Tourism Thailand announces winners of the 2012 Green Excellence Travel Awards UK

The Thailand Green Excellence Awards 2012 were announced yesterday by the Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT) UK.

TAT was once again honoured to have Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand Ubolratana kindly present the awards at a prestigious ceremony at the Thailand stand at World Travel Market 2012.

Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand Ubolratana presenting the 2012 Thailand Green Excellence Awards at World Travel Market.

The 2012 winners are:

Volunteering – Plan My Gap Year (tour operator).

Community Based Tourism – The Sarojin, a luxury hotel.

Maritime, Nature and Heritage – All Points East (tour operator).

Animal Welfare – Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.

The judges also awarded special Commendations to Projects Abroad and
Tacome Pai Organic Farm.

The awards were run on behalf of TAT by Wanderlust Travel Media.
Nominations were garnered from both consumers and the trade. The judges were Simon Pickup (ABTA), Salli Felton (The Travel Foundation), Adrian Bridge (The Daily Telegraph), Mandy Nickerson (travel consultant) and Lyn Hughes (Wanderlust).

Chair of judges Lyn Hughes said: “We were delighted at the standard of
entries. Judging took longer than anticipated as we were inspired by so many of the nominations, making it a challenging but enjoyable experience.”

The Winners

Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand Ubolratana with Green Award Winners

Plan My Gap Year (www.planmygapyear.co.uk) offers volunteer teaching
assistant programmes in Thailand.

The judges said:

“For a relatively new company, they have got off to an impressive start. Unlike some competitive programmes, PMGY regularly visits the schools and learning centres, have ensured the programmes are sustainable long-term, and have committed to a consistent flow of volunteers through the year. PMGY really does have the interests of both schools in Thailand and its volunteers at heart. They ensure that volunteers are travelling to Thailand for the right reasons and can actually make a difference.”

The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (www.helpingelephants.org) works to help all Thailand’s elephants by rescuing elephants and their mahouts from the streets and giving them an income, by supporting other elephant projects and NGOs, by funding scientific research, and by running education programmes for mahouts, for hotel guests, and for schools.

The judges said:

“The passion for elephants and for doing the right thing for them shines through. Not only is this Foundation working in a hands-on way with elephants, it also sees the big picture and so is supporting and ultimately influencing the future of all Thailand’s elephants, both captive and wild.”

The Sarojin (www.sarojin.com) was set up the Sarojin Khao Lak Community fund following the tsunami in December 2004. Since then the fund has assisted a wide range of community projects from providing prosthetic limbs for children to sponsoring a full-time vet in the local village.

The judges said:

“We are impressed by this hotel going above and beyond in its continuing support of local communities. They have made a significant difference to the area, and in sustainable ways. It is commendable that they offer their guests a range of experiences that benefit locals while also enriching the holiday of their clients.”

Tour operator All Points East (www.allpointseast.com) is a family-run
specialist with offices in Chiang Mai and the UK. Responsible travel is at the heart of what they do, stating it is a key element of their philosophy. Wherever possible (nearly 100% of the time), locally owned accommodation, local food, transport and guides are used.

The judges said:

“This company isn’t just paying lip-service to the idea
of sustainable travel; they live and breathe it. It was heartening to also receive nominations from the public for them, stating how they’d had a better and more-enriching holiday experience through travelling with this company.”

The Thailand Green Excellence Travel Awards UK 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 TAT’s partners in the travel and tourism industry who have made an outstanding contribution to growing Thailand as a sustainable destination,” said Joanna Cooke, Consumer Marketing & PR Manager for TAT.