Awards praise for Harpenden travel company

PUBLISHED: 15:01 20 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

Julie Ions, client relationships manager (far right) receives the award

Julie Ions, client relationships manager (far right) receives the award

A CONSERVATION travel company has been highly commended in a category at The Responsible Tourism Awards. WOX (Way Out Experiences), which has offices in Harpenden, was recognised in the Best for Conservation of Wildlife and Habitat at the awards event in

A CONSERVATION travel company has been highly commended in a category at The Responsible Tourism Awards.

WOX (Way Out Experiences), which has offices in Harpenden, was recognised in the Best for Conservation of Wildlife and Habitat at the awards event in November which was sponsored by Virgin Holidays and organised by responsibletravel.com.

The company offers people the chance to volunteer with endangered species in Malaysia and Indonesia and its flagship programme, the Great Orangutan Project, is based in Harpenden.

The project, which is funded through volunteers purchasing trips through WOX, improves the lives of more than 250 orangutans in its care across various rescue and rehabilitation projects.

Between 25 and 40 per cent of the money taken from volunteers, which has amounted to well over £250,000 since 2006, is pumped straight back into orangutan conservation.

One of the project's biggest achievements to date has been a pioneering operation on 19-year-old male ape Aman to cure him of the cataracts which had blinded him in both eyes.

Guillaume Feldman, co-founder and conservation project director for WOX, said: "This award recognises the passion and work of all our staff, of all the volunteers who have given their time and money, and of our partners in the constructive work we have achieved together.

"To have reached conservation outcomes in such a responsible way demonstrates that tourism can evolve into a force for good, helping local people and the local environment. The responsibility belongs to all of us, and WOX provides a platform for all enlightened people to contribute to a vision for a sustainable future."

Justin Francis, founder of The Responsible Tourism Awards and managing director of responsibletravel.com, said: "In this, the sixth year of the awards, I have been particularly impressed to see that despite this year's recession, organisations continue to come up with innovative ideas around responsible tourism that ensure local communities and environments benefit from tourism as much as possible. The money may have dried out a little in the past year but the passion, ingenuity and creativity certainly hasn't."

If you are interested in taking part in Great Orangutan Project call 0845 371 3070 or visit www.orangutanproject.com

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