London – 4 November, 2014 Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya conferred Green Excellence Awards on two prominent Thai hotels and two civil society groups at an event held on 3 November, 2014, at the World Travel Market (WTM) 2014.
Launched in 2007 and held annually since then, the Thailand Green Excellence Awards UK are aimed at encouraging tourism that promotes the environment and contributes to social and cultural betterment. It is in line with the “balanced philosophy” of tourism advocated by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to ensure that economic benefits of tourism go hand in hand with environmental and cultural preservation.
This year’s judging panel comprised of Simon Pickup – ABTA, Sally Felton – The Travel Foundation, Mandy Nickerson – Consultant, Adrian Bridge – The Telegraph Media Group, Lyn Hughes – Wanderlust Travel Media. The four categories of awards are:
- Maritime, Nature and Heritage Nature, Marine and Heritage Tourism
- Community Based Tourism
- Animal Welfare
The award winners are as follows:
Maritime, Nature and Heritage Nature, Marine and Heritage Tourism award recipient: Soneva Kiri
SonevaKiri is a luxury resort that takes its carbon footprint seriously. It has raised USD $5.5 to date through a carbon levy on its rooms, has banned imported bottled water, and recycles the majority of its waste. Its sustainability projects have improved the lives of 150,000 people. The company is committed to leading the fight against climate change within the tourism sector. A coral restoration project has already attracted 62 species of fish, while its reforestation project has planted over half a million trees of 90 different species.
Community Based Tourism award recipient: The Sarojin
A luxury tourist resort that positively benefits many local lives, while offering authentic experiences to its guests. The Sarojin works in partnership with the local communities, and brings those communities and its guests together in a respectful and appreciative way.
Andaman Discoveries is a social enterprise that provides authentic community-based tours, study trips, and volunteering opportunities. It works with carefully selected local partners that provide essential care and services to disadvantaged children in Southern Thailand. Its partners include a school for disabled children, an orphanage, and a learning centre for Burmese children.
Animal Welfare award recipient: Soi Dog Foundation
Asia’s largest animal foundation working with domestic animals. It has now sterilised and vaccinated over 72,000 dogs and cats. As a result of its work, Phuket is officially rabies-free. It is working with the government on the illegal dog smuggling issue and on a new animal welfare bill.
The Thailand Green Excellence Awards were originally launched as a cooperative venture between the TAT London Office and responsibletravel.com, an online travel agent active in promoting green tourism. The Awards recognise tourism business operators including hotels and travel agents within the UK and Thailand, whose products and services help conserve tourism resources and sustainable development.
This concept is now being expanded to other countries in Europe. Germany was included for the first time in 2011.