The 3rd annual Myanmar Responsible Tourism Awards (MRTA) winners were announced on Friday, 6th December at the PARKROTYAL Hotel, Yangon. Organized by The Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute (MRTI) and presented in front of an audience of 250 key influencers, tourism industry stakeholders and decision makers, the awards identify and celebrate best responsible and sustainable tourism practice in Myanmar.
The evening started off with an opening speech by Ko Nyunt, Chairman of the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute (MRTI) followed by Achim Munz, Resident Representative, Hanns Seidel Foundation and a welcoming speech by James Htet Hein, Head of Marketing, SpeakUp Myanmar.
This year, MRTI awarded nine winners in eight different categories. Each applicant went through a shortlisting process. After this, shortlisted candidates were visited on-site by our assessors, who verified the claims made in their application and this was followed by an independent judging panel meeting, to identify the winners. The judging panel consisted of six community development and travel and tourism experts. The 2019 winners and runners-up are as follows:
1. Best Practice in Child Safe Tourism
Awarded to a business, organisation or to a community initiative with a strong commitment to protecting children from negative impacts of tourism and maximising the positive impacts of tourism for children. The tourism actor needs to inspire and provide examples of good practice to others raise awareness of child safe tourism among its stakeholders and proactively benefit local children.
Winner: Hotel Excelsior Yangon
Runner-up: Novotel Hotel Yangon Max
2. Best Responsible Start-Up in Tourism
Awarded to a Start-Up organization who has been operating less than 3 years and has responsible tourism at the heart of what they do and who not only demonstrates knowledge, educates, inspires to local communities and, but also shapes unique and meaningful experiences for visitors while conveying how to be a responsible traveller.
Winner: Sa Ba Street Food Tours Yangon
Runner-up: My Apex Travels & Tours
3. Best Practice in Carbon Footprint Reduction in Tourism
Awarded for strong commitment to climate change action on cutting Greenhouse Gas emission from tourism and maximising the positive impacts of tourism for climate change and carbon footprint. The winner needs to inspire and provide examples of good practice to others raise awareness of climate change and cutting carbon footprint among its stakeholders.
4. Best Responsible Community Involvement in Tourism
Awarded to an organisation or community initiative that is working to improve lives by creating opportunities to preserve and respect cultural heritage and traditions. Initiatives must be provided and explicitly designed to meet the needs and enhance the skills of the people and communities involved.
Winner: Green Season Travel
Runner-up: Travel with Me
5. Best Responsible Innovative Product Development
Awarded to an inspirational business that has created an innovative and inclusive tourism idea that makes good business sense.
Winner: Babylon Trekking and Camping
Runner-up: Lotus Garden
6. Best Responsible Tourism Awareness Raising Project
Awarded to a project that is raising awareness of responsible tourism, whether it is responsible tourism as a concept, or one aspect of responsible tourism that touches on one of our key criteria: social and economic benefits, benefits to cultural heritage, benefits to the environment, educates about responsible tourism, and/or encourages engagement in responsible tourism.
Winner: Thant Myanmar
7. Best Responsible Tour Operator
Awarded to a tour operator who has responsible tourism at the heart of what they do and who not only demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the places they visit, but also shapes unique and meaningful experiences for visitors while conveying how to be a responsible traveller.
Winner: Sampan Travel
Runner-up: Pro Niti Travel
8. Best Responsible Tourism Accommodation (Small)
Awarded to an accommodation provider with a strong commitment to protecting the environment and maximising social and economic benefits to the local community.
Winner: The Hotel – Kalaw Hill Lodge
Runner-up: Wa Ale Resort
9. Best Responsible Tourism Accommodation (Large)
Winner: Thingaha Hotel, Naypyitaw
Runner-up: Ngwe Saung Yacht Club & Resort
Congratulations to all the 2019 winners, runners-up and applicants.
In his closing speech, Ko Nyunt, Chairman added, “All of the MRTA 2019 winners and runner-ups can be extremely proud of themselves. I encourage the businesses that have been recognized as a model to continue their best practice and to share it with others in the industry broadly. Meaningful cooperation will help develop Myanmar tourism industry in a sustainable way, so resources will be available for future generations and Myanmar will be a country where people want to live, work and travel to.”
The organising committee of MRTI looks forward to holding the competition again next year.