Published on : Friday, July 12, 2019
Anurak Community Lodge in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand, has won the 2019 SKÅL Asian Area Award – Environment Category. The 20-key ecolodge received the unanimous vote of the judges at the 48th SKAL Asia Congress in Bangalore 28-30 June.
The award was presented 9 July in Bangkok by Andrew Wood, President of SKAL International, Bangkok, to Willem Niemeijer, the CEO of YAANA Ventures, which conceived, built and runs Anurak Community Lodge.
After presenting the award, Mr Wood said: “Willem and his team represent the very best of the tourism industry in Southeast Asia. They are passionate, trustworthy, both global and local — and entrepreneurs.”
He added: “It is with great pride that we have watched them build a dynamic organization that champions the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit – while preserving local culture and protecting the natural environment. Anurak Community Lodge is a great example of that commitment.”
Opened in 2016, the lodge acts a secluded nature hideaway and activities base for the nearby Khao Sok National Park. Set in six hectares of tropical gardens on the boundary of the park, Anurak offers 20 eco-friendly rooms across 12 well-appointed bungalows and two safari-style tents.
Guests engage in responsible minimal-impact tourism activities such as hiking, river kayaking, cycling, rafting, jungle cooking and exploring nearby Chiew Larn lake. The lodge offers a range of 3-4 day packages for visitors.
Anurak is currently working to replace an old oil palm plantation that would have once been lowland evergreen forest with indigenous flora. Located within the lodge’s boundaries, guests are invited to participate in the reforestation initiative.
At the lodge, single-use plastics such as bags, bottles and straws are banned. It has a recycling station, composting zone, and uses its grey water from the laundry on its vegetable and herb garden.
The lodge’s commitment to the environment and local traditions is explained in a video by its manager, George Newling-Ward.
SKAL Asia has over 2,500 members in 43 Clubs, 28 grouped in five national committees and 15 affiliated. The SKAL Asian area is the most diverse region in the world for SKAL, reaching from Guam in the Pacific Ocean more than 10,000 km to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean with clubs in 19 countries in between.