A member of the Wild Asia Fact Finder team Rick Gregory, who visited the Faasai Resort and Spa in August, said the objective of the awards is to encourage responsible practices in the tourism industry. He said the publicity and examples from the awards would give travelers an opportunity to distinguish between good operators and less responsible ones.
“Travelers are very intelligent, they know what they’re looking for, so nobody can just claim to be green, people have to see that a hotel is green.
Savvy tourists demand an eco-friendly environment, a feel for local traditions and a sense of satisfaction that comes from being a low-impact and well-informed visitor, not a detrimental intruder in a foreign locale,” Mr. Gregory said.
The Wild Asia team says there are four common practices that are found among responsible tourism operators.
- Commitment from the Top – Responsible tourism efforts must be part of the entire business strategy, this means that all parties – investors, owners and top management – are committed and clear in implementing its objectives.
- Getting staff on board – Effective practices are the result of a team effort, thus it is important to initiate green programmes and allocate time for these activities on and off the property.
- Defining, maintaining and improving performance – Sustainable tourism requires a thorough review of ongoing practices and periodic assessments to identify areas for continued improvement.
- Communicating your programme – Everyone from management to staff to guests should understand the efforts behind, and goals of, responsible tourism by effective communication methods.
The Wild Asia team is filming best practices at the places it visits and these will be placed on its own website. The winners of the Responsible Tourism Awards 2008 will be announced at a seminar on Responsible Tourism in November.
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