YAANA Ventures, the operator of Anurak Community Lodge at Khao Sok National Park in southern Thailand, has been awarded the 2020 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Grand Award in the Sustainability category.The winners were announced during the online PATA Gold Awards presentation as part of Virtual PATA Travel Mart 2020, taking place September 23-27.
Twenty-three PATA Gold Awards were announced 24 September at the virtual awards ceremony. Three ‘best of the best’ Grand awards were given: one each for marketing, human capital development, and sustainability.
The climate change/sustainability category was judged on measures that create a low-carbon, sustainable future for the travel industry and engage local communities. Since opening in 2016, Anurak’s operation has been guided by an ethos of reduce, reuse and recycle. Anurak Community Lodge achieved Travelife Gold certification in 2019.
Guests and staff today are encouraged to save energy and water. Single-use plastic, Styrofoam and cardboard plates are banned. Plastic straws have been replaced with bamboo and metal ones. An onsite recycling station has been set up, along with a composting area. A grey water treatment filter system for laundry wastewater is in place. Water from that system is being used on the Rainforest Rising project, Anurak’s project to return two rai (3,226 sqm; 0.8 acres) of former palm oil plantation beside the lodge to indigenous lowland evergreen forest by 2023.
Commenting on the PATA award, Willem Niemeijer the CEO and founder of YAANA Ventures said he and his staff were “immensely proud to have received the Grand award…it shows that a commitment to people, planet and profit is the way forward in tourism business.” [Video statement here.]
Anurak Lodge manager George Newling-Ward added: “Here at Anurak we see the forest, the surrounding environment and natural habitats as the lifeblood of our community, hence all our efforts to preserve the local way of life and the abundant nature that surrounds us.”
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