Best Practices at Borneo Eco Tours: Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Best Practices at Borneo Eco Tours: Sukau Rainforest Lodge

About Borneo Eco Tours


Borneo Eco Tours is a Malaysian ecotourism company that specializes in community and nature based tour packages. It follows ecotourism and sustainability standards by focusing on four key areas: Planning effective sustainability, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local communities, enhancing cultural heritage and reducing negative impacts to the environment.


In order to fulfill these requirements, Borneo Eco Tours together with its sister company, Sukau Rainforest Lodge, set up Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society, which supports environment and community projects on a non-profit basis by sharing Borneo Eco Tours’ business expertise and experience. All operations conducted by Borneo Eco Tours seek to strengthen conservation efforts, respect for local cultures and inclusion of local communities through education and cooperation. Furthermore, we pay strong attention to efficiency in using natural resources and to support locally produced goods that benefit the local communities as long as they do not threaten the environment or endangered species.


Sustainability Practices at Sukau Rainforest Lodge


One of our most successful projects following these ecotourism and sustainability principles is the multi international ecotourism award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge in Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia. Shortly after starting Borneo Eco Tours in 1991, founder and director Mr. Albert Teo found that “an eco-tour without a good eco-lodge is not complete.” Only four years later, Sukau Rainforest Lodge opened as a destination that provides great wildlife watching experience opportunities and demonstrates sustainable building and operating principles. The lodge is built on stilts made from Borneo hardwood species and is 100% self-sufficient. Harvested rainwater serves as source of water and solar energy is used to generate energy for hot showers in the lodge. Following the environmental codes of responsible tourism of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the PATA's Green Leaf program, the lodge’s green policies include thoughtful dealings with water, electricity, trash disposal, cleanliness and noise as well as education and local community participation.


In order to minimize the disturbing effects on the environment and wildlife, electric motors are used for river safari tours. Furthermore, the majority of the staff working at Sukau Rainforest Lodge is from the local Orang Sungai community. Borneo Eco Tours has thus created an overnight stay opportunity that is profitable yet contributing to the local community while conserving the environment. At the same time, Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers tourists an interpretive and interactive participatory experience and provides a spiritual communion with nature and culture.


One frequently held initiative is the Sukau Medical Camp organized by Borneo Eco Tours, Sukau Rainforest Lodge and BEST Society together with volunteers from various other organizations and foundations. Since the kick-off in 2001, altogether four medical camps were successfully conducted in the Kinabatangan area, providing locals with medical and dental check-ups as well as medicine. Among our supporters were professional health teams with doctors, pharmacists and dentists from Malaysian and overseas institutions, both private and governmental. As a result, about 1900 patients received consultation and treatment.


By donating RM 4.00 for every international guest staying overnight to BEST Society, Sukau Rainforest Lodge additionally supports all projects that are contributing to the environmental and social wellbeing of critical areas in Sabah. Between 1996 and 2013, the lodge raised RM 236,977.08 (21%) out of a total of RM 1,157,451.22 for BEST Society's various projects.


Awards and Recognitions


Since its establishment in 1995, Sukau Rainforest Lodge was nominated and won numerous awards recognizing its sustainability practices for the Kinabatangan area and the whole of Sabah. British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award winning, it was voted “Best Lodge in the Pacific Region” in 1997 and voted “Asia’s Leading Green Hotel” by the World Travel Awards in 2010. In 2013, Sabah Tourism Awards announced Sukau Rainforest Lodge as the winner of “Best Natural Lodge 2013”. In addition, it was voted finalist in the category “Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Accommodation Provider” by the 2013 Wildasia Responsible Tourism Awards.


Both our guests’ very positive feedback as well as the milestones we repeatedly achieve on our quest to conserve the environment and to empower local communities encourage us to keep doing what we are doing and to further improve by everything we do. The success story of Sukau Rainforest Lodge is an inspiration to all Borneo Eco Tours’ staff to continue to spread sustainable tourism all over Sabah, Malaysia and worldwide.


About TIES

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