Thailand is advancing in its efforts to place more emphasis on community-based tourism in line with the Royal Thai Government’s national tourism development plan for 2016-2017.
This policy aligns with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ strategies to attract more ‘quality’ visitors to Thailand. The ‘Stability, Prosperity, and Sustainability Tourism Forum 2016’, held in Bangkok on 16 January, formed part of the many activities under the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to educate the industry and encourage greater participation in promoting community-based tourism.
About 230 travel and tourism operators, private and government organisations from all around the country attended the forum. In his opening address, H.E. General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, deputy prime minister of Thailand, provided a broad overview of the national social and development priorities, and lauded the role of tourism in fulfilling the targets and objectives. He pledged full government support for the industry.
H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, minister of tourism and sports, said: “Under the Royal Thai Government’s national tourism development plan for 2016-2017, we plan to disperse income to local communities nationwide as well as build a better quality of life for the local people, strengthening the communities, and promoting the preservation of Thai culture and traditions.
“All these will lead to the conservation of our natural resources and the sustainability of the country’s tourism industry as a whole.”
Hosted by the TAT Academy, the ‘Stability, Prosperity, and Sustainability Tourism Forum 2016’ was conducted to promote community-based tourism knowledge and to help various stakeholders identify new business opportunities. The event was also set to provide opportunities for participants to establish networks with the entrepreneurs who had successfully implemented a community-based tourism platform.
Dr. Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of TAT said, “Community-based tourism is a global trend. Today, travellers are in search for tourism products and services that take into account the environmental, economical, and social sustainability. This is a new aspect of tourism that TAT will be gearing toward for future tourism development of Thailand.
Some of the successfully developed and promoted community-based tourism products highlighted at the ‘Stability, Prosperity, and Sustainability Tourism Forum 2016’ included: the Bang Phlup Community, in Bang Khonthi district, Samut Songkram, which has successfully combined agriculture to create tourism stories and activities for tourists.
Also honoured were Ban Ko Klang resort, Mueang district; Hivesters website; Local Alike community tourism; Akha Ama Coffee; Maajaidum coconut flower whisky; and Mae TEETA organic textiles and fabrics.