Bathing an elephant in Thailand (Elephant Hills)
News Words : Wanderlust team | 06 November

Thailand Green Excellence Awards 2017: The results

They champion local communities, conserve wildlife, and protect Thailand’s beautiful landscapes – and they’re the winners of this year’s Thailand Green Excellence Awards

Each year, the Thailand Green Excellence Awards highlight Thailand's dedication to the conservation of its natural and cultural resources, and support sustainable tourism development. The 2017 winners are:

Animal Welfare category

Elephants are free to roam (Elephant Hills)

Elephants are free to roam (Elephant Hills)

This category is designed to reward those places that genuinely care about animals and put their welfare first.

Winner: Elephant Hills

Thailand's first luxury tented camps, Elephant Hills, prove that elephants can be an integral part of the country's tourism without being ridden or kept in unnatural conditions. This is their fourth year as winners of the Animal Welfare category.

Judges' comments: "Still leading the way in ethical elephant practises, not just in Thailand but worldwide. Thailand's only elephant camp which is completely chain-free."

Community-based tourism

Ban Muang hill tribe (Dreamstime)

Ban Muang hill tribe (Dreamstime)

Community-based tourism gives local people an income that can be fairly distributed, and helps them preserve their area and way of life.

Winner: G Adventures

G Adventures works to educate remote hill-tribe communities in sustainable development, hospitality and literacy, so they can be better adapted to tourism for future visits from travellers.

Judges' comments: "This organisation's initiatives go far beyond a PR exercise or list-ticking. It's a shining example to other international tour operators."

Eco Lodge/Hotel

Aerial view of the luxury camp (Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp)

Aerial view of the luxury camp (Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp)

The judges look for hotels that, regardless of size, go well beyond the basics (such as recycling) and can prove they are making a positive difference to Thailand.

Winner: Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp, Khao Sok National Park

One of the world's only floating luxury tented camps, this also has a strong claim to be one of the greenest. Its unique waste management system has zero impact on the park, and it generates its own energy by solar and wind power. It also has wildlife monitoring projects and supports local schools.

Judges' comments: "Head and shoulders above the other nominations, thanks to its passionate ethos, and holistic, sustainable approach."

Marine

Fish cruise along with a turtle (Mai Khao Turtle Foundation)

Fish cruise along with a turtle (Mai Khao Turtle Foundation)

The judges are looking for a project, organisation or other body which is actively targeting marine conservation issues or animal welfare.

Winner: Mai Khao Turtle Foundation

The foundation helps both to conserve endangered turtles which nest on Mai Khao beach, and educate visitors and local people about them and the challenges they face.

Judges' comments: "This is a great example of corporate/non-profit collaboration, and a role model on how such a partnership can work."

Runner-up: Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort

Hotel

Yao Noi Resort, Thailand (Basil Childers)

Yao Noi Resort, Thailand (Basil Childers)

This category is designed for hotels which are improving their sustainability. This category does not consider hotels which are already known for their green credentials.

Winners: The Six Senses Hotels - Samui and Yao Noi

These two Six Senses hotels offer Thai farm experiences through their initiative, Farm on the Hill - an organic food-producing garden. Plastic straws are also banned, replaced by lemongrass straws.

Judges' comments: The judges were impressed by "the awareness, sustainable initiatives and community outreach of the hotels."

Green Steps

Rural landscape in Thailand (Dreamstime)

Rural landscape in Thailand (Dreamstime)

The judges are looking for a tourism-related organisation which has recently made steps, however modest, towards introducing a sustainable travel policy.

Winner: Layana Resort & Spa, Koh Lanta

Among its list of initiatives, the resort has restored a pier to help support the local fishing industry. It has also contributed computers to a local school, planted 1,600 square metres of land with coconuts, and constructed its own water storage reservoir to support the resort and community.

Judges' comments: "The resort has some great examples of new initiatives which are benefiting both local communities and the resort's guests."

For more information about the Thailand Green Awards or this years' results visit GreenThailand.co.uk