The “Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiatives” is available for NGOs, academic institutions, community campaigns, or associations. This award recognizes grass-roots initiatives championing responsible tourism within their destination.
BEST Society, which stands for Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies, supports rural communities in Malaysia’s Sabah establish and improve their own social enterprises, improving their quality of life through business. Moving away from charity, now the NGO focuses on capacity building in social entrepreneurship, and is increasing access to markets for cottage industry artisans.
Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) has a long history of working towards the creation of community based tourism programmes that have a positive impact in local communities. From Charity to Social Entrepreneurship is a successful attempt to move away from a charity mentality in the development world to one that empowers communities for the long term. The organization develops ecotourism projects with a social entrepreneurship approach that has increased the contribution of tourism as a tool for poverty alleviation in Malaysia. Stakeholders’ collaboration, capacity building, community development and environmental conservation are at the forefront of the BEST model.
“Developing social entrepreneurship is a long process. It has taken BEST Society 18 years to begin to see some concrete results. This is made possible with the continuous support from our partners and sponsors. The 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Award will inspire us, at BEST Society, to build a greater momentum in the years ahead on our future projects in Borneo. - Albert Teo, Chairman, BEST Society”