Bits and BobsFive from Asia Pacific highlighted

Eco tour operators named in World Responsible Tourism Awards

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Sapa Valley, Vietnam
Sapa Valley, Vietnam Photo Credit: Gilsdenski/iStock

This makes awards like World Responsible Tourism Awards, created by Responsible Travel and launched in 2004, valuable as it highlights the best of the best. 

Eco-travel experiences are gaining traction with travellers, especially the millennials, according to James Dion, National Geographic’s sustainable tourism programme manager. 

This makes awards like World Responsible Tourism Awards, created by Responsible Travel and launched in 2004, valuable as it highlights the best of the best. 

Here, some of the finalists from Asia:

1. Lemon Tree Hotels, India
It won…  Overall winner and gold: Best Accommodation for Responsible Employment.
Why: The resort strives to create a socially inclusive work environment by employing people with disabilities and those from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Of its 3,500 employees across 29 properties, 13 per cent have disabilities and 470 are disadvantaged.

2. Sam Veasna Centre, Siam Reap
It won… Gold: Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation
Why: Since 2006, it has been offering bird watching tours. At the same time villagers are being educated on preserving rather than poaching wildlife, while encouraged to train as guides or homestay operators. The centre now works with eight communities in the area.

3. Sapa O’Chau, Sapa, Vietnam 
It won… Silver - Best for Poverty Reduction and Inclusion
Why: It is a social enterprise than runs a Hmong-owned homestay in Sapa with a socially conscious trekking service. It puts the money earned back into the community through projects like village school improvements and winter clothes donation to children. 

4. Misool Eco Resort, Indonesia
It won… Silver – Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation
Why: The private dive island resort works with fisherman and locals to help stop overfishing, logging, mining and shark finning while promoting education and tourism in the 1,200-sqkm marine protected area it is located in. 

5.  Burj Al Arab Aquarium, United Arab Emirates
It won… Silver – Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation
Why: The luxury hotel funds the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) as part of its aquarium, and has rescued, nurtured and released over a thousand sea turtles since it was founded in 2004.


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