Sustainable travel is becoming a popular trend worldwide, with 69% of travellers planning to travel in a way that doesn’t harm the environment in 2023.Thailand has been the talk of the town and over the years became a popular holiday destination in this regard.
The beautiful country known for its diverse natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, have been working hard to promote sustainable tourism and protect its delicate ecosystems.
A recent study by Expedia Group’s 2023 Traveller Value Index, found that South African travellers known for their keen interest in sustainable tourism, prioritise the sustainability of destinations and travel choices more than Americans.
With World Nature Conservation Day on July 28, Sadudee Sangnil, the Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in London, stressed how important it is to have a healthy environment for a healthy society.
“It has become even more important that countries respond to this need and recognise the importance of responsible tourism. It’s for this reason that Thailand has implemented several initiatives aimed at preserving its natural wonders while offering unique experiences,” says Sangnil.
To promote eco-tourism in Thailand, the Tourism Authority of Thailand hosts annual awards, recognising leading destinations.
Some of the notable sustainable and eco-conscious destinations in Thailand are:
The Sarojin, Khao Lak
This luxury boutique beach resort won the, Responsible Thailand Award 2022, in the hotel category. The Sarojin’s commitment to sustainability was acknowledged, particularly their ‘One Booking One Tree’ initiative, which plants at least one tree for every booking made.
The resort is situated on an 11km white sand beach, offering spectacular views of the Andaman Sea. The pristine beach and lush surroundings create a serene and zen atmosphere, attracting travellers across the world.
Big Blue Conservation on Ko Tao, Surat Thani
Ko Tao is an island known for its fascinating marine and coastal life, along with indigenous vegetation. Big Blue Conservation is an initiative dedicated to protecting the island’s delicate ecosystems and educating both locals and tourists about nature conservation.
The initiative collaborates with local diving schools and governmental efforts to minimise the impact on reefs. Visitors can participate in conservation courses, beach clean-ups and learn about marine research.
Laem Sak Community Tourism Enterprise
The Laem Sak Community Tourism Enterprise comprises ten villages with 400 members. This community-led initiative offers visitors the chance to explore and experience the local way of life in these charming fishing villages.
The primary goal is to protect marine and coastal resources while using community tourism to support local development. Additionally, the region captivates visitors with its natural beauty, providing breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea, limestone cliffs, and lush greenery.
Tourists can explore eco-friendly activities, such as sea kayaking through narrow channels and mangrove forests, while witnessing the diverse marine life through snorkeling and diving, and participating in beach clean-ups and conservation courses.
This combination of stunning landscapes, authentic local experiences, and dedication to sustainable tourism makes Laem Sak a sought-after destination for travellers looking to connect with nature, and enjoy local experiences.
Visitors can explore the 10 villages that make up the Laem Sak Community Tourism Enterprise and experience the local way of life. The village is home to charming fishing villages, hence, visitors can witness the traditional way of life of local fishermen.
“We look forward to welcoming South African travellers in various destinations in Thailand and encourage them to get involved in community-based tourism initiatives to continue the work of sustainable travel.
As a country, we will continue to implement a sustainability-first approach to tourism. We hope to inspire more people to come to an appreciation of their role as individual travellers in exploring our world in a way that is responsible and kind to both people and the planet,” Sangnil concludes.