Why sell green? Ecotourism means visitors engaging with the culture and environment of the country, and hopefully a deeper connection means they’ll book again.
How to get involved Connect with the community ~ The Thailand Community Based Tourism Project (CBT) is a European Union- funded initiative has a number of villages under its website. Guests have the opportunity to learn about the community and the environment through fun activities like jungle trekking, traditional fishing, natural dying and cooking local dishes, lead by local community guides. These include jungle trekking, traditional fishing, natural dying, learning to cook local dishes.
Where? ~ One of many, the Mae Kampong Eco Tourism Village is 50 km from Chiang Mai. Visitors can visit the local herb garden, do the Flight of the Gibbon zipline or shop for handicrafts. Or the Ko Yao Noi Muslim fishing
village off Phuket. www.cbt-i.org
Interact with an elephant Using elephants for tourism helps pay for the upkeep of domesticated animals once they’re no use for the logging industry.
Where? ~ The government-backed National Elephant Institute at Lampang near Chiang Mai www.thailandelephant.org
and hotels Anantara Golden Triangle www.anantara.com
and Four Seasons Tented Camp www.fourseasons.com
offer such opportunities as does the Maesa Elephant Camp, which also puts on shows. www.maesaelephantcamp.com
Get involved in the Royal Projects Introduced by the King of Thailand 40 years ago, the Royal projects support communities which formerly relied on opium crops, helping them grow rice, tea, roses and spices as an alternative.
As Thailand welcomes more and more visitors every year, more is being done to try and minimise the impact of tourism, and to make sure that the environment and culture of Thailand is preserved
Where? ~ Situated in Thailand’s North they make a good focus for treks.
Stay in an eco-friendly hotel See Green Leaf Foundation (below) for more, but here’s just two examples:
• Golden Buddha Beach Resort - the only resort located on an uninhabited 10km beach on the island of Koh Phra Thong in the Andaman islands, has a reforestation programme.
• Tongsai Bay, Koh Samui promotes education on green issues with its Low Carbon School.
Seek out the sustainable The Green Leaf Foundation ~ A classification system which grades hotels according to their environmental resources and efficiency. Be sure you’re booking a green hotel by picking from their directory. www.greenleafthai.org
Green Fins ~ lists environmentally aware dive companies. www.greenfins-thailand.org
“Elephant trekking in Chaing Mai
had such an impact on me, I would recommend it to singles, couples, families and even our mature clients. As well as being enjoyable, it’s a reminder that holidays should be more than a hotel and a beach, and we need to protect our planet. But this message wasn't pushed, we just took everything in and appreciated the elephants and their surroundings. I couldn't let any of my clients go to Thailand and not experience this tour!”
BILL LOW TRAVEL MANAGER, PARK TRAVEL
TAT Green Awards Now in its fourth year, the Green Awards, sponsored by Responsibletravel.com
are held at WTM to celebrate Thailand’s commitment to a green future - here are some of last year's winners:
Best Small Hotel ~ Faasai Resort and Spa is a 15-room eco-resort in Kung Wiman, Chanthaburi, set in forests, overlooking mangroves and beaches. Its projects include developing a wetlands area, and acting as a wildlife sanctuary and birdwatching haven.
Best Large Hotel ~ Evason Phuket and Six Senses Spa practises energy efficiency, water and waste management, social commitment, protecting its surroundings, air quality and noise control.
Best Tour Operator ~ Andaman Discoveries offers eco and cultural tours, educational programmess, interactive handicraft workshops, and volunteer placements.
Clockwise from main picture: Meeting the elephants up north; green surroundings at Santhiya Resort, Phuket; Butterfly Resort Chiang Mai
Thailand Guide 2011 17
BMI PUBLISHING/EMMA NORTON
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