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IRTA 2017 Silver Winner, Best Responsible Tourism Property
The Aqua Terra Alternative Lifestyle Initiative (Atali) is an activotel with stunning views of the Ganga, a destination which combines smart accommodation with safe adventure. They source locally, have used local stone to construct the property, minimise water consumption, carefully manage waste, employ only from the Indian Himalaya regions, contribute to local schools and provide pre-arrival guidelines for guests to avoid any embarrassment caused by behaviour, dress or conduct.
IRTA 2019 Silver Winner, Best Adventure
Expeditions India offers high-quality expedition backed with rigorous safety standards, operating on the Ganga with intentionally small group sizes and a high staff to guest ration, average group size for day trips is five and for multi-day trips, eight. All their multi-day trips are expedition style, camping on river beaches with a strict leave no trace set of operational practices. The judges were particularly impressed by their closed-door policy in May and June. Until there is more regulation in place, they recognise that running Ganga trips at the height of the season would make both harm nature and deny their clients the experience of the Ganga that Expeditions India cherishes. They launched a Paddle Safe India campaign and offer a significantly discounted rate to women for their Beginners Kayak session each year.
The Goat Village
IRTA 2019 Gold Winner, Best Earth Friendly
The Goat Village at Nag Tibba is one of three developed by the Green People blending Eco-Tourism, Agro-Tourism and Rural-Tourism to bring sustainable economic development by reviving old traditional forms of farming and bridging the gap between urban and rural India through tourism. This development of 10 Garhwali cottages, at the 2000m midpoint on the trek to Nagtibba, has used a thousand-year-old architectural technique called ‘Koti Banal’ to minimise earthquake damage. The buildings are of mud, cow dung, wood and stone, there is no electricity by design they use candles, kerosene and solar lamps. There is no swimming pool by guests can use the mud pool when there is water enough to have created mud. Guests have to trek 2.3km from the 9km off-road jeep drop off point. If you want to get there, you have to walk or use a mule. Showers work on the BYOB principle, BringYour Own Bucket, no more than half a bucket once per day. The Green People are uncompromising is the application of green “earth-friendly” principles, They have an inflexible policy on plastic and litter – if you bring it, you have to carry it out. The Goat Village is an example of a rural development initiative using tourism and not compromising its earth-friendly principles.
WRTA 2019 Benefitting Local People
www.grppl.in, www.thegoatvillage.com, www.bakrichhap.com
Green People and Bakri Chhap Natural Himalayan Produce have worked together to create Goat Villages in Uttarakhand, in the Himalaya. Devastating floods in 2013 and the lure of an urban life led to rapid migration away from these high altitude farms. In just three years 109 community-run homestays have been developed and free computer education has been provided to village children in the Jaunpur region of Tehri Garhwal. Bakri Chhap Natural Himalayan Produce has begun to revive the local goat based farming economy, they have vaccinated 5,000+ goats and are working directly with 120 farms and more than 500 farmers indirectly across 35+ villages. The organic produce is sold to luxury hotels such as Ananda, Vana, Jaypee, JW Marriott, Leela, Crowne Plaza, a few up-market superstores, wellness experts, food critics and the guests coming to The Goat Villages.
IRTA 2019 'One to Watch', Best Earth Friendly
Established only in May 2017 the judges recognised this new stylish ecologically responsible resort built of local materials by local artisans, with adventure and nature activities, as one to watch.
The Corbett Foundation
IRTA 2020 Silver Winner, Best for Wildlife Conservation Project
The judges recognised the success of the Foundation’s comprehensive landscape-level conservation project with the involvement of local communities. This holistic approach to tiger conservation in Bandhavgarh Sanjay Dubri Corridor (BSDC) in Madhya Pradesh has delivered for wildlife and local communities. Over 18 months 83 hectares of degraded forest land has been restored with removal of invasive weeds and plantation of over 41,900 saplings of local tree species. 1257 energy-efficient stoves provided in 17 villages to reduce the firewood usage by around 40% when compared with traditional chulah used in rural households. 22 solar-powered pumps were installed and waterholes created in corridor forests for the benefit of wild animals. 779 open wells in 21 villages were fenced to prevent animals from falling into them. 117 unemployed youths (male and female) were provided vocational training in sewing-tailoring, bamboo handicraft-making and basic hospitality and placements were found for them. 324 frontline forest department staff were trained and equipped to the same standard as in tiger reserves. 122 medical and first-aid kits to these chowkies located deep inside forests and where access to primary healthcare is often very difficult. A Tribal Museum will open shortly to promote tribal art, culture and tourism. 7 resident tigers and 15 resident leopards have been identified in the corridor study area.
Devalsari Paryavaran Sanrakshan awam Tekniki Vikas Samiti
IRTA 2020 'One to Watch', Best for Wildlife Conservation Project
The Devalsari Environment Protection and Technology Development Society was set up to promote conservation and livelihoods through ecotourism and beekeeping in Uttarakhand. In 2014 the Society began to engage the local community at Chiana Khud where five local Van Panchayats meet to protect the forest and plant new trees. The local communities are now burning LPG, the tree cover is restored, the water catchment is restored and the biodiversity has returned. The area has become a “hotspot for butterfly watchers” and it has been recognised as a growth area for birdwatchers. The judges recognised their success with this project and the traditional wall beehive project for which it has trained over 4,500 farmers across Uttarakhand. The Society, run entirely by volunteers, has attracted over 1,500 visitors. The judges are concerned that insufficient management is in place to protect the Chiana Khud Tilti Park and would welcome another application when steps have been taken to avoid potential degradation by tourism.
IRTA 2020 Silver Winner, Best Homestay
Located close to Corbett National Park in the Kumaon region Sunando Sen built his family home there to live close to nature and wildlife with a light carbon footprint and help in the preservation of the rich biodiversity of the Corbett landscape. The family later realised that they could benefit the local community by employing and involving them in it and by opening the eyes of more people to the magic of nature, hopefully making them pro-conservation & sustainable travel. They have created four full-time posts and a livelihood for Bharat who grows vegetables organically, raises free-range chicken for eggs and meat and has two cows for Tanhau’s dairy product needs. Tanhau helped Bharat with the initial capital to get this going, and now he has a good steady income.
Eco Harrymans Homestay, Ramnagar, Nainital
IRTA 2020 'One to Watch', Best Homestay
A family-owned and operated homestay with a communal kitchen for hoists and guests. They actively engage their guests with an Experiential Learning Program (ELP) for schools and colleges, annual events like Spring Bird Festival, Titli Utsav (Butterfly Festival), in collaboration with Titli Trust and a small museum which includes a board of pugmarks of animals to spark interest and a number of birdhouses which are decorative and serve as homes for the birds visiting our campus.