Based in Malaysian Borneo, Borneo Eco Tours has been a pioneer in responsible nature tours since 1991. Two of the most popular destinations in which they operate includes the iconic Kinabatagan River, where guests can enjoy their award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge and Borneo's famed primates, and Kudat, which provides opportunities for guests to visit and support cottage industries (supported by their partner NGO, BEST) along the scenic coast.
Here’s a snapshot of some of Borneo Eco Tours' key achievements, and reasons for winning Wild Asia Responsible Tourism 2014 Award in the category of Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative.
- In 1996 Borneo Eco Tours established a non-profit foundation, BEST Society, to deliver community projects in destinations in which they operate. To date, this has included installing water tanks to villages with no access to clean water, medical and dental camps, introducing organic farming projects in rural areas, and tree planting.
- They are very committed to sourcing staff locally, and pride themselves that 100% local of their team is made up of local people, including management level. Furthermore, staff have access to great benefits such as a higher than national minimum wage, medical benefits, recreation activities, allowances for overtime, and special skills training.
- After more than two decades of successful business, Borneo Eco Tours shares its expertise and access to useful contacts with other budding entrepreneurs. They have been training local community members in tourism and supporting them to establish their own social enterprise. Some examples include: increasing access to markets for artisans (e.g. beaded jewellery makers, weavers, coconut oil and honey producers), sending 50 farmers on an organic farming training course, and technical support to accommodation proprietors.
- As big believers in sharing their cultural heritage, many tours include visits to cottage industries which support the local economy.
- To date, their operations have generated approximately $127,000 for community and environmental projects. They have achieved this by including a levy on every guest’s bill which automatically is invested into local BEST projects.
For more information about the Borneo Eco Tours, please visit their website.
Pictures and text reproduced from WildAsia with permission.