Responsible Thailand Awards 2018: The winners announced Responsible Thailand Awards 2018: The winners announced

They champion local communities, conserve wildlife, and protect Thailand’s beautiful landscapes – and they’re the winners of this year’s Responsible Thailand Awards. Find out the results here…
09 November 2018

The Responsible Thailand Awards aim to highlight, and further promote, Thailand’s dedication to the conservation of its country’s precious natural and cultural resources and support sustainable tourism development in tandem with the growing concern we all have for our planet.

The awards recognise and celebrate organisations in the travel and tourism industry who have made an outstanding contribution to growing Thailand as a sustainable destination. We can now reveal the results…

Marine, Nature & Heritage

Winners of the Marine, Nature and Heritage category

Winner: Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach

Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach is a family-friendly resort located on a beautiful, secluded beach. In collaboration with the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) it has created the Merlin Butterfly Sanctuary, with over 30 species of butterfly. It also works with the IUCN and Sea Bees Diving to conserve the restore the unique reef ecosystem in front of the hotel, and is involved in the Mangroves for the Future Project. The hotel employs fulltime conservation experts and educates its guests in awareness of environmental issues and how they can help.

Judges’ comments: “It’s refreshing to see a hotel think beyond the care of guests, but also proactively work on conservation of the local environment. The partnership with the IUCN is taken seriously, and the hotel clearly takes pride in the innovative work it is doing.”

Contact: Pim Manasakul (pim.m@marriott.com)

Animal Welfare

Winners of the Animal Welfare category

Winner: Elephant Nature Park

Elephant Nature Park rescues and rehabilitates victims of the tourism and trekking industry, and educates tourists on their plight. As well as its own centre it is working in collaboration with communities and other projects to promote ethical elephant experiences.

Judges’ comments: “It’s heartening to see the journey that this organisation has taken. It has championed the welfare of elephants and campaigned for better lives for them. It is doing a fantastic job of educating both locals and visitors that there is a better way to treat these magnificent creatures.”

Community-Based Tourism

Winners of the Community-Based Tourism category

Runner-up: The Sarojin

Winner: Mahouts Elephant Foundation

Mahouts elephant foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of Asian elephants. It works on the ground to develop sustainable, welfare focused tourist experiences supporting the needs and livelihoods of the indigenous mahouts, their families and local communities, together with the needs of the elephants.

Judges’ comments: “It’s encouraging to see an organization combining elephant welfare and habitat conservation with benefits to communities too. Furthermore, it is offering visitors to Thailand a unique and exceptional experience. A model solution which deserves to grow and flourish.”

Contact: Sarah Blaine (sarah@mahouts.org)

Eco-Lodge/ Eco-Hotel

Winners of the Eco-Lodge/ Eco-Hotel category

Winner: Elephant Hills

Elephant Hills are Thailand’s first luxury tented camps. They offer nature safaris in and around Khao Sok National Park. Activities include ethical elephant experiences, kayaking, walking and boat trips.

Judges’ comments: “Elephant Hills is fully committed to sustainability and is a model for how a luxury travel experience can also educate and conserve.”

Contact: Chris Kaiser (chris@elephanthills.com)



How the winners are picked

Find out the rest of the results, including the winners of the Hotel and Green Steps categories here.

In August we asked Wanderlust readers and the travel trade to nominate the Thailand-based organisations they felt deserved recognition for their work across six categories: Marine, Nature and Heritage; Animal Welfare; Community-Based Tourism; Eco-Lodge/ Eco-Hotel; Hotel; and Green Steps. Organisations could also nominate themselves. 

The criteria for judging include the sustainability of the projects/organisations, their demonstrable successes, and the legacy benefits for both Thailand and international visitors.

The difficult task of picking the winners fell to the judging panel: Clare Jenkinson (ABTA), Martin Symington (Travel Journalist), Julie Middleton (The Travel Foundation), Derek Moore (AITO) and Lyn Hughes (Editor-in-chief Wanderlust Travel Media).

After much deliberation, the results were revealed at the World Travel Market in London in November 2018.

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