John Evans review 5 Mar 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
If a special diet is required, take a card giving requirements in the local language. Take food supplies with you.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Not really apart from employment opportunities.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you for choosing us to take you to see Borneo’s Wildlife and Beaches, we are pleased that you rated your vacation as ‘very good’, and had exciting wildlife encounters. We are sorry to hear that you didn’t feel your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation. Whilst on vacation it may appear that the benefits are minimal, however by booking with us through Responsible Travel, you contributed in the following ways:
Yes, as you mentioned, tourism provides a lot of job opportunities in the areas you visit, and the local community directly benefits from your visit through the employment of the local guide, hotel staff and entrance fees to sites. We try to take our clients into areas that directly help the local communities there by supporting local trade and livelihoods, bringing economy to rural villages. As well as this, it benefits the local people to get a better cross cultural understanding between the local culture and visitor so that tourism can impact in a positive way. By interacting and contributing to local communities and projects we aim to minimize any negative impact tourism may have on the local environment.
Where possible, we focus on locally owned and managed accommodation, but of course this is not always possible in all of the locations of our tours. You stayed at Abai Jungle lodge which is an eco-lodge built by the villagers and today is run and operated by local people with all the food coming from the surrounding area, wherever possible.
Some of the accommodation on your vacation was within protected nature conservation reserves, for instance at Sepilok, Selingan, and Tiga Island Park. Tourism here contributes to maintaining natural environments and protecting rainforests and marine life from deforestation or destruction. You also visited Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre and the Sun Bear conservation center where money you’re your entrance fees is used to help protect and care for endangered and threatened wildlife in Borneo.
We give our guests the option to adopt and orphaned orangutan which provides money for medical care for the wildlife affected by burning rainforests for palm oil. And we offer a tree planting scheme in Abai with the locals at the village to help with reforestation.
One element of your vacation was to enjoy scuba diving in the beautiful reefs of the coast of Borneo. Through the efforts of Sabah Parks the islands off the coast of Kinabalu are under protection to preserve the unique flora & fauna and marine life which includes Tiga Island Park, a protected forest reserve covering 158 square kilometres of mostly ocean. As a result, reefs around Pulau Tiga island where you stayed are in excellent condition and attract divers from around the world. Without the regulations and protection in these areas the coral beds would be destroyed, there would be over population, over fishing and developments on the islands, instead accommodation is basic and made from wood with a low impact on the environment and tourism is limited in some areas of the parks.
You also visited The Turtle Island Park which is a safe haven for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles. Where you stayed was on the largest island of Selingan, which houses the park's headquarters, tourist accommodation and basic facilities, however the other two islands within the park are more for conservation activities which goes on behind the scenes and not for tourism.
We thank you for traveling to Borneo on vacation with us, and hope to welcome you back again sometime soon.