Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards have come to an end in 2016. What continues is the consolidation and sharing of best practices in the tourism sector that benefit the society and the environment while boosting local livelihoods. Prerna Shah reports.
21 October 2016, Singapore. It was a different kind of celebration at Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 held alongside ITB Asia in Singapore where the team reflected on the last 10 years of responsible tourism and travel as well as the sustainability commitments of operators. No prizes were awarded this year.
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. Based on their intent on working with industries, they believed that 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 programme 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 Southeast Asia. Benchmarking these enterprises against the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, they have recognised these leaders on an annual basis, especially through their on-going partnership with ITB Asia. As many as 75 businesses have been awarded to date, with entries from 15 Asian countries.
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 as well as 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:
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 programmes 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 businesses 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 as they implement tried and tested sustainability measures.
For more information visit: rt.wildasia.org. Contact Amy McLoughlin: amy AT wildasia DOT org should you wish to connect with WildAsia's consultancy services.
Stay tuned for 4 more videos to be released over the coming months.