EcoThailand has a firm belief in the future of Ecotourism, Agrotourism and Community Tourism in the Thai Gulf and believe them to be key to the environmental, community and financial well being of the area looking towards the future. The recent covid19 hit, and increasingly difficult travel costs and prospects for the leisure industry have had a negative impact on traditional mass tourism ventures and venues and has reinforced our viewpoint.
We have recently expanded our advice, workshop and MicroGrants into this area for local communities who also wish to develop their Eco and Community activities. We have now started working with communities at Khuntalai Lake and Koh Paluai, and continue with Phangan Community Garden and Raitiaviset Organic Farm, all of whom have community tourism interests. We consult with, and are developing projects with, Rajhaphat University.
What is eco and community tourism?
Ecotourism is now defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education” (TIES, 2015). Education is meant to be inclusive of both staff and guests.
Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.
- Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
- Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ environmental and social climates.
- Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
- Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.
Community-based tourism (or CBT) has many overlapping and common factors, as has agrotourism. CBT is part of responsible tourism, providing holidays that benefit both the traveller and the destination.
CBT is tourism owned or managed by the local community, with the aim that the community directly benefits from that tourism. An example could include a home stay run by the community in a rural location that normally wouldn’t attract many tourists.
It is all about treading lightly on homes and cultures, positive interactions between guests and their host countries, and a growing awareness of our impact on the well-being of the places where we take holidays. As an increasingly popular alternative to traditional mass market offerings, CBT essentially seeks to minimize the negative effects of tourism while empowering local people at a grassroots level and maintaining the environment for the benefit of both local people and visitors.
Should you wish to to discuss any aspect of community, agrotourism or ecotourism, please Contact Us.
Read the National Geographic article on Community based Tourism in Thailand