Thailand’s Anurak Community Lodge wins global 2019 SKAL Sustainable Tourism Award

Thailand’s Anurak Community Lodge wins global 2019 SKAL Sustainable Tourism Award
The 20-key Anurak Community Lodge which opened in 2016 is situated in a forest setting on the edge of Khao Sok National Park
Published: 16 September 2019 - 1:15 p.m.
By: Priyanka Praveen
Anurak Community Lodge in southern Thailand has won the global 2019 SKAL Sustainable Tourism Award in the rural accommodation category.

The award was presented during the opening ceremony of the 80th SKAL World Congress on 15 September.

The 20-key Anurak Community Lodge which opened in 2016 is situated in a forest setting on the edge of Khao Sok National Park.

Willem Niemeijer, the CEO of YAANA Ventures which conceived, built and runs Anurak Community Lodge, said: “The award comes at a time when Anurak is working with our guests and Thailand’s Forest Restoration and Research Unit from Chiang Mai University on our ‘Rainforest Rising’ project. Our aim is to return a plantation of palm oil trees beside the lodge to full indigenous rainforest cover.”

Since its opening, Anurak has been guided by an ethos of reduce, reuse and recycle. Guests and staff are encouraged to save energy and water, while single-use plastic, styrofoam and cardboard plates are banned.

Plastic straws have been replaced with bamboo and metal ones. An onsite recycling station has been set up, along with a composting area. In addition to that, a grey water treatment filter system for laundry wastewater is in place. Water from that system is being used on the Rainforest Rising project.

In June, Anurak Community Lodge won the 2019 SKAL Asian Area Award – Environment Category. It was also selected by National Geographic Traveller (UK) to be part of its prestigious Earth Collection – a compilation of 36 ecolodges around the world that are leading by example in responsible tourism.

“All of us at Anurak are grateful to the SKAL judges for acknowledging our sustainable efforts,” said the lodge manager, George Newling-Ward. “It’s a particular joy to see guests join in and staff take the ideas home to implement in the community,” he said.

The lodge offers a range of ecotourism packages ranging from two to four nights here. Activities include hiking, rafting, kayaking, forest cooking, and boat trips on nearby Cheow Larn lake with is spectacular limestone cliffs rising sheer from the water’s surface.

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