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Travel Guide

Responsible, ethical travel guide launched!

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Monday
Jan022012

Gaia Guide Launched: Responsible Travel in Asia

Media Release

Singapore, 15 December 2011. Following the success of the Gaia Discovery website (www.gaiadiscovery.com), publisher Mallika Naguran has put together a new handy guide for tourists who want to engage with their destinations – not just visit them (download the ecotravel Gaia Guide here and view Gaia Guide on SlideShare here).

“The guide is a step in the right direction for preserving Asian beauty, heritage, culture, environments and communities,” writes Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Prizewinner and President of Timor Leste in his opening foreword to the Gaia Guide.

Ramos-Horta points out that eco-tourism is growing three times faster than ordinary tourism – and so needs a guide. “Staying with ethical resorts or booking with eco-tour operators will help support them, while ensuring a sustainable future for all,” he adds. Ramos-Horta is also Gaia Discovery’s honorary advisor.

The Gaia Guide covers things like what to do and how to travel to ensure you cause least environmental impact; what to look for in an ethical tourist operator; how to help local indigenous communities; eco-diving advice; sound eco-lodge design, expert opinion on responsible tourism – and a list of upcoming eco-tourism events, activities and festivals in Asia.

“We put the Gaia Guide together partly as an extension of our website, but also as a useful pocket reference that people can take with them when they travel,” says Naguran.

Covering destinations like Sarawak, Sikkim, Borneo, Timor Leste and Puerto Galera, the guide draws on the expertise of the Gaia Discovery team of writers from across the region.

The section on Dos and Don’ts for the eco-traveller offers tips on how to pack, what to buy, how best to interact with local people and what to take as gifts for their families.

“We’ve had a great response to the Dos and Donts section in particular,” says Naguran. “People have told us they always wanted something they could put in their travel bag and help with environmental issues that come up in more remote places. Now they have one!”

The printed guide is being distributed for free at travel fairs, eco-travel events, environmental talks/seminars, social enterprises, green retail stores, ethical restaurants and cafes in Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia and Hongkong. The soft copy of the guide is available for download from Gaia Discovery and associate websites, making responsible tourism content freely accessible to travellers worldwide.

Scheduled for production once a year, the guide builds on Gaia Discovery website’s reputation for clear, unbiased reporting for people that care about environmental and eco-tourism issues. Gaia Discovery was established in 2008 and has since reached out to millions of readers, through eNewlsetters, Facebook, Twitter, referral sites and search engines.

Contact Ms Naguran for editorial and advertising inquiries. You can also send a request for a copy of the Gaia Guide here.

Wednesday
Mar302011

Gaia Discovery Launches Coral Reef Gardening & Restoration in Indonesia

31 March 2011

Media Release

Gaia Discovery is embarking on a series of environmental projects in Southeast Asia, starting with coral gardening and assisted reef restoration programmes. It seeks the participation of scuba divers from around the world to join its scheduled group trips beginning 14 May 2011.

For a start, it has partnered with Gili Eco Trust and Big Bubble resort and dive centre to spruce up existing coral reefs and lay new ones at Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. Through this initiative, the island will have new coral reefs that will provide shelter for fish, encourage new fish growth, promote marine biodiversity and prevent beach erosion. The programmes benefit the island's fishing industry and marine tourism that are under threat due to environmental pollution, climate change and warming temperatures.

“We have been reporting on the environmental outlook in Asia through Gaia Discovery with special interest on threatened marine environments. Going a step further, we now provide opportunities for people to care for marine environments through personal involvement and positive action,” said Mallika Naguran, publisher of Gaia Publications and Managing Director of Gaia Discovery Eco Solutions.

Mallika, a sustainability consultant and keen scuba diver, elaborated on the programme’s rationale. “Most of the time, scuba divers are warned not to touch anything underwater for fear of harming marine creatures or themselves. This contributes to a sense of helplessness even apathy towards the plight of corals facing stresses. They don’t realise that they can get involved and not just watch corals and sponges being displaced by extreme weather conditions, smothered by algae, gobbled by predatory creatures like Drupella snails or damaged by irresponsible fishing methods,” she said. She hopes the programme will convert leisure scuba divers into reef gardeners, and hopes to send the renewal message out to 1000 divers by 2012 end.

The dive trip will include presentations on ecology, responsible tourism, marine protection, reef gardening and restoration techniques involving Biorock® Technology. Scuba divers will be involved in the entire process of coral reef restoration – from the design and construction of a heavy steel frame structure, to laying it down beneath the sea where scattered broken coral fragments will be collected from the seabed and attached to the frame. Participants will receive a PADI certification for completing the Biorock® Specialty Course.

Corals are fragile animals. Coral reefs comprise less than a percent of the ocean floor yet they provide sustenance and natural habitats to nearly 25 percent of marine life. Reef collapse leads to fishery decline, depleting shoreline and reduced coastline buffer that in turn impacts negatively on beachfront properties, marine tourism, human lives and livelihoods.

Dr Thomas Goreau, President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance (a non-profit organisation that deploys Biorock® structures globally), describes the fragility of the marine ecosystem. “Coral reefs have been steadily vanishing for more than 60 years, but the pace of destruction has greatly accelerated in the last few years due to the impacts of global warming, new diseases, and land-based sources of pollution. Marine Protected Areas are helpless against such global threats unless the threats themselves are eliminated, something the world has no will to do at this time.” 

“The only interim solution is to use methods that greatly increase coral growth rates and resistance to environmental stress. Biorock® Technology is the only method that does so, and it is crucial to apply it in as many places as soon as possible, as these threats will get much worse in the coming years,” he said.

Gili Trawangan has since 2004 resorted to drastic environmental measures to salvage its depleting coral reefs and eroding beaches and has to date put in place nearly 60 steel reef structures that form new marine habitats. Biorock® Technology involves passing a low voltage electrical current that helps fortify structures against rusting while increasing coral growth rate and resistance to environmental stress. This includes resistance to warming ocean waters that otherwise cause corals to bleach, a serious condition that would eventually kill them if not mitigated.

“We certainly can't save it all, but if we don't save all that we can, what will we have left?” said Dr Goreau, a renowned scientist who has been solving environmental crises with renewal methods for 20 years.

Saving some of these corals is Gaia Discovery’s mission. Part of the proceeds from these dive bookings go towards supporting Gili Eco Trust’ environmental programmes through the Gaia Discovery Restoration Fund. Gaia Discovery intends to take two groups: reef gardening activity involves 5 nights and 6 days while reef restoration programme will be held over 7 nights and 8 days, both starting from 14 May 2011.

Interested parties and corporations intending to ride on these programmes for their CSR projects should contact Gaia Discovery for further enquiries and rates. To minimise its impact on the environment, the trip involves purchase of carbon offsets for flight travel, accommodation at fan-operated guesthouses and has a no single-use plastic policy.

 

Notes

The Global Coral Reef Alliance is a small non-profit organization dedicated to growing, protecting and managing the most threatened of all marine ecosystems—coral reefs. It focuses on coral reef restoration, marine diseases and other issues caused by global climate change, environmental stress and pollution.  GCRA has successfully built vibrant marine environments globally by laying down Biorock structures  http://www.globalcoral.org/

The Gili Eco Trust was set up in 2002 to support local efforts from SATGAS (local security) to protect the three Gili islands. The seven dive centres of Gili Trawangan reached an agreement with a local organization and began collecting a small fee from each diver. Through the Gili Eco Trust Eco Tax, each visitor or diver continues to help to conserve its recovering marine environment and help with new eco projects. Visit http://www.giliecotrust.com.

Big Bubble owns a resort, pool and dive centre on Gili Trawangan. Gili Trawangan is a tropical island located off Lombok in Indonesia. Visit www.bigbubblediving.com.

Gaia Discovery is Asia’s premier online eco-tourism publication. It celebrates the eco life with readers from 100 countries daily www.gaiadiscovery.com. The Gaia Guide is an annual information guide on ecotourism. Gaia Discovery Eco Solutions helps businesses run sustainable operations and green events. www.gaiadiscovery.com/eco-solutions .

Enquiries & Booking

Mallika Naguran  - admin AT gaiadiscovery DOT com

Mobile: +65 9663 7289 Skype: malgaia

 

Tuesday
Jan252011

Gaia Discovery to Boost Science, Tech, Business Content With New Editor

25 January 2011

Media Release

SINGAPORE - Independent environmental publisher Gaia  
Discovery is pleased to announce a new addition to its management  
team. Jeremy Torr has been appointed Managing Editor in charge of  
content and direction for Singapore's premier green publications -  
Gaia Discovery (www.gaiadiscovery.com) and The Gaia Guide. His  
previous role was Managing Editor at Discovery Channel Magazine where  
he steered it to win multiple awards across the region, such as SOPA Awards and MPAS.

Jeremy is an internationally experienced editor and writer, with  
publishing experience in the UK, Australia and Singapore. He has  
worked on a wide range of publications from the Guardian to  
ComputerWorld, The Sydney Morning Herald to Business Review Weekly,  
and from Bicycle Action to Australian Biotech News - with a deal of  
newspaper and book writing along the way.

Since moving to Singapore almost ten years ago, he has worked on award- winning titles including SilverKris, Prestige and  
Discovery Channel Magazine. He brings a wealth of experience, plus a  
keen desire to see Singapore cement its position in the region as a  
key player in the maintenance and preservation of the Earth's  
environment.

"I have contributed to Gaia Discovery previously and I really admire  
the work they have done. Over the years they have consistently been 
the first to publicise green initiatives, and to bring people together  
who care about the world we live in," he says. "So when the  
opportunity came up to help craft the website and its contents, I  
jumped at it."

Mallika Naguran, founder and managing director of Gaia Discovery,  
is thrilled with the new team member. "Gaia Discovery reaches out to  
businesses in Asia Pacific, not just consumers, with a focus on  
positive environmental practices.  Jeremy will be an asset all round  
to us as he has broad knowledge of science, technology, innovation,  
and the environment. So businesses can now have even  
better information on how to run sustainable operations in  
light of climate change and corporate social responsibility challenges."

Jeremy is an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and  
committee member of the Singapore Foreign Correspondents Association.  
He is a frequent volunteer at the National Parks 
Pulau Ubin trail cleanup squad.

Notes

Gaia Publications comprise Gaia Discovery and The Gaia Guide. Gaia Discovery, established since 2008, is an independent online  
environmental publication (www.gaiadiscovery.com). It has local,  
regional and international readers from more than 100 countries daily.  
Gaia Discovery provides regular reviews, insights and current information on  
environmentally-friendly living, responsible tourism and heritage through People, Places, Planet, Adventures, Marine Life, Festivals and Video sections. The  
Gaia Guide is an annual consumer handbook that gives information on eco- 
friendly living, travel and environmental products and services. The  
Gaia Guide will be available both in print and online formats this April and will be distributed regionally.

 



Friday
Oct172008

Green Publication Gaia Discovery Hits 100!

21 October 2008, Singapore - Since its launch in May 2008, the Gaia Discovery ecological online magazine (www.gaiadiscovery.com) has grabbed the attention of readers from 100 countries and territories around the world. Due to its unique Asian environmental content, it makes eco living and travel easily accessible on the internet.

Page visits average tens of thousands monthly, based on Google Analytics and SquareSpace web traffic monitoring tools. According to the statistics, the top ten Asian visitor countries are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Hongkong, Laos and Cambodia. In addition, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, New Zealand, Sweden and the Netherlands rank top ten among countries from other regions.

Referring to its unique approach to content delivery, founder and Managing Editor Mallika Naguran is confident that the magazine strikes a chord with readers who are concerned with global warming and climate change. "We communicate serious messages using real-life stories, gripping anecdotes and graphic pictures and videos. Exclusive interviews allow people in the trenches such as environmentalists and conservationists to voice their concerns. Our content is crafted first hand and carefully researched, hence articles are newsworthy while being engaging," she says.

Average time spent on the site is four minutes, with nearly 60% of traffic arising from search engines, 25% from direct links and 15% from referring sites such as UNEP's Climate Neutral organisation, Australia's search engine WebWombat, US-based Global Coral Reef Alliance, Thai Climate Organisation and Laos Ecotourism promotions agency. Access to Gaia Discovery content is free of charge; readers can also post comments without prior registration.

One internationally-acclaimed interviewee and subscriber is Nobel peace prize laureate and Champion of the Earth, United Nations Environment Programme 2008, Dr Balgis Osman Elasha. "Gaia Discovery is my new discovery of a very interesting newsletter," she says. "Through her interviews Mallika knows how to bring out the hidden and unspoken environmental messages and presents them in the most simple, direct and attractive way. Many people told me that they became more enthusiastic to play an active role in conserving the environment after reading her interview with me."

Dr Balgis notes that Gaia Discovery helps educate readers and encourages them to bring the lessons home. This is borne out by the increasing numbers of readers signing up for Gaia Discovery eNewsletters, subscribing to RSS feeds and participating in joint-promotions.

This month, there is an opportunity for readers to experience Vietnamese culture and heritage by winning a stay at the beautiful Victoria Hoi An Resort & Spa, close to the UNESCO heritage listed site of Hoi An town.

In addition to joint-promotions, there are advertising opportunities on Gaia Discovery such as affiliate marketing, promotional banners and classified listings that help companies strengthen their green branding. Ten percent of all proceeds will go to the Gaia Discovery Conservation Fund.

For media enquiry, contact Mallika Naguran at mal@gaiadiscovery.com.

Wednesday
May212008

Gaia Discovery Launch Media Release

21 May 2008

For Immediate Release

“Hey you!” Says New Environment Publication, “Start Helping to Put Out the Fire.”

 

Singapore - A brand new Asia-based online publication aims to spread the word on sustainable tourism, environment conservation, and heritage preservation in a big, bold yet accessible way.

Mallika Naguran, founder and managing editor of the lifestyle online magazine, Gaia Discovery, quit her management job in the civil service to kick-start what she hopes is a big and expanding trend.

“The Earth is on fire – well, definitely warming - yet people are still having foam parties,” says Naguran. “Through Gaia Discovery, I want to help everybody make socially responsible and environmentally-sound choices as to how they live, work, and of course travel.”

“Only then can we start making a difference to this planet that has already caught a fever,” she says.

Gaia Discovery (www.gaiadiscovery.com) is designed to give people all over the world an insight into sustainable development to help them mitigate the present global warming and climate change crisis. The site provides independent information on people and organizations that make a positive difference to the environment, and to local communities.

It features viewpoints, first-hand reviews and insights on Asia Pacific destinations, resorts, eateries and activities that protect natural habitats, promote green practices and preserve heritage.

Through awareness generation and reader participation, the magazine-styled portal intends to influence industrialists, builders, hoteliers, manufacturers, investors, decision makers and consumers. “We want them to care for the planet by adopting sustainable and ecologically-sound practices,”says Naguran. “But while our content delivers serious messages, we try to be lively and engaging so readers can participate by voicing their views, watching videos or taking part in our giveaways,” adds Naguran.

Gaia Discovery also mails out a regular eNewsletter to subscribers worldwide (there are already hundreds of them in Sweden, England, Germany, the US, Australia, Thailand and more), in addition to automated Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.

 

Gaia Discovery is an independent publication and is being officially launched to coincide with International Biodiversity Day on 22 May 2008. It is a media partner of ACRES wildlife rescue and conservation association in Singapore. Gaia Discovery is only available through the online medium, to save trees of course. Articles in Gaia Discovery may be reproduced with credit given to the source.

 

For more information, contact:

Mallika NAGURAN (Ms)

Managing Editor,

Gaia Discovery

mal@gaiadiscovery.com

T: +65 9663 7289