TAT, Dasta partner to help communities

TAT, Dasta partner to help communities

Pilot tourism project promotes 5 areas

Mr Phiphat (centre), Mr Yuthasak (left) and Mr Thaweepong (right) at the MoU signing ceremony.
Mr Phiphat (centre), Mr Yuthasak (left) and Mr Thaweepong (right) at the MoU signing ceremony.

Two state tourism agencies formed a partnership to develop and promote community-based tourism (CBT) destinations.

On Monday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta) signed a memorandum of understanding for two years of cooperation.

Under the partnership, Dasta will develop potential local communities to offer new tourism products, while the TAT will be responsible for promoting the destinations to both local and international markets.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, who chaired the signing event, said tourist behaviour has changed from travelling in big cities with group tours to independent trips with less travel.

"We have to introduce new products that meet growing demand to stimulate length of stay and spending," Mr Phiphat said.

Initially, there are five communities ready to be CBT destinations next year: Thale Noi community in Phatthalung, Takien Tia in Chon Buri, Ban Laem in Suphan Buri, Ban Sanuan Nok in Buri Ram and Ban Sun Lom Joy in Chiang Mai.

When the project ends by 2021, the two groups anticipate there will 80 communities nationwide open to tourism.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the five pilot communities are capable of attracting visitors thanks to their unique identities and local way of life. The cooperation will help increase income by at least 15% for these communities, he said.

Mr Yuthasak said TAT also plans to select communities to present at global tourism trade shows like ITB Berlin, scheduled for March next year, to gain more recognition from the international market.

For the local market, TAT expects CBT will help increase the number of domestic trips to three per person per year, up from 2.8 trips.

Dasta director-general Thaweepong Wichaidit said 39 developed communities are ready to be considered for TAT's marketing plans next year.

"Activities, souvenirs and food are the key to generate more income for locals," Mr Thaweepong. "We have to help villages develop products by using their own resources and culture, and teach them how to use tourism to boost the economy in the long run."

The five communities have different characteristics that can be developed, such as eco-tourism in Thale Noi and coconut gardens in Takien Tia. There is a rich culture among the Hmong and Lisu ethnic groups at Ban Sun Lom Joy that can also attract tourists.

Tourists can experience the local lifestyle canalside in Ban Laem, which is the source of many traditional folk songs, and Isan culture via handicrafts at Ban Sanuan Nok.

Most tourists who visit these communities are Thais who are independent tourists and those from the government agencies and companies who come for their corporate social responsible projects, said Mr Thaweepong.

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