MANILA - A posh tourist destination in Palawan, Philippines won this year's Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards - the first awards series of its kind in the region.
El Nido Resorts, a hotel complex built near a beach cove and surrounded by lush forests, won the "Mid to Small Accommodation" category at the Wild Asia awards program last October 28.
Other 2009 Responsible Tourism Award winners are the ITC Mughal in India for the "Large to Mid-Size Accommodation" category and the Sunderbans Jungle Camp also in India for the "Community-based to Homestay Operators" category.
The winners are suggested by "green travelers" around the world who have to rate a destination based on Wild Asia's Responsible Tourism checklists.
Responsible Tourism indicators include: employing 70% local staff and giving them good living conditions, serving regional food, building on locally-owned land, supporting local conservation projects, or having efficient energy consumption.
The Responsible Tourism Awards aims to "support the creation of sustainable destinations in Asia."
The El Nido resort, located about 438 kilometers southwest of Manila, was hailed for its environmental protection initiatives.
El Nido is a protected area, with over 800 fish species in coral reefs and 100 endemic bird species.
The resort reportedly has a sewage treatment plant facility in place that prevents waste water from the hotel from contaminating surrounding water systems.
It also holds tree-planting activities to protect surrounding watersheds and skills training for local communities in El Nido municipality.
The El Nido Resorts also offers a variety of nature activities for guests like kayaking, snorkeling, diving and outdoor dining.
Fully-furnished and upscale suites and cottages at the resort cost anywhere from P13,000 to P22,000 depending on the season.
The establishment has won other citations before, including the Best ASEAN Conservation Effort Award in 1995, and the PATA Green Leaf Award in 1997. El Nido was a finalist in last year's Responsible Tourism Awards for the "Mid-range category", but the Alila Manggis resort in East Bali won instead.
Wild Asia is an organization that works for environmental conservation by encouraging the region's businesses to adopt sustainable environmental practices. abs-cbnNEWS.com. Photo from www.elnidoresorts.com.