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If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with a member of YAANA Ventures, please contact us through the below methods:

E-Mail: business@yaana-ventures.com

Telephone: +66 2591-5420

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Postal Address 33/2 Tiwanon Road 28
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Nonthaburi 11000 Thailand

Tourism Teachers Hold Ecotourism Hospitality Training Workshop in Southern Thailand

Tourism Teachers Hold Ecotourism Hospitality Training Workshop in Southern Thailand

The two-day event at Anurak Community Lodge gave valuable training in conservation and tourism hospitality to local service providers in Khao Sok National Park area

Workshop with a view: The Spirit of Hospitality training underway at Anurak Community Lodge in southern Thailand [Download these images and this press release in Word and Text format here.]

A leading Bangkok university delivered a series of hospitality skill building workshops to local tourism service providers in the ecotourism front line at Khao Sok national park, southern Thailand, 24-25 June.

The workshop was conducted by Assumption University’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The event, which took place at Anurak Community Lodge, was sponsored by YAANA Ventures, a Bangkok based sustainable tourism investor.

Twenty-two tour guides, front office personnel, housekeepers, waiters and back of house staff, all from local villages, and employed at Anurak, benefited from two days of “Spirit of Hospitality” training, which was led by project coordinator Dr Scott Smith from the university.

YAANA Ventures’ founder, Willem Niemeijer, said of the training: “Khao Sok boasts some of Thailand’s most stunning scenery and is home to incredible biodiversity. We therefore share the responsibility to ensure tourism is developed in a sustainable way, showing that it can make a positive contribution to conservation that involves and benefits the local community.”

Ahead of the workshop, Dr Smith prepared a service audit and worked with management and staff to develop a training program to meet the needs of the lodge. Most guests are visitors form Europe, the United States and Singapore. They typically want informed, zero-impact nature activities such as forest hiking and kayaking in the park. When back at the lodge they appreciate local Thai food and ambience in the Hornbill restaurant, which offers a dramatic view of the karst mountain landscape.

“Our objective was to identify opportunities to exceed customers’ expectations and create positive memory-making moments for all guests visiting Anurak Community Lodge,” said Dr Smith.

Anurak means “to conserve” in Thai language. Accordingly, Anurak Lodge operates as an eco-friendly retreat with 18 comfortable bungalow-style rooms. The lodge is a jump off point for tours and activities in Khao Sok National Park and to the nearby Cheow Lan Lake, one of the most visually stunning and bio-diverse areas in South Thailand.

Established in 1980, Khao Sok National Park conserves 739 square kilometres of forested hills in Surat Thani Province. The rainforest of Khao Sok National Park is one of the oldest in the world.

Anurak Community Lodge opened its doors in 2015 and is designed, built and operated sustainably. The lodge doesn’t use plastic water bottles. It is replacing mono-culture palm oil trees in its grounds with indigenous plant and tree species. Anurak Community Lodge is currently being assessed by a leading international environmental standards accrediting agency. An announcement will be made soon.

About Anurak Community Lodge
Anurak Lodge is an eco-friendly lodge with 18 comfortable rooms in bungalow-style located between Khao Sok and Khlong Phanom national parks. The location was chosen for its serenity and remoteness. There are no other resorts, hotels, restaurants and convenience stores within walking distance. The lodge, which opened in 2015, is for nature lovers. There are no televisions in the rooms and restaurant. The owners made a conscious decision not to have a swimming pool. The lodge is a jump off point for tours and activities into Khao Sok National Park and to the nearby Cheow Lan Lake, one of the most stunning areas in South Thailand. Further information:https://anuraklodge.com/anurak-lodge/
 
Anurak Community Lodge
14/1 Moo 4, Klong Sok,
Phanom District,
Surat Thani 84250, Thailand
Phone: (+66) 81 898 9271
Email: info@anuraklodge.com
 
Assumption University’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Dr Scott Smith
Email: scottsmith@au.edu
 
YAANA Ventures media queries
Ken Scott
ScottAsia Communications
Email: kens@scottasia.net
Mobile: (+44) [0] 7949 077959
 
Anchalee Sriwongsa
ScottAsia Communications
Tel: (+66) 91 806 0484
Email: ann@scottasia.net

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© COPYRIGHT 2018 YAANA VENTURES. ALL RIGHT RESERVED. DEVELOPED BY YAANA VENTURES MARKETING TEAM

UN Sustainable Development Goals Now Being Integrated into Students’ Educational Travel Programs in Asia

UN Sustainable Development Goals Now Being Integrated into Students’ Educational Travel Programs in Asia

[Download this image and this press release in Word & Text formats here]

Fourteen out of 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals have been integrated into student travel and community engagement experiences in six Asian countries offered by GROUND Asia.
 
The new move establishes direct structural links between each of GROUND Asia’s 50 educational journeys and specific UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).
 
For example, the Rural Business Development Study trip in Cambodia supports goals 1, 8, 9, 10, 11: poverty alleviation; decent work and economic growth; industry innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; and sustainable cities and communities.
 
The Physiotherapy in Vietnam student journey supports goal 3: good health and well-being.
 
Mangrove Protection in Bali supports goals 11 to 15: sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; and so on.
 
In the new SDG affiliation, GROUND Asia also clearly identifies learning outcomes that students can expect from each trip.
 
“GROUND Asia is now fully committed to delivering destination experiences that advance the UN’s SDG agenda,” says Lauren Groves, General Manager of Thailand-based GROUND Asia.
 
She adds: “The UN SDGs are not going to be achieved without the efforts of many individuals, companies, NGOs, and civic organisations around the world. So, as GROUND Asia is dedicated to the triple bottom line, we are doing what makes sense and committing to a wider, more noble set of goals through educational travel.”
 
Since 2015, GROUND Asia has worked with some of the most disadvantaged communities in Southeast Asia. These include people who are vulnerable or struggling with poverty, lack of access to services and infrastructure, and even the early adverse effects of climate change.
 
“The communities we work with stand to gain the most if we achieve UN goals, but will be negatively impacted, disproportionately, if we fail,” says Groves.
 
UN SDGs were the targets formulated by world leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York in 2015. The goals act as practical guide to developing a more sustainable and prosperous global society by 2030.
 
The 17 Goals and 169 targets address a broad range of topics including poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change. Each of the 169 targets has between one and three progress indicators. In total, 232 indicators will measure compliance.
 
The UN says that the identified goals cannot be achieved by governments alone. Extensive global collaboration across a broad range of stakeholders and institutions – including educational ones – are required to make progress.
 
To collaborate with institutional stakeholders, GROUND Asia says that each of its 50 educational journeys can be customised and combined with other activities to fit a group’s needs.
 
For further information on GROUND Asia’s student journeys that support the UN’s SDGs, visit GROUNDAsia.com  or email: contact@groundasia.com.

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Blazing Saddles: YAANA Corporate Challenge 2019 Announced

Blazing Saddles: YAANA Corporate Challenge 2019 Announced

Responsible businesses invited to join charity bike rides in Vietnam and Myanmar

Spokes people on the road for good causes (click image for video). The YAANA Corporate Challenge 2019 will help five local charities in Myanmar and Vietnam. [Download images and this press release in Word & Text versions here.]

YAANA Ventures, a sustainable tourism investment group based in Southeast Asia, will once again hold its corporate networking and fundraising bicycle tour, the YAANA Corporate Challenge (YCC). Expanding to two countries, the tours will take place in North Vietnam 18-20 October, and at Inle Lake, Myanmar 6-8 December, 2019.
 
Participants will experience a great work out, friendship and business networking while raising funds for charity.
 
Both events are open to senior management and leaders from any business or non-profit organisation. As corporate networking and fundraising events, both YCC events are based around sustainability, conservation, and highlighting the quality of outdoor travel in Vietnam and Myanmar.

All proceeds from the Vietnam tour will go to Operation Smile Vietnam and Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. While in Myanmar, it will be the Bagan Plastic Campaign, the Minzontaung Burmese Star Tortoise Centre and the Khiri Reach Water Well Project.

The inaugural YCC took place in 2017 with 18 riders cycling 226km from Quy Nhon to Hoi An in Vietnam. It raised US$25000 for Operation Smile, which funded 33 life-enhancing surgeries for children.

“Apart from fund raising, the 2019 YAANA Corporate Challenge will provide an energetic, life-affirming meeting of minds for business people and leaders,” says Group CFO of YAANA Ventures, Mark Remijan, who participated in the 2017 event.

Cyclists will need a moderate level of fitness as both tours cover 125 km in two days.

“It’s ideal for men and women who want to do good, network, get inspired, and enjoy a robust two-day workout in a beautiful setting,” says Remijan.

Day 1 at both YCC events feature dinner and a networking event with guest speaker and panel discussion. Day 2 is bike program and dinner event. Day 3 is bike program and closing.

Corporate sponsorship packages are available at US$5000 (three riders), US$3500 (two riders), and US$2000 (one rider). All packages include bicycles, full back-up support, rider jerseys, three-night hotel stays, meals and plenty of branding opportunities and publicity for participating companies.

Full sponsorship details are available here which also includes video highlights of the 2017 event so that 2019 participants can get a feel for what to expect. A YCC Q&A page is available here. Media coverage from the previous YCC is here.

Remijan says that apart from appealing to progressive organisation leaders, YCC is also seeking product sponsors who can donate goods in kind to support the event and defray costs. Support could include food, beverage, and hospitality gifts for the closing ceremony auction and raffle. Personal queries about YCC 2019 should be sent to business@yaana-ventures.com.

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An Ecobrick Revolution is Starting in Vietnam

An Ecobrick Revolution is Starting in Vietnam

A group of 80 environmentally-conscious locals gathered for an ecobrick workshiop in Hanoi 6 April. The workshop at UP Co-working Space’s Creative Lab was created by GROUND Asia in collaboration with Make It Happen. It was entitled ‘From Plastic to Ecobricks’.

Ecobricks are single-use plastic bottles filled with other single-use plastics. They are packed to a set density which allows them to be used to make modular furniture, garden spaces and even full-scale buildings.

Turning a negative into a positive: 80 volunteers work with GROUND Asia to turn single-use plastic into something useful. [Download these images and this release in Word & Text formats here]

The aim is to contain a lot of toxic plastic in a single bottle. This minimises the number of plastics ending up in rivers, landfill sites and the environment. These ecobricks are not new to Hanoi. Many people have been making them by filling single-use plastic bottles with plastic waste such as bags, polystyrene and food packaging, for a couple of years.

This event was unusual, however, in that it was the first time that many new and experienced ecobrickers got together and learnt the basic skills that are required to make strong ecobricks suitable for building safe and long-lasting structures.

The event was run by GROUND Asia, an educational travel company that focuses on transformational change for the students and communities that they work with.

“It’s important that young people realise they can take proactive steps to turn the tide of plastic,” said Jayni Gudka, Assistant General Manager of GROUND Asia. “The ecobrick workshop represents an innovative way of responding to environmental challenges.”

The motivation for creating the event came from the projects that GROUND Asia run with communities that are directly impacted by plastic pollution, mostly in dump sites and rivers across Asia, she said.

The ecobricks provide a solution by utilising plastics in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. Those made at this event will be used in a community kindergarten project in Mai Chau, 160km from Hanoi in northwest Vietnam. GROUND Asia has been bringing school and university groups to visit Mai Chau to help with infrastructure projects at this community for a number of years.

“It’s really important for us to share our knowledge and expertise on social and environmental issues beyond the educational trips that we organise for our groups,” said Ms Gudka.

“Workshops like these have a lasting impact on the cities and communities where we work. When we see young children coming out of the workshop more passionate about caring for their environment, we know that we are helping transform the community for the future.”

UP Coworking Space, who are keen to develop an environmentally-aware entrepreneurial ecosystem in Vietnam, hosted the event.

“In parallel to economic development for UP’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, we want to create a healthy and green working environment for our members,” said Ngô Thiên Ngân of UP Coworking Space. “We have organized numerous events promoting this new ‘art de vivre’. Our new partnership with GROUND Asia is a big step to realise the environmental goals that UP wants to reach this year,” she said.

For more information about these ecobrick events and projects, and to find out how to get involved, visit the GROUND Asia website or contact Jayni Gudka, Assistant General Manager of GROUND Asia at jayni@groundasia.com.

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