A few weeks ago Mariani, our operations Manager and I registered to attend a 3 day International Conference to be held at Sutera Harbour in town. It is the 8th Asia Pacific Conference (APECO) to be attended by over 200 delegates from 19 countries including Malaysia organised by Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA).

6 days  before the event, I was invited by the APECO organising chairman and Ian Hall from Arkitrek who was the lead facilitator, to be one of the speaker and facilitator for a pre-conference participatory workshop day. It was a last minute request but I had this in mind at the time, that when I was offered the task, it was something the speaker I was replacing would have missed sharing an inspirational eco business presentation for that day but an opportunity for me to show delegates from all over the world of the amazing work that I have been involved in from scratch with Camps in the last 6 years!

I took pride in accepting the challenge representing Camp Borneo and Camps as a whole from Ian to present not a flexible time but a Pecha Kucha (Japanese for chit-chat) which is a presentation style in which 20 inspirational slides are shown for 20 seconds each (six minutes and 40 seconds in total). The format keeps presentations concise and fast-paced and powerpoint slides should be set to advance automatically after 20seconds. I may have done hundreds of arrival briefings in country to date and should be easy peasy right? But mind you, this was going to be my first international public speaking event! I had so much challenges, problems and solving issues, amazing experiences and awesome stories with volunteers and communities we work alongside  with to tell over the years.  How was I able to chit chat about that with my over 6 year experience with Camps in just over 6 minutes?!  

All facilitators have been selected for their expertise in sustainable design, planning, standards, management systems, marketing and above all, passion and pioneering spirit. I had a nerve wrecking experience being excited and nervous at the same time for a couple of days but I was motivated to go out there to inspire and showcase knowledge in a series of Camps inspirational presentations.

The topic of my presentation was our company tag line ‰Ethical Journeys Without Compromise‰. I chose this topic because I believe that we are an ethical company in every sense of the word. Hand on heart that we do not compromise on safety where everything is risk assessed, not compromising our local culture and traditions but rather work to help conserve it.  We go the extra mile with our efforts and initiatives consistently with community engagements and much more.

During the presentation, I was able to let go of the notes I spent hours drafting and ended up speaking from the heart for delegates to understand how important it is to be a responsible operator/traveller, how it thought me to be a responsible individual caring for the people and the earth and how we, as a social enterprise balances profits with philanthophy and that we aim to be the world leading ethical enterprise.

During the conference,  international and inspiring keynote speakers focused on how ecotourism can add value to conservation, contribute to community, economic value to natural areas, nature tourism development and how design can add value to ecotourism development.

The 3-day event was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Tourism Malaysia, Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Sabah Tourism Board and MATTA.

All in all, it was a great experience being able to share that we are more then just a trip, sharing Camps stories, passion and how we go through every day of our Camps life and journey, ethically without compromise!

Group photo with Speakers/facilitators at the conference.