Exclusive Interview: Marit Miners, Misool Eco Resort.
Founded in 2004, the World Responsible Tourism Awards allow people the chance to celebrate the heroes and share the stories of the most exciting and enduring responsible tourism experiences in the world.
Misool Eco Resort just won the Silver Award for Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation.
The best contribution to wildlife conservation category is awarded to a tourism business or initiative that has had measurable success in preserving and managing habitat and wildlife species. The focus of best contribution to wildlife conservation is on holiday providers, whether tour operators, accommodations or conservation organisations, which have, through tourism, achieved measurable wildlife and/or habitat conservation objectives. Initiatives might include wildlife watching experiences, nature trails, places to stay or other holidays which otherwise benefit wildlife and habitats. The judges wanted integration of great holiday experiences with progressive and sustainable programmes in wildlife and habitat conservation, measures of success and ideas which could be adapted and developed by tourism providers around the world.
Misool is a world-class Resort and Conservation Centre located in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, in the heart of marine biodiverisity. The work of Misool and its non-profit, sister organization, Misool Baseftin, is synonymous with marine conservation and sustainable tourism. Built on the site of a former shark-finning camp, the resort creates transformative experiences in pristine nature.
Misool was founded on the clear understanding that the business’s primary asset would be the health and vitality of the marine ecosystem. With a group of committed individuals and maverick conservationists, the aim was to ensure the protection and growth of the region’s reef. Misool Baseftin, which was established in 2010, receives funding from some of the largest international foundations. The name Misool Baseftin means ‘Misool: we own it together’ in the local tribal language. The foundation maintains a broad approach to conservation, combining environmental, social, and educational elements. Misool is frequently cited as a paradigm within the industry and counts some of the leading voices in marine conservation as its advocates.
Misool’s mission is to safeguard the future of the most biodiverse reefs on Earth through the empowerment of local communities, providing a structure by which they are able to reclaim their traditional tenureship of reefs. Central to their mission the belief that sustainable tourism and community-based conservation are mutually beneficial. Their business, their foundation, and their community all share one common asset: a healthy, flourishing reef system.
We interviewed Marit Miners, Director of Sales and Marketing and Co-Founder of Misool Eco Resort to find out more.
Misool Eco Resort recently won a World Responsible Tourism Award. In 140 characters (a tweet) or less – why do you think you won such an important award?
Marine conservation is our business – our tourism operation is the vehicle that allows us to do the work we’re passionate about. We’re proud to be recognized for this.
What was the driver for creating Misool Eco Resort specifically – what gap does it fill?
Misool began as a conservation initiative to protect the world’s richest reefs. Rampant shark finning and destructive fishing were decimating the most biodiverse reefs on the planet, and we refused to stand by and watch it happen. We created a model in which the health of the reefs is the primary asset of our business, ensuring a long term and sustainable funding model.
Who is Misool Eco Resort primarily for?
Misool is for our guests, our community, our children, and your children. In a world full of rapidly degrading reefs, we hope that Misool will be an inspiring example of a flourishing marine ecosystem.
What difference does Misool Eco Resort want to make?
Misool’s mission is to safeguard the future of the most biodiverse reefs on Earth through the empowerment of local communities, providing a structure by which they are able to reclaim their traditional tenureship of reefs. We also hope to demonstrate to our peers in the travel industry that nature is a primary asset. When we protect nature, we protect our bottom line for today and tomorrow.
What are the barriers to making that difference?
In this specific niche sector of the tourism industry, little data exists to demonstrate why consumers make choices and we are yet to put a financial value on the overall sustainable tourism market in the marine tourism sector. This makes it easy for many operators to make excuses for cutting corners, focusing on a quick ROI rather than the long horizon.
Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?
We’re working with educators, researchers, industry leaders and core media to ensure that this data is developed and that it becomes a guide for the industry’s future.
Is the tourism sector doing enough to deliver a sustainable travel and tourism?
No. It’s surprising that responsible tourism is relegated to specialist slots at large industry events. Green destinations should be lauded as the gold standard, rather than mentioned as an exceptional case in a niche market.
This was an issue that was discussed at the recent WTM London event among others – how do we reach new audiences, integrate responsible tourism practice and ensure we are not just having conversations amongst ourselves?
How can people find out more about Misool Eco Resort?
We’d love people to support both Misool Eco Resort and our conservation foundation, Misool Baseftin, on social media. Links below.
We also send out quarterly newsletters too and anyone who would like to sign up for those should drop us a message via our social media accounts.
Check out our website for images, videos and info about how to visit us in Indonesia.
Who are your conservation heroes?
Who are our conservation heroes, you say? Well, aside from Misool’s incredible team of Rangers and field staff, we would like to put a huge shout out to Sylvia Earle and Jane Goodall, both of whom have inspired many of the Misool team and give us daily hope that we can protect nature for the enjoyment of future generations.