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Thailand names Green Excellence tourism award winners

5A rehabilitation center for gibbons and a project that recruits visitors to conduct research on elephants were among this year’s winners of Thailand’s Green Excellence Awards, presented by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to those who promote and engage in environmentally conscious and sustainable tourism.

The winners were presented with their awards by Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya at the World Travel Market in London. The awards were launched seven years ago to honor those in the industry who are dedicated to the conservation of Thailand’s precious natural and cultural resources.

“We will retain a strong focus on catering to the continuing growing trend for green tourism, a holiday that compliments the environment and the local communities,” said Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The judging committee received a total of 91 nominations for awards in four categories and a statement from the committee said that competition was stiff.

The Gibbon Rehabilitation Center of Phuket won in the category of Animal Welfare. The smallest of the four species of apes, gibbons were nearly wiped out on the island resort when the center opened in 1992.  A decade later, the project had succeeded in establishing a small independent breeding population.

“Tourists need to appreciate that if they have their photo taken with a baby gibbon, its mother will have been shot. This commendable organization is both rescuing and rehabilitating gibbons, and trying to educate the public,’’ the judges said.

The Lamai Homestay/Guesthouse won in the Community Based Tourism category. Located in the northeastern province of Nakhorn Ratchasima, the guesthouse returns 75 percent of its profits to Lamai village, and provides every villager some income by allowing them to work on a rotating basis.

“The passion and enthusiasm of the owners of this guesthouse shone through. We all want to visit,” the judges said.

In the Nature, Marine and Heritage category the winner was Intrepid Travel, which allows travelers to see some of Thailand’s most attractive natural wonders using sustainable methods, including public transport. The agency also managesThe Intrepid Foundation to raise funds for local education, human rights, sustainable development and environmental protection projects.

In praising the agency, the judges said “Intrepid really go above and beyond what is expected of a responsible travel company.”

Finally, Global Visions International won in the Volunteering category. This Chiang Mai-based project runs an elephant rehabilitation and reintroduction to the wild program where volunteers assist in research and help mahouts in a range of activities. In addition, the volunteers participate in home stays with local tribe-people.

“This project works on so many levels, from the collection of data on elephants and on Thailand’s biodiversity, to providing revenue to a small Karen village, and helping the community to keep their culture and language alive,” the judges said.

Because the competition was so intense, the judges also gave special commendations to The Sarojin resort for Community Based Tourism, the Elephant Nature Park for Animal Welfare, and the Pure Blue Foundation for Nature, Marine and Heritage.

บทความอื่นๆของ thaiembdc.org

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