Round-up: Asian eco-travel news

WHAT’S buzzing in the world of eco-tourism lately? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Australia

Early last month I mentioned that the 20th Global Eco Asian-Pacific Tourism Conference is set to be held in Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia in mid-October. Representatives from all over Asia will attend the conference, run by Ecotourism Australia, an organization which provides Ecotourism Certification for the Australian eco-themed holiday industry. The organization also gives EcoGuide Certification, Climate Action Certification (which recognizes the efforts of all sectors in Australian tourism to reduce their carbon emissions), and Respecting Our Culture (ROC) Certification which works with Aboriginal Tourism Australia (ATA) in order to develop indigenous tourism within the country, while respecting cultural heritage.

But this conference is not just about Australia. It covers many areas of sustainable tourism projects throughout the Asia-Pacific region, some seeking collaboration with Australia.

From eTurbo News:

This year, representatives from the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia, Taiwan Ecotourism Society, Japan Ecotourism Society and countries including China, the Philippines, Nepal and Thailand will each provide an update on the major initiatives they have undertaken developing ecotourism in the past ten years, and their vision of where the tourism industry in their nation is headed in the next ten years to come.

Besides Asia-Pacific representatives, Global Eco will feature keynote speakers from places outside the region, such as the US, Canada, Ecuador and Belgium.

For more information on the conference visit the homepage for the 20th Global Eco Asian-Pacific Tourism Conference.

Puerto Princesa underground river, pic: Storm Crypt (Flickr CC)

Philippines

In other Asian eco-travel news, the Philippines is opening up for more sustainable tourism, with the provinces of Cebu and Bohol taking initiatives within the sector with a “business matching” session which took place in the city of Puerto Princesa, located on the island of Palawan.

From Inquirer News:

[…] they are promoting Puerto Princesa as a “city in the forest” and they hope to expand their promotions to Cebu and Bohol, which are established tourism destinations. Puerto Princesa, a known eco-tourism destination, has among its many tourist attractions the underground river which has been recently included in the seven natural wonders of the world. The five-day business matching and familiarization trip in Puerto Princesa City hosted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) was joined by 23 tour operators in Cebu and Bohol provinces.

The 8-km long underground river of Puerto Princesa has been named one of the New7Wonders of Nature.

India

The Indian State of Jamu and Kashmir is hosting a 3 day tourism festival to highlight the natural beauty of Yusmarg in Budgam district, located around 50km from the state capital of Srinagar. The local government is investing in order to develop the spot as an adventure, nature and eco-tourism destination.

From Scoop News (CC)

Yusmarg is being developed as a unique adventure tourist destination, activities like Zorbing, Mountain Biking, Bungee Jumping and Trampoline have already been started and the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Pahalgam has been approached to hold training camps at Yusmarg regularly to train the local youth and school children in different adventure tourism activities.  It was also informed that a Herbal Garden will be developed at Yusmarg through the Forest department.

Yusmarg, India, pic: FullyFunctnlPhil (Flickr CC)

Elsewhere in India – in the southern city of Chennai to be exact – tourists and locals may soon have the opportunity to ride in electric “eco cabs”, which can be powered by solar energy, plugged into an electricity source to charge their batteries or even pedalled. And since the cabs will not require registration like conventional taxis, they will be cheaper to operate.

They may also be cheaper for commuters. According to the cabs’ designer, M Sivaraj,”After the cab gets the clearance, we will try to get advertisements and make it free for commuters.”

Read more on in the Times of India.

Now for a pair of stories on Asia-Pacific eco-resorts, one in a holiday hub, the other on an island you may never have heard of.

Bali

First, check out this piece on an Australian couple who packed up and moved to the jungles of Bali to start a sustainable eco-lodge.

More than 70 per cent is home-grown and cooked in unrefined coconut oil. Local farmers supply chickens, ducks and eggs, while the resort’s water garden will soon yield freshwater fish. The water supply is from a spring near the edge of the property, and it creates a natural swimming pool, below which the waterfall provides the power. The bungalows are of coconut timber and bamboo in traditional style, one side open to the view across the terraces to the coast. Furnishings include antiques and traditional motifs; lighting is subdued to conserve power, but there are battery reading lights.

–The Australian

Indonesia

Finally we head to Batbitim Island, one of hundreds of islands that of the Raja Ampat chain in West Papua, Indonesia. This is a remote eco resort which is not so simple to arrive at, but what you get is true isolation. The Misool Eco Resort, according to the author, is the only place around where humans live.

Except for a few outlying buildings on the west side of the island, the resort is arrayed around a breathtaking lagoon that boasts a sumptuously alive reef just outside the individual guest villas that are built out over the aquamarine water. There are five thatch-roofed beachfront villas on the west side of the island and nine “water cottages” stilted out over the lagoon and “house reef” on the east. One can enjoy open-air baths, hammocks suspended over the water and magnificent vistas, but all in the context of sustainable luxury.

Batbitim Island sounds like a snorkeler’s paradise.

Read the entire article in the New York Times.

Misool Eco Resort, pic: ooh_food (Flickr CC)