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We visit Singapore for World Savers Awards

By 1st Nov 2010 No Comments

Camp Jabulani was recently honoured with a highly coveted Conde Nast Traveler World Savers Award. Click here to read more. Ms Adine Roode (Camp Jabulani’s Managing Director) attended Conde Nast Traveler’s 4th annual World Savers Congress to receive this prestigious award.

We asked her to share her experience with us.

What were your impressions of Singapore? Have you been before? Was it what you expected?

I first visited Singapore with my family 15 years ago. At the time we stayed at the Raffles Hotel, which in itself hasn’t changed much. However the rest of Singapore is vastly different from how I remember it.

It is still one of the cleanest countries to visit, but word on the street is that the influx of new immigrants are not that ‘litter conscious’ and need to be trained in this regard.

Singapore has grown a lot since I was last there, which is something I definitely didn’t anticipate.

Highs and lows of the trip?

Lows –

There was constant haze hanging over the city from fires in Indonesia. Apparently burning of certain areas there occurs annually, and this results in significant air pollution.

I also feel that Singapore has lost some of its culture with all the new developments and buildings that have sprouted up, leaving it with a bit of a “Vegas” feeling.

Highs –

The clean airport and the MRT system, which is similar to the underground systems in the UK and US.

What were the most significant messages you took away with you from other winners? Did anyone in particular stand out for you? What did they win for?

Mainly that the general public (and even some travel partners) are still not committed to corporate social responsibility.

Klara Glowczewska (Conde Nast Traveler’s editor in chief) quoted Cate Blanchett, who said, “You have to ask yourself the big questions in life. You don’t always find the right answers, but it’s the approaching of them that is important.”

I intend to keep asking the big questions.

Willie Smits – the 2010 Environmental Award Winner – really made an impact on me.

A Dutch-born scientist and Indonesian national, he has combated deforestation by planting close to a million trees in North Sulawesi. Smits also runs a palm sugar business and an orangutan rescue foundation.

One of the biggest menaces to Indonesia’s forests is the world’s thirst for palm oil, which is used for everything from beauty products to biofuel. Indonesia is the largest supplier of palm oil, with plantations subsuming some 800,000 acres of forest every year. Key to stopping this destruction, Smits says, is the arenga sugar palm: The plant grows only in mixed forests, allowing other species to flourish. Smits’s factory uses every part of the tree to produce palm sugar, vinegar, palm juice, and even rum.

From listening to him speak, it was just brought home to me how inspirational it is to hear what other people are doing. We often have a tunnel vision when it comes to our lives and the daily challenges we face, but at the end of the day sharing really is caring.

Tell us a bit about your panel interview/discussion. What did you speak about? And was it well received?

I spoke about the fact that small resorts and hotels have long been on the cutting edge regarding wildlife protection and the fight against global warming.

I also speculated as to why is it that small resorts have been more successful than larger ones, and whether or not these methods would work if they were scaled up for the larger operations.

As a panel we discussed the economic viability of saving the planet while still growing your business.

On the whole talks were focused on the wastage problems we all face, and coming up with ideas to overcome them.

For a relatively small lodge like Camp Jabulani food wastage is not a problem, but for large hotel groups this is one of the biggest problems they face.

How do you feel this award has benefited Camp Jabulani?

It will contribute greatly to creating awareness for Camp Jabulani, but more importantly it will motivate us to continue with the work we have done over the past 21 years and to strive for even better results in the future.

Where was the ceremony held?

The awards were held at the Suntec Singapore Convention Centre, while the cocktails and dinner took place at the new Fullerton Bay Hotel which opened two months ago.

This was the first time that the World Savers Congress was held outside of New York.

Any other feedback for us?

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Hans Pfister from Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, Amy Carter James from Guludo Beach Lodge and Willie Smits (the 2010 Environmental Award Winner). They’re all doing amazing work, and it was an honour to spend time with them.

I’d also like to thank Klara Glowczewska, Jon Paul Buchmeyer and Dorinda Elliot at Conde Nast Traveler for acknowledging the travel industry. Their unwavering commitment to this cause has proved that it is indeed possible to effect positive change through the media. Together we can create awareness and solve global problems.

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