The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Awards unveils the very best of Pacific-Asia tourism practices, as it “puts the spotlight to celebrate travel and tourism excellence and innovation revealed by the works and projects awarded” yearly. It aims to raise the standards of the tourism industry stakeholders in the region.
Big Lagoon El Nido Palawan
This year’s awards drew in 269 entries from 83 travel and tourism organizations and individuals around the world. Judged by a panel of experts, the PATA Awards recognize exceptional achievement in six categories: Marketing, Environment, Heritage and Culture, Education and Training, Marketing Media and Travel Journalism. The award ceremony will take place at the PATA Travel Mart this September 8, in Bangalore, India.
This year, El Nido Resorts won the PATA Gold Award for the Environmental Education Programme category, a distinction it garnered by rallying its partners and the local community—including schools and other groups—to support its training programs on sustainability and the protection of natural resources.
El Nido Resorts, an internationally acclaimed and multi-awarded sustainable resorts brand from the Philippines, has been operating responsibly in Northern Palawan for more than 30 years now. It has four eco island resorts, namely Miniloc Island Resort, Lagen Island Resort and Pangulasian Island Resort in El Nido, and Apulit Island Resort in Taytay, Palawan.
“This is as much of a win for the Philippines, as it is for the resorts,” Al Legaspi, president and CEO of El Nido Resorts remarked. “As the leading advocate of sustainable tourism in the Philippines, we have set a benchmark for other tourism related services to follow on how we not only operate responsibly, but also influence the community around us to live out how to be green,” he said.
“With our entry, ‘Be G.R.E.E.N. Beyond El Nido Resorts,’ we have gathered the entire El Nido community, from various schools, local boat operators, fisher folks, local government units, to our staff and our airline partner Island Transvoyager Inc., to go through the Be G.R.E.E.N. educational program which touches on biodiversity conservation, water conservation, energy conservation, ecological solid waste management, and environmental laws,” explains Mariglo Laririt, El Nido Resorts Director of Environment and Sustainability. “G.R.E.E.N.” stands for Guard, Respect, Educate, El Nido.
“This award is another boost to our group that we are doing things right in terms of responsible tourism and sustainability programs, practices and operations,” Al Legaspi adds.
El Nido Resorts has already previously won the prestigious PATA Gold Award twice—first in 2000, when it started its environmental education campaign among its staff, and next in 2011, for the Be G.R.E.E.N. (Guard, Respect, Educate, El Nido) program.
“We have been doing these practices with how we operate our resorts even before we started formally training our staff and operations team. It came to a point that we decided to organize the learning in modules so that it can be standardized,” shares Mariglo Laririt.
“Everyone, from the president of the company down to the gardener, goes through the same program,” Laririt adds. This was “one of El Nido Resorts’ strategies in carrying its Responsible Tourism policy for operating island resorts within a Protected Area.”
Further to the island resorts, the group launched its newest 325-hectare master planned eco-tourism estate development, Lio in El Nido, Palawan. Lio is a model for sustainable planning and development that will offer world-class hotel accommodations, commercial establishments, residential communities, and recreational facilities. Nestled within the natural landscape of El Nido, the tourism estate is envisioned to be a true model for inclusive growth, embodying the principles of sustainability pioneered by El Nido Resorts, and paving the way for increased interest in ecotourism.