This year, The Travel Word has again lent support to the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards, a contest that rewards accommodations and tour operators committed to spreading responsible tourism across all corners of Asia. Grounded in the UN World Tourism Organization’s Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, the Wild Asia RT Awards are the only Asia-wide prize to officially recognise sustainable tourism.
This year, 45 quality applications were submitted by responsible tourism practitioners from the widest geographical spread to date, including Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. We are very encouraged by the strong showing of travel providers helping to guide the international conversation about environmentally and socially responsible tourism.
After much debate, Wild Asia‘s panel of expert judges has selected the 2013 finalists, who will now undergo the last round of review. The 2013 winners will be announced during a special ceremony hosted at Asia’s largest travel trade show, ITB Asia, in Singapore this October.
Learn more about the history of Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Awards through our many years of coverage and check back in October for the announcement of the 2013 winners!
The following finalists are now in the running for the 2013 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards:
Category: Best in Community Engagement and Development
This award recognises exceptional commitment to supporting the local community and economy in which a business operates.
Bali CoBTA, Indonesia
Bali Community Based Tourism Association (Bali CoBTA) is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation that promotes sustainable tourism. By facilitating the development of community-based tourism villages, Bali CoBTA gives tourists a unique opportunity to experience local culture and community life, while communities are empowered to earn additional income by preserving and showcasing their culture and heritage.
Lisu Lodge, Thailand
Named after the Lisu hill tribe village found near the lodge, Lisu Lodge is part of a community-based project that aims to conserve the natural heritage of the hill tribes of northern Thailand. The Lisu migrated to Thailand from southern China and Tibet in the early 20th century.
Category: Best in Cultural Preservation
This award recognises the engagement and efforts by tourism businesses in preserving, enhancing and promoting local cultures and heritage.
Apani Dhani, India
Apani Dhani is based in the heart of Rajasthan. It is a charming and peaceful lodge that offers eco-friendly accommodation, excursions and activities with locals such as cooking lessons or an initiation to traditional arts and crafts. A stay at Apani Dhani enables travellers to discover the daily life and traditions of rural India.
Sampran Riverside, Thailand
Sampran Riverside (formerly known as Rose Garden Riverside) is a family-run property close to Bangkok, where visitors can experience the authentic Thai way of life and learn about local wisdom. For decades it has been considered one of Bangkok’s favourite retreats because of its dedication to preserving Thailand’s natural and cultural heritage by engaging with the local community.
Category: Best in Protection of Natural Areas and/or Wildlife Conservation
This award recognises tourism businesses’ consideration of their local environment and biodiversity by actively supporting and protecting their natural assets.
Ranweli Holiday Village, Sri Lanka
Ranweli Holiday Village is an eco-friendly resort located on a 22-acre peninsula where mangrove forests and winding rivers converge to meet the sea. Located only 18 kilometres from Colombo’s International Airport, Ranweli is the perfect base from which to explore the fascinating history, culture and nature of Sri Lanka.
Scuba Junkie, Malaysia
Scuba Junkie provides daily dive trips to more than 25 islands in the Celebes Sea in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Whether you want macro diving at Mabul and Kapalai, or wish to dive with sharks and turtles at Sipadan Island (frequently voted one the top 10 dive sites in the world), Scuba Junkie will take you there.
Category: Best in Resource Efficiency
This award recognises excellence in waste, water and energy management and sustainable architectural design in order to minimise a business’ environmental impact.
Frangipani Langkawi Resport and Spa, Malaysia
This secluded and eco-friendly resort is situated on a 400-metre stretch of soft golden sand along Pantai Tengah, southwest of Langkawi. All 117 rooms, villas and suites are spacious, and tastefully decorated to provide a calm feeling and relaxed atmosphere. Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa is the first resort in Langkawi to implement green practices to preserve the environment.
Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka
Heritance Kandalama is an architectural masterpiece by Geoffrey Bawa, built with a view out to what some people call the eighth wonder of the world – the rock fortress of Sigiriya. The hotel sits at the heart of the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, close to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Category: Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Accommodation Provider
This award, sponsored by Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, recognises the accommodation provider that excels in all of the above categories by taking into consideration all the key principles of responsible tourism (maximum positive impacts to the local community and minimum negative impacts to the environment) and awards innovation for this most inspiring accommodation of the year.
Soneva Resorts, Thailand and Maldives
Soneva Resorts is the original barefoot luxury brand, and still one of the travel industry’s greatest innovators. The acronym SLOW LIFE (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences) explains the Soneva philosophy. Intelligent luxury is all about creating unforgettable, enlightening experiences that rejuvenate each guest’s love of SLOW LIFE. It’s about illuminating lives whilst treading lightly on the earth.
Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Malaysia
Sukau Rainforest Lodge is nestled into the banks of one of Borneo’s most important waterways, the Kinabatangan River, home to many of Borneo’s magnificent wildlife species. Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers rare comfort and luxury in the midst of the Borneo rainforest, whilst retaining an ecolodge ethos, the delicate balance of true sustainability.
Category: Most Inspiring Responsible Tour Operator
This award recognises the tour operator that excels in all of the above categories by taking into consideration all the key principles of responsible tourism (maximum positive impacts to the local community and minimum negative impacts to the environment) and awards innovation for this most inspiring responsible tourism business of the year.
Papua Expeditions, Indonesia
Papua Expeditions offers professionally guided birding, general wildlife, hiking and trekking expeditions in New Guinea’s Wild West. Permanently based in West Papua, Papua Expeditions’ ecotourism programme focuses exclusively on the little-known western half of New Guinea under Indonesian administration.
ViaVia Tours, Indonesia
ViaVia Tours are as varied as Jogjakarta is populated, and they all offer something unique, including adventure, gastronomy and culture. ViaVia in Jogja is an art space for young local artists and also often the venue of concerts, Friday night jazz, performance art, film festivals and debates. Some of the ViaVia profits support educational, social and cultural projects in and around Jogjakarta.