Airbnb launched the Airbnb Green Stays Awards in Malaysia, a new awards initiative recognising sustainable travel accommodation in the country yesterday. With interstate travel restrictions officially lifted and domestic travel set to resume, the Awards are part of Airbnb’s ongoing efforts to help rebuild tourism in a more sustainable and inclusive way, in line with the Government’s strategies in the recent 12th Malaysia Plan.
In collaboration with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and the Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia (ECOMY), the inaugural Awards aim to recognize and celebrate small, local tourism accommodation providers in Malaysia that incorporate sustainable practices into their operations, based on local sustainability criteria developed with guidance from both partners.
Airbnb, GSTC and ECOMY will form the judging panel for the inaugural Awards. Nominations will be scored across a range of criteria, including use of green products, waste management, energy conservation, water conservation and biodiversity conservation.
Malaysian hospitality providers can now apply for the Awards from now until 24 October 2021 at airbnb.com/malaysiagreenstays. The Awards recipients will be announced in November this year.
All recipients of the Airbnb Green Stays Awards will be featured in Airbnb’s upcoming sustainable travel campaign, including a dedicated microsite promoting these Stays. Awardees will also have the opportunity to attend a tailored sustainability workshop and networking session with global experts, who will share best practices and localised inputs on how to further their sustainability practices in the long term.
Sustainable Travel On the Rise
Green, sustainable travel is gaining awareness amongst Malaysian travellers. According to Airbnb’s Meaningful Travel Trends Survey 2021* with global data analytics firm YouGov, which explored local travel preferences and behaviors amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
Over 60% of respondents said they often consider the environment and sustainability when choosing travel accommodations and destinations.
Being close to nature was the #1 criteria for respondents when deciding where to go, with more than half saying they desired slower-paced holidays in smaller groups, and travel to less crowded and off-the-beaten-path destinations
Rebuilding Malaysian Tourism with Sustainable Travel
In conjunction with the Awards launch, Airbnb held a virtual panel discussion titled ‘Rebuilding Malaysia Tourism with Sustainable Travel’ with renowned sustainability experts and advocates including Dr. Mihee Kang, Asia Pacific Director for GSTC; Andrew Sebastian, President & CEO of ECOMY; and Maya Karin, Malaysian actress and environmentalist. Syed Ahmad bin Syed Mustafa, Chief Operating Officer of the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Centre delivered the opening remarks.
Panelists discussed the importance of nurturing sustainable travel in Malaysia; the challenges involved in driving sustainable tourism locally; and how travellers, industry players and local communities can collectively rebuild a more responsible and environmentally conscious form of post-pandemic travel in Malaysia.
Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Airbnb, said: “Airbnb remains focused on playing a positive and proactive role in supporting domestic tourism recovery. We are committed to helping rebuild tourism in a way that benefits local communities throughout Malaysia, promotes eco-tourism and authentic cultural experiences, and drives economic recovery. Sustainability will play a crucial role in these efforts to rebuild travel, and we support the Government’s focus on sustainability as part of its strategies to re-energise tourism under the 12th Malaysia Plan. We know that Malaysians appreciate sustainable travel, and we aim to promote unique, environmentally friendly Stays and drive more consumer visibility and interest through these first-ever Awards."
Syed Ahmad bin Syed Mustafa, Chief Operating Officer, MGTC, shared: “The recent 12th Malaysia Plan and commitment to COP 2021 signal a move towards the country’s preparedness to progress its economy in a greener direction. The relaxation of lockdown measures now provides the tourism sector a chance to rejuvenate itself; and with the continued closure of international borders, it is wise for tourism industry players to re-strategise their marketing by incorporating sustainable practices. We need to strengthen our joint efforts toward a sustainable, just and inclusive recovery. I firmly believe this will significantly impact the development of sustainable tourism in Malaysia, based on the commitment of government and local tourism accommodation business support shown through the spirit of participation today.”
Dr. Mihee Kang, Director for Asia Pacific, GSTC, added: “As a global Airbnb partner, GSTC is pleased to be part of this joint effort to launch Airbnb’s first-ever green travel accommodation awards. The Green Stays Awards are an important milestone and a significant step towards defining standards for sustainable tourism in Malaysia and across the Asia Pacific region. The conversation on sustainable travel is one that all industry players should be part of, and it is particularly timely as we work to rejuvenate the tourism sector.”
Andrew Sebastian, President & CEO, ECOMY, said: “Sustainable tourism and conservation has been a core mission for ECOMY, and we are excited to be collaborating with Airbnb and GSTC to foster greater local awareness and education. As travel gradually resumes nationwide, we hope that these Awards will celebrate and uplift our small eco-friendly travel accommodation businesses, promote the adoption of green practices across Malaysia, and drive greener and more sustainable travel.”
To learn more about the Airbnb Green Stays Awards, visit airbnb.com/malaysiagreenstays.