Thailand Wins Three PATA Awards 2012, All in Environment and Heritage Categories

Posted on April 26, 2012

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A community-based homestay project located in Sukhothai province was one of three PATA awards picked up by Thailand at the annual PATA conference held in Kuala Lumpur, April 19 to 21, 2012.

The “Ban Na Ton Chang Community” project won a PATA Gold Award in the Heritage category. The other two were the PATA Grand Award won by the Tourism Authority of Thailand for its environmental project, “7 Greens Concept” and another Gold Award won by the Organic Agriculture Project, Sukhothai Airport, in the Environment Ecotourism Category.

The awards were presented at a ceremony on April 21, 2012. Although the TAT and the Thai tourism industry often win awards for marketing campaigns, this is the first time that all PATA awards have been related to environmental and heritage projects and campaigns.

TAT Governor Mr Suraphon Svetasreni stated, “These awards clearly show that our environmental preservation strategy is working. It is also a great incentive for all of us in the Thai tourism industry to ensure that we balance economic and ecological progress in our future development plans.”

Further details on the three awards:

PATA Grand Award 2012 on Environment
7 Greens Concept
Tourism Authority of Thailand

The 7 Greens Concept aims to protect and preserve the environment and restore environmental quality by raising environmental awareness. By promoting increased Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it involves the active participation and support of all tourism stakeholders. These include state agencies involved in promoting tourism, private sector tourism operators and tourism-related service providers as well as public and non-governmental organizations, communities, media representatives and individual tourists, both Thai and foreign.

The 7 Greens Concept covers the sub-themes: Green Heart, Green Logistics, Green Attraction, Green Community, Green Activity, Green Service and Green Plus. It has been promoted at numerous TAT events nationwide including workshops, seminars and campaigns. The events have received extensive coverage across all forms of media.

The PATA Judging Committee’s comment: “The TAT has demonstrated its leadership in the development of a comprehensive environmental concept for sustainable, green tourism in Thailand. By co-ordinating between the government and private sectors, press and academic institutes, it has gained the endorsement of a significant number of internal and external parties. These are concrete ways to bring sustainable tourism to the travelling public, to ensure the long term protection of the environment, while also continuing to support the tourism industry.”

PATA Gold Award 2012 on Environment Ecotourism Project
Organic Agriculture Project, Sukhothai Airport
Tourism Authority of Thailand and Natural Rice Co., Ltd, Thailand

The Organic Agriculture Project at Sukhothai Airport was initiated in 2003 and has developed to cover over 150 acres with another 150 being anticipated over the next few years. Natural Rice is the owner of the project. It aims to promote agricultural practices for better health and to promote a respect for nature. The project produces organic rice, vegetables and fruits to supply companies such as Bangkok Airways, the Sukhothai Heritage Resort and Bangkok Air Catering. The project offers visitors a chance to experience first-hand the lives of millions of farmers who grow rice without chemicals, artificial colouring and genetically-modified organisms.

Various activities are available for visitors, from short half-day visits to three days of intensive training. Tourists can enjoy activities such as an overview presentation of the project, a ride on a farm truck with a local guide, lessons in cooking easy Thai dishes using local farm products, the early morning collection of duck eggs, riding buffalos the traditional way, working in the farm and doing craft work.

The PATA Judging Committee’s comment: “It is an excellent project. It achieves its purpose of raising awareness of environmental issues while increasing the number of visitors. The local community also benefits from better environmental practices as well as revenues from responsible tourism.”

PATA Gold Award 2012 on Heritage
Ban Na Ton Chang Community
Tourism Authority of Thailand

The Ban Na Thon Chan Community is located in Sukhothai province and was established more than 200 years ago. Most of the people are descendants from the ancient Lanna kingdom. The villagers here believe that “humans are a part of nature and, therefore, everything should go to maintain a balance between humans and nature.”

The villagers of Ban Na Ton Chan formed the Career Development Fund and Ban Na Ton Chan Homestay Tourism Community with participation in management by all villagers. The Ban Na Ton Chan Homestay Project has 20 member families and can accommodate up to 70 people.

The “Elephant Sanctuary” is a house providing safely and rehabilitation for tortured and neglected elephants. It is located around 2 km from the community. Villagers show tourists how to cook Thai food and provide knowledge on how to prepare herbs and vegetables grown locally.

All members of the Ban Na Ton Chan Homestay Group share the responsibility to take visitors to stay at their houses. The host family leads tours of the village. The benefits from the sales of products such as woven cloth and other items are divided equally among the members. All the members bring their products to store at the exhibition building of the community. The marketing department is in charge of selling them and dividing the profits among the members. Ten per cent of the income is deducted to be the costs of maintaining the environment and tourist attractions in the community. Some of the amount is spent on training to educate the members and the youth in the village about tourism, while the rest is kept as a common fund for communal affairs.

The PATA Judging Committee’s comment: “The Ban Na Ton Chan Community programme is a very noteworthy one from the standpoint of heritage.”

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Posted in: Bangkok