SINGAPORE, 8 June 2017: Tourism operators in Southeast Asia who claim they are sustainable can prove it by entering the new ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Awards (ASTA), launched under the ASEAN’s Tourism Strategic Plan 2016 to 2025.
Twenty sustainable tourism winners – two from each ASEAN member state – will receive a package of benefits that will raise their business profile.
Winners will be highlighted on their national tourist office website and stand to gain exposure through NTO press conferences at trade shows such as ATF, TRAVEX, ITB and WTM.
In addition, winners will be highlighted on ASEAN’s website www.aseantourism.travel.
They will be invited on stage to receive a trophy and recognition during the sustainable tourism awards event, which will be part of the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Chiang Mai, January 2018.
No details were supplied on what constitutes a sustainable tour operator in a region that is chasing massive increases in tourist arrivals that critics say is achieved at the expense of quality.
Some of the key objectives of the awards are to boost the profile of sustainable tourism businesses in Southeast Asia, promote responsible tourism in all ASEAN countries, combat seasonality, and rebalance tourist flows towards best practice tourism experiences, said Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR director general of tourism marketing department, Sounh Manivong.
“The diversity and quality of ASEAN’s sustainable tourism options are amazing,” said Manivong. “The aim of the awards is to prove it — and encourage green tourism practitioners to keep doing a great job.”
The awards will take place every two years with a dedicated theme decided jointly by ASEAN NTOs. The inaugural awards 2017 to 2018, which are now open under the theme “nature-based tourism”.
Manivong said such a theme also applies to urban tourism businesses as they may include experiences such as cycling, educational visits to urban parks, walking tours, or tree planting.
Applications will be assessed by NTOs in the applicant’s country.
The deadline for submissions is 15 August. Results will be announced in December and the award ceremony will take place during ATF 2018 in January.