Archive for conservation

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on April 24, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

What a wonderful World Travel & Tourism Council Japan Summit in Sendai & Tokyo, that was! Re-posting this great news from WTTC  first and foremost for Inkaterra, Tourism For Tomorrow Winner and the respective stories of other winners which serve as inspiration and benchmarks in Sustainable Tourism excellence.

Three companies and one destination, from four continents, have been recognised for their best practices in sustainable tourism at this year’s World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The four winners were selected from 12 Award finalists and announced onstage during the opening ceremony of the WTTC Global Summit in Tokyo, Japan on 17 April. The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are among the highest accolades in the Travel & Tourism industry, and recognise companies, organisations and destinations around the world which showcase outstanding sustainable tourism achievements. They are the only global sustainable tourism awards that include on-site evaluation inspections of all finalists, conducted by a team of expert international judges.

WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2012

The 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards winners hail from South America, North America, Europe, and Asia. These diverse set of winners and emerged as victors over 150 entries from more than 60 countries. The winners are:

Saunders Hotel Group.Photo from Saunders website

Community Benefit AwardSaunders Hotel Group, USA: – This local family-owned hotel group has been a leader in sustainable tourism practices as far back as the early 1980s, when they converted an old police building in Boston, Massachusetts into an historic hotel and worked with local community partners to build affordable housing in the same area. Through initiatives that are driven and supported by all levels of their staff, the group supports dozens of local charity and non-profit groups with a combination of financial backing, volunteer time, and in-kind resources that goes far beyond most corporate social responsibility efforts. For Saunders, community service begins at ‘home’, where helping people in need is part of the company mission, recognising that disadvantaged communities can also exist in a major city in the United States.

Inkaterra CEO Jose Koechlin, giving his speech after receiving Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Conservation Award – Inkaterra, Peru: This hotel boasts long term conservation stewardship of 38,000 acres of rainforest in the Amazon basin and 25 acres of cloud forest within the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary. Founded in 1975, Inkaterra has grown into a renowned biodiversity research and conservation tourism company operating five hotels in the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and the Madre de Dios area of the Amazon rainforest. As well as a 100% carbon neutral hotel stay for every guest, Inkaterra has continued to implement a host of self-supported, sustainable tourism projects to facilitate a better understanding among tourists and local peoples about the need to protect fragile habitats in the Andes and the Amazon of Peru, which is home to 84 of the world’s 104 identified ecological life zones.

Roros Norway, WTTC Destination Stewardship Winner

Destination Stewardship Award – Destination Røros, Norway: Their successful multi-stakeholder approach to creating a thriving sustainable tourism destination in the old mining town of Røros, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is an example for many to follow. Since the end of mining in the late 1970’s, Destination Røros has been instrumental in reversing the area’s environmental degradation, guided by a management plan that actively engages and builds cooperation among local communities, municipal authorities, and private sector stakeholders. Emphasis is placed on demonstrating that historical cultural sites and formerly degraded natural areas can be revitalised and utilised in new contexts through sustainable development, thereby bringing tangible economic benefits to the local people. Destination Røros is also a pilot project for Norway’s country-wide Sustainable Tourism Initiative.

Banyan Tree Group, WTTC Global Tourism Business Award winner

Global Tourism Business Award – Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in Singapore: Their longstanding commitment to sustainability and creating tourism value recognition among stakeholders to support the protection of diverse natural and cultural heritage in worldwide destinations ranging from Mexico to China. Banyan Tree works through a three-pillar strategy: enhancing efficiency in environmental operations, conserving natural heritage and biodiversity, and social and economic empowerment of local people in the countries and regions where they operate. In addition to strong sustainable tourism practices, Banyan Tree has also fully integrated sustainability monitoring and evaluation across the company including its annual reports, in addition to issuing annual stand-alone sustainability performance reports that document projects, successes, and challenges. They have successfully done this for more than a decade, while also being one of the first global hospitality companies in the world to ban the sale of shark’s fin in all of their hotels in 2006.

Jose Koechlin Inkaterra CEO receiving Tourism for Tomorrow Awards from WTTC judges

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said: ‘The Awards have been under WTTC’s stewardship for the last nine years. Since then, they have grown in calibre and reach, but the premise is the same: to give international recognition to outstanding examples of sustainable practices, from Travel & Tourism businesses across the globe.’ David continued: ‘All finalists and winners are inspiring cases of businesses providing sustainable solutions to real world problems. These actions espouse the ethos of Tourism for Tomorrow, and demonstrate true leadership in the industry.’

Commenting on their achievements, Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, noted: ‘Sustainable tourism principles are no longer solely the realm of a handful of well-meaning companies. Today, sustainability itself has emerged on the global stage as a new indicator of tourism quality, alongside traditional quality standards such as excellent guest services or a room with a view. What this means is that a measure of a company or tourism destination’s success, is now increasingly tied to their quality of sustainable tourism best practice. This is not a passing trend, but rather a positive and needed evolution of the tourism industry. The winners of this year’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards exemplify how tourism, when planned and managed well, can be a tremendous opportunity to help safeguard our planet and deliver tangible benefits to local people.’ The

Tourism for Tomorrow winners underwent a rigorous four-step judging process by more than 20 independent judges from around the world, led by Costas Christ, a globally recognised expert in sustainable tourism. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organised in association with Travelport and the Travel Corporation’s Conservation Foundation. For further information about the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and the judging process, please visit: www.tourismfortomorrow.com

source: http://www.wttc.org/

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific supports the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environment Initiative, with its Sustainable Tourism programs and projects in the Philippines.  Environmental, Social,  Good Governance & Resilience Capacity building programs  & training include Disaster Preparedness & Management for both public and private local stakeholders/proponents. Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working towards green economy for the grass roots, in cooperation with Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and The Clean Blue Asia Pacific. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI.

Sustainable beaches, green economy in a blue world

Posted in Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Tourism, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Boracay's White Beach circa 80s and in 2009

I have been working for “beaches”, most of my tourism career for almost three decades in various resorts in the Philippines. I pioneered in Boracay Island managing a small resort when there was only a handful then. Then, rapid, unsustainable development and environmental degradation just burgeoned. It was fate that brought me back full circle to the eco-depleted island after twenty years and I decided to do my part to form The Boracay Initiative, if only to enlighten public and private stakeholders to preserve their invaluable source of tourism livelihood!

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

I also had a chance to visit Coron, Palawan an emerging tourist destination, and I foresaw that without a Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework, it will suffer the same destruction as Boracay. Thus, we also organized The Coron Initiative with Lead Advocate-NGO, Calamianes Cultural Conservation Network. Next, I was invited to home-province Negros Occidental, and visited marine conservation sites in Sagay’s Carbin Reef as well as Danjugan Island, where illegal fishing is rampant aside from mining threat. From then, I proposed The Negros Initiative, to set up a similar greening guideline for the province.

Museo Sang Bata Negros- Children's Museum on Marine Conservation in Sagay, Negros Occidental

Museo Sang Bata Negros- Children’s Museum on Marine Conservation in Sagay, Negros Occidental

With my hands-on knowledge and experience at Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Carbon Negative and Conservation Leader, I shared the best practices in Sustainability and protection of our ecosystems and heritage, while sharing it with the world.

At a recent UNEP conference (January 2012), 65 countries adopted the “Manila Declaration – Global Protection Agreement (GPA)” – to strengthen the protection of global marine environment from land-based activities, emphasizing coastal eco resources as a key factor in the shift to a green economy.  This GPA made in the Philippines is very relevant as its 7,107 islands are rapidly losing rich natural resources due to marine-related commercial activities, such as fisheries, inter-island transport, tourism, mining, etc. These massive businesses leave destruction and escalate environmental degradation, loss of vital coastal habitats, marine biodiversity and shore water quality as it did to Boracay Island, the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs for Philippine Tourism. If not sustainably planned, Coron, Palawan, the next vulnerable tourism hot-spot will follow suit.

Coastal and Mangroves Destruction, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Coastal and Mangroves Destruction, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources has implemented an Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program (ICRMP) and the Coral Triangle Initiative  (CTI) to “promote the sustainable development and ensure the long term productivity of coastal resources while providing social services, lessening poverty in coastal communities as well as delivering basic infrastructure.”

Our Sustainable Tourism frameworks are being implemented in Coron and West Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and Clean Blue Asia Sustainable Beach Management. These “Triple Bottom Line” initiatives are crucial for destination planning and development strategies towards the greening of tourism.  With the Manila Declaration’s commitment to develop policies to reduce and control wastewater, marine litter and pollution, the ICMP and CTI as guidelines, we will work towards a green economy for the Philippines, seeking green investments in tourism that can contribute to economically viable and robust growth, provide decent jobs, poverty alleviation and reduced environmental impacts. Our Capacity Building programs for cities and communities include Good Governance for LGUs, Waste Management, Resilience, and Disaster Prevention & Management among others. With our partner experts, we will work on SMEs in the tourism industry to reduce carbon footprint by switching to renewable energy sources and develop a network of most reliable eco responsible hotels and lodgings.

Coron Environmental Forum by The Coron Initiative, a public-private sector cooperation

Coron Environmental Forum by The Coron Initiative, a public-private sector cooperation

Our Sustainable Tourism initiatives in the Philippines require multi-sector cooperation and action. Indeed these include all of us to work towards a green economy!