In just 2 years, Malaysia's Asia-centric travel channel and multi-platform content provider GoAsean has garnered numerous awards, claiming yet another win – its 19th to be exact – at the Portuguese ART&TUR International Tourism Film Festival for ‘The Eco Traveller’, an adventure show hosted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Ambassador Rovilson Fernandez. GoAsean Senior Vice President Edwin Raj and Vice President of Content Melvin Lew reveal why this original series stood out internationally among 314 entries.

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The Southeast Asia curiosity

What’s the secret behind the winning streak that's caught many of GoAsean’s original television series in the 2 years since this Asia-specific travel channel came about? GoAsean Senior Vice President Edwin Raj says a lot of it has to do with the subject matter: a surprising hit with regional and international audiences.

“Southeast Asia is an emerging market and people want to know what’s going on in the region.” Edwin says.

“People know about the Eiffel Tower and Machu Picchu, but what they don’t know is that there are Sakura trees in Thailand, a red dessert with sand dunes in Vietnam, and light beams in Malaysia that look similar to the Northern Lights in Canada and in Iceland.”

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Great scenery, smart hacks 

By Edwin's reasoning, creating an award-winning series starts with understanding your audience and producing content that meets their needs.

“We find a unique selling point and reposition it to our audience in a way that resonates with them. With ‘The Eco Traveller’, we noticed that the world is more eco-conscious than ever.”  

In a time when individuals and companies opt for more environment-friendly lifestyles, ‘The Eco Traveller’ hits right home with travellers who think about the safety of the places they visit.

“'The Eco Traveller’ is not just another travel show about beautiful destinations, it shares travel hacks that show people exactly how to be environmentally responsible while travelling.” Edwin says. 

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A passionate cast and crew, from production to the host

Melvin Lew is Head of Content at GoAsean. Like any practical creative type, Melvin insists that the people, and not just great-sounding ideas, are what make award-winning shows like ‘The Eco Traveller’ a success.

“Ideas and concepts are a dime a dozen, but none will materialise without the right people and a steadfast commitment to excellence.” Melvin says, crediting the show’s host Rovilson Fernandez, the production team in the Philippines and the producers on the Malaysian side for their dedicated effort on this show.

Edwin’s sentiments mirror that of Melvin’s as the former adds, “I thought we had a good chance to win the ART&TUR award with ‘The Eco Traveller’ because we have a passionate, talented team producing the series. A great idea without the right team is meaningless”.         

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A mission beyond the screen

Unsurprisingly, what happens on television profoundly impacts our world in reality. GoAsean’s shows, The Eco Traveller in particular, exist not only to entertain but to send out a positive message about eco-travel “without being preachy”, as Melvin puts it.  

“What we did with ‘The Eco Traveller’ was show people that they could visit these destinations with an eco-conscious approach. There’s a treasure trove of places to visit in the Philippines and it’s important that we know how to protect them for others to experience them in the future.” Edwin says.  

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World-class content, Southeast Asian focus

The ART&TUR award is GoAsean’s 19th award and The Eco Travellers’ 4th. Melvin says GoAsean has had one goal from the start: produce world class content. The ART&TUR International Tourism Film Festival was a platform with which to measure that goal. While showcasing the wonders of Southeast Asia is GoAsean’s focus, producing quality content that appeals to an international audience is their end-goal.

“Rovilson Fernandez is Filipino but brought up in California. We felt his journey would resonate with viewers both regionally and globally, not only by his unique perspective, but by how he could connect with locals without alienating foreign viewers. It’s not just down to his ethnicity and upbringing, he’s also truly invested in the message (being a WWF ambassador). We hope that shines through with viewers all over the world.”

‘The Eco Traveller’ and other GoAsean original series can be viewed on tonton, dimsum, Discovery Channel Asia, ABS-CBN and TVB as well as in-flight entertainment systems on 18 regional and international airlines. Visit www.goasean.com to find out more.  

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