The travel industry’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 represents a golden opportunity for a reset and a refocus towards a more responsible and sustainable future.
One destination that is grabbing that opportunity with both hands is Thailand. It recognises that the tourists of today and tomorrow are keen to make a positive impact on the environments, societies and economies they set foot in.
Here are five ways Thailand is taking a responsible approach to tourism:
It’s important to be mindful of what we eat and the impact it has on the environment.
As such, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) encourages visitors to support independent farmers by dining at restaurants that use local ingredients.
We all know wildlife belongs to the wild, and TAT’s goal is for all wildlife to be able to enjoy their lives in their natural habitat. However, a proper management and system must be implemented carefully before returning them back.
Not to forget, many of the animals who were born in captivity do not have the survival skills.
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about Asian elephant tourism. In Thailand now, many activities harmful for elephants have been phased out at most tourism ventures, and many conservation awareness and actions are properly executed.
These include supporting quality elephant camps that meet stringent, proven welfare criteria and improve education rates rather than boycotting all elephant camps, and providing ongoing training for their mahouts.
TAT also supports camps that pay their staff a living wage and employ people from local villages.
3. Volunteer tourism
To get real Thai experience, these days many adventure seekers are prone to actively take part in volunteering.
For underprivileged communities or environments, there are heaps of exciting and rewarding volunteer opportunities available for tourists, depending on their interest.
These include English teaching, orphanage childcare, forestry conservation, gibbon rehabilitation, elephant conservation, clay house construction, sports coaching, beach conservation, and hilltribe teaching.
4. Community tourism
TAT has been working hard to promote community tourism across Thailand to preserve Thai identities.
In this digital age, we have seen traditions let go in many cultures for different reasons.
Perhaps the new generations do not see the point of continuing these traditions, or simply because they do not know enough about it?
5. Outdoor adventures
The Thai government has been doing annual seasonal closures of many attractions and national parks to preserve biodiversity and natural resources. Some examples are Maya Beach in the Phi Phi Islands and Similan Islands.
There are a number of major beaches and national parks in Thailand that are strictly no smoking zones, including Patong Beach (Phuket), Bo Phut (Ko Samui), Phra Ae in Krabi and Khlong Dao (Ko Lanta), Pattaya Beach and Tam Pang (Ko Si Chang), Phang-nga Ko Khai Nok and Ko Khai Nai (Ko Yao) and Sai Ri Beach (Chumphon).
TAT has also joined hands with conservation groups to do underwater garbage collection. Earlier this month, the ‘Phuket – Save the Sea Project’ took place at Kata Beach to promote the conservation of natural marine resources among all stakeholders, including tourists and dive operators, an effort to make Phuket one of the best dive destinations in Thailand.
Furthermore, TAT’s Sydney team, in collaboration with the Royal Thai Consulate in Sydney, are supporting ‘Project AWARE – Dive Against Debris’. Along with Friends of Chowder Bay (FOCB) divers, TAT is going to clean the beach and underwater at Chowder Bay in Mosman on 30 April 2021.
We all have the moral obligation to influence and generate awareness to our social surroundings about sustainability and responsible travel, but some things you hear or read could be un-whole.
To get the right story and idea, let us open our mind and dig a bit deeper into it. And from here, what we can do as travel professionals is promote and support responsible operators.
Would you like to learn more and get up to speed with Thailand’s new normal? Register for TAT’s online learning platform and become an Amazing Thailand Specialist.
You will also be able to access TAT’s webinar recordings about Thai food, sports tourism, health and wellness, luxury and romance, family travel and, of course, responsible travel.
We also know you miss networking and mingling with the industry, so don’t miss out on the Amazing Thailand Product Update.
Hear from over 20 Thai suppliers, airlines, accommodations and attractions, as well as gaining valuable destination and product updates from TAT and experience exquisite Thai culinary delights.
The event will be in hybrid format, with an in-person event to be held at Doltone House Hyde Park in Sydney on Thursday 20 May, which will also be broadcast live for those who would prefer to participate virtually.
Both versions of the event are being held from 11am to 4:30pm (AEST).
Enjoy networking, mingling and hearing all about TAT’s latest updates – and maybe even winning some exciting prizes!
Having been forced to postpone the event in 2020, the demand for this year’s program is higher than ever and, as such, expressions of interest are now open.
So, for those keen to attend the Amazing Thailand Product Update, go HERE.
Featured image source: iStock/Anna_Jedynak