Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society achieved another milestone when it was selected as the finalist of the “Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative” category of 2014 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards on the closing day of this year’s ITB Asia (Marina Bay Sands, Singapore). It was a double joy as Borneo Eco Tours – the founder company of BEST Society also emerged as winner in the “Best in Community Engagement and Development” category.

Each year, Wild Asia hosts the region’s premier get together for sustainable travel professionals, to share experiences and expertise to like-minded businesses and passionate individuals. The Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards began in 2006 aligned with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC), enabling local operators to gain international recognition and inspire the tourism industry through sharing their best practices. www.tourism.wildasia.org

Susan Soong, BEST Society vice chairman received the finalist award from Rika Jean-Francois of ITB/CSR and Gopinath at ITB Asia.

Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society first started out in 1995 as an environment program for Borneo Eco Tours when it organized a project to remove Salvinia molesta weeds from the Kelenanap oxbow lake which flows in the Kinabatangan River at Sukau. It soon extended to include environmental education program for the local schools children, water tanks and medical projects. A total of 65 acres of riverine land was also rehabilitated through BEST’s Kinabatangan Wildlife Corridor Rehabilitation Program (KWICORP).

In 2006, BEST Society decided to shift its focus to work on eradicating poverty through developing human capital, knowledge capital and business capital. This has resulted in more sustainable development projects like creating local entrepreneurs such as Mr Ronnie Onginjan, the manufacturer of Virgin Coconut Oil, Mr Somuil bin Mojiun, the owner of Tindakon Dazang longhouse lodge and 10 organic farmers in Sikuati. BEST Society and Borneo Eco Tours are currently providing expertise to develop a 20-beds Camp Lemaing community based ecotourism project in Kiau Nuluh, near Mt Kinabalu with the objective to provide employment opportunity to the local Dusun people and generate funds for community development.

On the award, Albert said that “being selected a Finalist doesn’t just make us a winner. It is not just about the RM1 million we have invested in various projects over the years, or about some RM536,000 (up to July 2014) donated by our sponsors but also the lives of those people all over Sabah who have benefited and have been transformed by these projects”.

Earlier this year, BEST Society was selected the Winner of the UNWTO Ulysses 2013 Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations category at Madrid, Spain.


Susan Soong (left) receiving the award

Susan Soong (left) receiving the Wild Asia 2014 finalist award

Group photo with other recipients of Wild Asia Award

Group photo with other recipients of the Wild Asia Award

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