The Tourism Authority of Thailand was once again honoured to have Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand Ubolratana kindly present the 2012 Awards at a prestigious ceremony at the Thailand stand at World Travel Market
The Tourism Authority of Thailand was once again honoured to have Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand Ubolratana kindly present the Awards at a prestigious ceremony at the Thailand stand at World Travel Market, Tuesday 6th November.
Nature, Marine and Heritage - All Points East
Community Based Tourism - The Sarojin
Volunteering - Plan My Gap Year
Animal Welfase - Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation
Plan My Gap Year (www.planmygapyear.co.uk) offers volunteer teaching assistant programmes in Thailand.
The judges said: "For a relatively new company, they have got off to an impressive start. Unlike some competitive programmes, PMGY regularly visits the schools and learning centres, have ensured the programmes are sustainable long-term, and have committed to a consistent flow of volunteers through the year. PMGY really does have the interests of both schools in Thailand and its volunteers at heart. They ensure that volunteers are travelling to Thailand for the right reasons and can actually make a difference."
The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (www.helpingelephants.org) works to help all Thailand's elephants by rescuing elephants and their mahouts from the streets and giving them an income, by supporting other elephant projects and NGOs, by funding scientific research, and by running education programmes for mahouts, for hotel guests, and for schools.
The judges said, "The passion for elephants and for doing the right thing for them shines through. Not only is this Foundation working in a hands-on way with elephants, it also sees the big picture and so is supporting and ultimately influencing the future of all Thailand's elephants, both captive and wild.
The Sarojin (www.sarojin.com) set up the Sarojin Khao Lak Community fund following the tsunami in December 2004. Since then the fund has assisted a wide range of community projects from providing prosthetic limbs for children to sponsoring a full-time vet in the local village.
The judges said, "We are impressed by this hotel going above and beyond in its continuing support of local communities. They have made a significant difference to the area, and in sustainable ways. It is commendable that they offer their guests a range of experiences that benefit locals while also enriching the holiday of their clients."
Tour operator All Points East (www.allpointseast.com) is a family-run specialist with offices in Chaing Mai and the UK. Responsible travel is at the heart of what they do, stating it is a key element of their philosophy. Wherever possible (nearly 100% of the time), locally owned accommodation, local food, transport and guides are used.
The judges commented, "This company isn't just paying lip-service to the idea of sustainable travel; they live and breathe it. It was heartening to also receive nominations from the public for them, stating how they'd had a better and more-enriching holiday experience through travelling with this company."
Photo courtesy of ThaiSmile magazine
This year, the judges were also really impressed by Projects Abroad and Sandot Sukkaew of Tacome Pai Organic Farm.
The TAT Green UK Travel Awards are intended to highlight, and further promote, Thailand's dedication to the conservation of its country's precious natural and cultural resources and support sustainable tourism development in tandem with the growing concern we all have for our planet. "The awards recognise and celebrate TAT's partners in the travel and tourism industry who have made an outstanding contribution to growing Thailand as a sustainable destination" said Joanna Cooke, Consumer Marketing & PR Manager for TAT.
Chair of judges Lyn Hughes said, "We were delighted at the standard of entries. Judging took longer than anticipated as we were inspired by so many of the nominations, making it a challenging but enjoyable experience."