Recognition for Business that Promote Sustainable Marine Tourism
Recognition for Businesses that Link Communities to Sustainable Marine Tourism InitiativesPhoto: Winners' representatives during the awarding ceremony, (L-R) Frank Mizigi of the PNG Embassy in Jakarta representing Madang Resort Hotel, James Harvey of Reef World in behalf of Evolution Dive Resort, Patson Baea of Oravae Cottage, David McCann of Scuba Junkie, Chris Brown of Reef Seen, and Francisco Mesina of Dive Timor Lorosae. Standing next to them are CTI-CFF Regional Secretariat Executive Director Widi Pratikto and Coral Triangle Center Executive Director Rili Djohani.
Six businesses that link communities to sustainable marine tourism initiatives in the Coral Triangle countries have been selected at the 4th CTI-CFF Regional Business Forum on August 27-29, 2015 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia.This recognition affords an opportunity to profile the important contributions that entrepreneurs are making to realise the goals of the CTI-CFF in ensuring that marine resources in the region are sustainably managed. Profiling the work of these businesses in this way will help underscore the importance for the CTI-CFF to act as a vehicle to promote equitable resource management and forging robust and resilient local communities centered around sustainable marine tourism.The six businesses were chosen from 12 nominees submitted by various CTI-CFF Partners across the region. All nominees were then reviewed and scored by 7 judges representing CTI-CFF Regional Secretariat and organizers of the 4th CTI-CFF Regional Business Forum. They were reviewed according to the following criteria:
The winners are:
- Actively support the conservation of coastal areas, marine habitats, and marine wildlife
- Engage local government and empower communities regarding planning and decision making about sustainable marine tourism in their areas
- Support local enterprises to promote and develop sustainable products under fair trade principles. These products may include food and beverages, crafts, agricultural products, etc.
- Improve the quality of life in local communities by providing social, economic, and other opportunities
- Provide training for staff and communities to raise awareness of the special qualities and sensitivities of the local natural and cultural heritage
- Utilize energy efficient technology and innovative means to reduce waste generation therefore minimize negative impacts to the natural environment.
Reef Seen, started operating in Pemuteran West Bali in 1991 when the reefs of Pemuteran reached a critical state, damaged by dynamite fishing, the aquarium and live reef fish trades. Reef Seen’s owner, Chris Brown, started programs to protect coral reefs in the area by educating and working with fishers. Reef Seen has three ongoing projects to link sustainable marine tourism with the communities. First is the Reef Gardeners project which trains and creates jobs for young fishers to actively protect the coral reefs. Reef Gardeners, trained as PADI Rescue Divers, remove crown of thorns starfish and drupella snails, repair broken corals, monitor Biorock installations and maintain the Temple Garden. Second is the turtle project where the resort buys green, olive ridley and hawksbill turtle eggs and turtles caught in nets from local fishers who would otherwise eat or sell them. Hatchlings and adult turtles are released by the resort and fishers earn extra income from it. Third, the resort promotes Balinese traditional dancing by collaborating with the children of Pemuteran to carry on this beautiful tradition. Young girls and boys gather at Reef Seen Divers' Resort twice a week to train with the older, more experienced dancers training the younger, newer ones. Dance shows are offered to guests twice a week and proceeds go to support the children’s families and the local dance school.Scuba Junkie is based in Borneo Malaysia. A key part of all their environmental programs is their “Supporter Engagement” project, which is tailored to staff and local communities. These include presentations and talks on sharks, turtles, marine debris and dynamite fishing, designed to inspire local people about their surroundings and encourage them to take pride and care of their own environments. Scuba Junkie specifically target local children in their awareness raising activities and they conduct tailored workshops which meet curricular criteria in two local schools. They either go out to schools, or invite the schools to come to Mabul to do awareness activities with at their base – key examples of this are the Turtle Week and Shark Week activities. They also work with the stateless children in the nearby village on Mabul, children who would otherwise not receive formal education or learn about the environment upon which they rely for everything.With the support of the Sabah Wildlife Department and the District Officer of Semporna, they set up Mabul Island's first and only Marine Turtle Hatchery. Scuba Junkie runs a program that pays anyone from the local community who informs of the discovery of turtle eggs. The staff will log the date, number of eggs, species and other information, and safely relocate the eggs to the Mabul Turtle Hatchery until they are safely released into the sea.They conduct weekly beach clean ups with their guests. This has been a huge success and they have significantly decreased the amount of plastic on the beaches and along the tide line. Furthermore, their ecofriendly Mabul Beach Resort has been developed so that it has minimal negative impact on the local environment and communities of Mabul. They use renewable energy at the resort, with solar panels on the roof of all the buildings. They provide waste management facilities for the local community, catch rainwater for resort use and have state-of the art sewage systems providing freshwater and fertiliser for the plants in the resort. They provide free water refills to encourage less plastic bottle use and use biodegradable cleaning products at the resort.Madang Resort Hotel promotes sustainable management of natural resources in Madang, but also throughout Papua New Guinea with their operation of the Melanesian Tourist Services providing as well as promoting, community based tourism, hospitality services and tours around Madang Province, the Sepik river, and around Bismarck Sea Provinces in PNG. Madang Resort Hotel is currently known as the most popular tourist destination in PNG. The hotel promotes packages the options of destination and tour sites and locations, which takes guests to local sites/villages, the atolls, the beautiful snorkeling sites, and bird watching, to name a few. The company promotes sustainable management of marine and forest resources by the local communities to foster community tourism as a sustainable development agenda. Most of all it promotes connections with local resource owners and community tourism operators and make the link to promote tourism to local and rural communities so that tourists enjoy the natural beauty of the environment in Madang and PNG.Evolution operates from Malapascua in Cebu, Philippines. They have incorporated the concept of sustainability into the core of their business operations, as evidenced by their involvement in local conservation initiatives and setting an excellent precedent for environmental diving to other dive operators on the island. Evolution’s owners helped set up the Malapascua Marine Protection Fund to offset the lack of resources available from the local government to address local environmental issues. This fund is paid into by their customers and has expanded to accept donation from almost all other dive operations on the island, and many tourism-‐related businesses. It now funds three (3) patrol boats and 14 sea wardens to patrol local marine protected areas.Evolution has organized several mass clean up efforts and donated money, labour, and provided boats for these clean ups. They also have made efforts to reduce their plastic waste by banning all use of plastic straws in their operation, not only raising awareness of the issue of marine debris. Evolution also helped in the installation and maintenance of mooring buoys to lessen the impact of direct diver damage to reefs whilst observing the Pelagic Thresher Sharks at Monad Shoal, Malapascua’s premier dive site. Evolution was the first to install lines to indicate viewing areas and prevent any further damage to reef cleaning stations. After typhoon Haiyan devastated Malapascua Island, Evolution undertook huge efforts to raise money for the local community. Through donations they were able to rebuild the homes of over 100 families, contribute to an upcoming medical center on Malapascua, provide food, medicine and water to hundreds of people in the weeks after the storm and contribute to the rebuilding of the Elementary school. They were also able to provide flushing toilets with appropriate triple chambered leaching septic tanks to 500 people who had never had access to a toilet in their lives.Oravae Cottages has been operating for almost 20 years and has successfully integrated sustainable marine tourism practices within the Western Provinces in the Solomon Islands. Oravae, which operates three cottages that overlook the pristine coral waters of Sepo Island, is a registered eco-lodge through international accreditation and is an active member of several local community and national marine conservation committees, including the Gizo Marine Conservation Council and the Solomon Island Visitors Bureau.Their main focus has been to create and protect the marine environment while operating as a tourism business. The resort’s owners, Naomi and Patson Baea have done this through linking a community based marine conservation management to their business. This has been mostly achieved through the establishment of creating a Locally Managed Marine Area (LMA)) area around their premises where there is no fishing or collecting of any marine life. They do not use the marine resources for personal or business use, except as a destination to conduct activities such as snorkeling, swimming or diving. The no collection or fishing is enforced through community based rangers, where the owners work with the local communities to enforce their no fishing or collection policies. They have recently been part of a national government initiative working with WWF to establish a Marine Protected Area. This would allow them to have the legal rights to protect this area. Oravae also relies on solar power and tank water and provide a low environmental impact. They are looking into creating a more sustainable waste systemSome of their current activities include coral and clam farming, as a means to increase marine biodiversity, create sanctuary for fish and marine life. They provide awareness talks at their resort and to neighboring villages on the connections to the terrestrial and marine environment and hold regular dialogues with the local communities in developing more sustainable and environmental farming, forestry and agricultural practices. They support the local economy by buying local food and also work hard to source food that is grown sustainably, and with best environmental practices.They also provide employment opportunities and teach their staff about the value of protecting the environment. They work with the Ghizo Island School board to provide educational activities to the school children teaching them that the marine environments can be an education and viewing platform, not just for harvesting through classroom discussion and snorkeling trip excursions.Dive Timor Lorosae was established in 2002 and is one of the first dive shops in Timor-Leste. Since then, the company has grown into a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center offering various technical and professional training while striving to set up and maintain a high standard for scuba diving, training and tourism. The company collaborates with local organizations to organize regular beach clean ups and raise awareness about marine debris and to mark World Oceans Day and Coral Triangle Day. Dive Timor Lorosae also works with conservation organizations, such as Conservation International and NOAA, to help in underwater scientific expeditions and monitoring. As one of the few dive shops in the country, the business provides employment to Timorese and help raise their awareness about the importance of sustaining and protecting marine life for future generations.