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MONEY-SPINNERS FOR A TOURISM BUSINESS: GO LOCAL, ENGAGE COMMUNITY AND TEST ECO SOLUTIONS

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Based on the speaker’s first-hand experience founding and running a multiple-award winning eco resort, Marc will make the case that it is profitable to employ only local people, let them run their own businesses, help the local community, and to embrace and test eco solutions such as rainwater collection, biological wastewater recycling and renewable power.

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MONEY-SPINNERS FOR A TOURISM BUSINESS: GO LOCAL, ENGAGE COMMUNITY AND TEST ECO SOLUTIONS

  1. 1. Go local, engage community, test eco solutions!
  2. 2. (LooLa Adventure Resort)
  3. 3. CSR with 3 target groups: orphanages, schools, and local village communities
  4. 4. Post-Aceh UNESCO-endorsed waste water processing, rainwater collection, & solar-power for daytime electricity !
  5. 5. 4 last years: TripAdvisor world top 1% family hotel ! 2013: world top 3 for Community Tourism Some of our awards
  6. 6. Our proudest moment: World # 1 responsible tourism operator!
  7. 7. Why the award for World’s best Eco resort? (point being: this stuff brings money in!) The modern definition of responsible tourism recognizes 4 components • The business brings benefits to the local community: materials sourced locally, LooLa’s staff is 100% local and receive significant PD, as well as the right to run their own (shop) business on & off site. The company furthermore spends close to 100 K per year on CSR/VIA in cooperation with its guests •Resource efficiency: by deciding not to offer air-con or hot showers (except in our 2 luxury eco villas), by collecting rainwater, and by running the whole resort and the new eco villas on sun power, we achieve a very low ecological footprint • Respect for natural environment: we have planted over 10 hectare of mangroves and trees and have a chemical-free insect control program • Transparent, inspirational and copyable solutions : all our solutions are open-source, we share successes and failures freely, others can copy what we do, and we hope they will!
  8. 8. How is Eco great for your bottom-line? Let’s go through the same criteria again: The business brings benefits to the local community: • using local staff is cheap & ensures site-loyalty and pride in work. • Letting staff run their own business makes them stakeholders rather than employees, and saves you painful accounting. • CSR should not be charity: your guests are happy to pay for it, so make it part of your business model! Resource efficiency: solar power pays itself back, rainwater collection systems and wastewater gardens are very economical, and so are chemical-free aniti-insect systems. As long as you are honest about your systems, guests love what you do, never complain if things don’t work, and come back with friends! • Respect for natural environment: again, build it in your programs (pretty easy to do) and guests will love you for it (= more business). • Transparent, inspirational and copyable solutions : sharing successes and failures freely buys you a great deal of goodwill, as well as wonderful partnerships with like-minded partners.
  9. 9. But what about these pesky local communities? Let’s go through the common complaints: Local communities can be ungrateful and have unrealistic expectations • sure they can be a pain in the neck … but not more so than any other community! • The answer is open discussions whereby everybody puts on the table what they would like, and you encourage and coach everyone to contribute solutions that benefit all. • This isn’t just necessary with developing communities, the Dutch have been doing this for centuries and consider it key to success. Local communities lack the education to run a tourism business We beg to differ: our staff has an average education of about Primary 4, but that didn’t stop them achieving world class! Let’s face it: local people know how to cook and how to clean and how to maintain things and how to offer great service. All you need to do is train them! • Local communities won’t get stuff done without supervision Again, we beg to differ. Empowering people and placing trust – under peer review! – in people buys you loyalty and local ownership. The difficulties are the same as with a first-country team, but they cost less!

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