In 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 2013 awards
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 4th November.
Nature, Marine and Heritage - Intrepid Travel
Community Based Tourism - Lamai homestay
Volunteering - Global Vision International (GVI), Chiang Mai Province
Animal Welfase - Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre
Moved by the plight of the endangered Asian elephant, GVI Thailand (www.gvi.co.uk/location/chiang-mai) runs an elephant reintroduction conservation programme where volunteers conduct research on the elephants and assist local mahouts with a range of projects.
The judges said: "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."
For 15 years, the Lamai Homestay (www.thailandhomestay.com) in rural Isaan in north-east Thailand has been feeding 75% of its revenue back in to the community. The homestay, which is owned and operated by villager Lamai Ormnok White, allows every member of the community an income - staff work on a rotary system - and they are constantly striving for new ways to benefit local communities.
The judges said, "The passion and enthusiasm of the owners of this guesthouse shone through. They have introduced a number of travellers to this little-visited region over the years. We all want to visit!"
Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Siriwatana Bhanawadee presenting the 2013 awards
Providing small-group adventure tours led by local tour leaders, Intrepid Travel (www.intrepidtravel.com/thailand) offers travellers the opportunity to experience the best of Thailand's natural wonders and cultural heritage in a sustainable way. Intrepid was born in Thailand and their passion and enthusiasm for supporting local businesses and charities is inspiring. They use traditional accommodation and public transport where possible and actively educate travellers on responsible travel.
The judges said, "Intrepid really go above and beyond what is expected of a responsible travel company. It is committed to supporting local communities while showcasing the best that Thailand has to offer. Outstanding."
With more than half of Thailand's gibbon population wiped out in the last 30 years, the future of the white-handed gibbon looked bleak until the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (www.gibbonproject.org) was set up in 1992. A division of the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand (WARF), the centre has worked to rescue white-handed gibbons from the pet and tourism industry and rehabilitate them back into their natural habitat.
The judges commented, "Tourists need to appreciate that if they have their photo taken with a baby gibbon, its mother will have been shot. This commendable organisation is both rescuing and rehabilitating gibbons, and trying to educate the public. We hope this award will give them some much needed publicity and morale support."
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."