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards, a competition that showcases exemplary resorts, hotels and tour operators that are committed to responsible tourism practices.

After months of site visits and very careful review of the final six candidates, the judging panel selected winners from Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, all of which were announced at a special ceremony during the 2010 ITB Asia conference.

Wild Asia's 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards winners

Representatives from Heritance Kandalama and Sarinbuana Ecolodge accept their Wild Asia 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards

Making a positive impact on local communities and the environment is an increasingly important consideration to a growing number of the nearly one billion international tourists per year (as estimated by the UN World Tourism Organisation) that hit the road. Picked for their innovative programming and their commitment to high standards of environmental protection and socially responsible business practices, all six finalists in the 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards are among an elite group of mindful entrepreneurs helping to change the face of the travel business for good.

“The purpose of the Awards is not to give out ‘gold stars’ to candidates each year,” commented Dr Reza Azmi, Wild Asia founder and director. “Our intent is to share the best practices of responsible operators to a broader audience and seek out new operators engaging in innovative programmes.”

The WHL Group congratulates the following winners of Wild Asia’s 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards:

Heritance Kandalama: Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Winning the award in the Large Accommodation category is the Heritance Kandalama in Sri Lanka, a hotel that has received numerous accolades since it opened in 1992, including being the first LEED-certified hotel to be recognised outside of the USA.

Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Situated in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle and close to the town of Dambulla, the hotel idles blissfully in an area of rich biodiversity and breathtaking natural beauty. Blending seamlessly with its surroundings, Heritance Kandalama has a unique architectural design; it is built entirely upon a raised platform, which allows for minimal impact on the local ecosystem and lets water and wildlife flow beneath it.

Other innovative facilities include a waste separation centre, a sewage treatment plant, an indigenous plant nursery and an eco museum. There is even a wildlife rehabilitation centre, where rescued animals are cared for before being released into the wild.

Mr. Jeevaka Weerakone, General Manager of Heritance Kandalama, noted “It is a great honour to receive the Awards and will continually raise the game in making Heritance Kandalama an example in Sri Lanka and to the world, at the same time a learning centre for responsible tourism.”

Sarinbuana Ecolodge: Bali, Indonesia

Taking first place in the Mid-Sized to Small Accommodation category is the Sarinbuana Ecolodge, nestled in the stunning rainforests of northwest Bali, Indonesia. This remote ecolodge, which opened 10 years ago, offers guests a welcome retreat from Bali’s tourist trail and a refreshing experience that many people do not feel when visiting this island.

Sarinbuana Ecolodge, Bali, Indonesia

Sarinbuana Ecolodge, Bali, Indonesia

Although only a small lodge, with just four villas, Sarinbuana Ecolodge has had an enormous positive impact on the local village. Since their arrival in Sarinbuana village, the vant Hoff family has been dedicated to improving local livelihoods and establishing strong relationships with the local people, while also promoting and consulting other developers about strategies for sustainable development.

“Winning the Awards has helped us increase our profile thereby bringing in more conscious travellers and increasing revenue streams for the local community,” said Norm vant Hoff, owner of Sarinbuana Ecolodge.

At Sarinbuana Ecolodge, guests can embrace the lush tropical setting and rich Balinese culture. The ecolodge operates in a truly holistic manner, exemplifies sustainability environmentally, economically and socially, and provides comfortable and pristine surroundings for true peace of mind.

Making squid cages on an Andaman Discoveries tour in Phang Nga, Thailand

Making squid cages on an Andaman Discoveries tour in Phang Nga, Thailand

Andaman Discoveries: Phang Nga, Thailand

Coming in first in the Tour Operators category is Andaman Discoveries, a truly unique program that helps connect travellers with local guesthouses and homestays in Thailand.

Known previously as North Andaman Tsunami Relief (NATR), the successful project began with Bodhi Garrett, who lost his home, job, and many friends in the 2004 tsunami. After the initial rebuilding of homes, the organisation turned its attention to long-term post-tsunami development strategies. Community meetings sparked the idea of using tourism as a means for economic renewal, with villagers seeking to welcome tourists in a way that would positively impact communities hit hard by disaster.

Today, guests can choose from among six fishing villages where they will be offered a good night’s rest. Accommodations are simple and clean and usually include fans, mattresses and mosquito nets in a local family’s home. Guests often leave with more than just great memories and new friendships. Many even stay on to help out and volunteer.

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Asia, ecotours, forests & jungles, Indonesia, partnerships, responsible travel, responsible travel news, South-Central Asia, South-Eastern Asia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, WHL Group news,

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