Mixing beguiling culture, eye-popping landscapes and friendly locals who love to show off their homeland’s best bits, Thailand is a country that has inspired travellers to pen their adventures for centuries. Whether it’s a bestseller or online blog, there’s something about the country that convinces visitors to record its charm on paper or hard drive.
However, these glorious places need preserving for future generations of adventurers. With this in mind, The Responsible Thailand Awards have been set up to promote sustainable tourism. Whether scouring the Thai coastline for litter or highlighting ethical wildlife experiences, initiatives have been cleaning up the country and showing how tourism can help make things better.
Now it’s your turn to put pen to paper. Write down your experiences of sustainable ventures that you have witnessed on your travels around the world and send them in. The winner will be sent on commission to see first-hand some of the good work being carried out in Thailand, reporting back with your findings, to be published by Wanderlust.
Away from the party beaches and popular tourism resorts, Thailand is brimming with authentic experiences. The country is home to over 100 national parks, with elephants, gibbons and tigers all found among their forested wilds. UNESCO-listed sites litter the country, such as the crumbling temples of Ayutthaya. Yet just as important are the local homestays nearby that offer not only easy access to Thailand’s big sights but the local people themselves, and which are increasingly beginning to catch the eyes of conscientious visitors.
Many travellers now want not only to have experiences out of the ordinary but to ensure that their money directly benefits the areas they visit. So enter The Responsible Thailand Awards, which was established by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to raise the profile of sustainable ventures and promote green tourism. Each year, it recognises and celebrates organisations and movements that have helped the country to grow as a sustainable destination. In order to cover all aspects of Thailand’s conservation, the awards are made up of seven categories: Marine, Nature & Heritage, Community-based Tourism, Animal Welfare, Eco Lodge/Hotel, Hotel, and Green Steps. Every one nominated is focused on preserving the country’s nature and culture – and, in our eyes, that’s definitely something worth writing about.
Across the world, green and sustainable travel is helping benefit local communities, wildlife and the environment. We want to read about your experiences of these projects from anywhere that you’ve been on your travels. Whether it’s a conservation project or staying at an incredible eco-lodge, tell the Tourism Authority of Thailand about your experiences and how your travels helped benefit the environment.
Perhaps you’ve visited somewhere similar to Thailand’s Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, winner of the Marine category at the 2017 Awards. It not only protects those nesting amphibians on Mai Khao beach, but also works closely with locals to educate them on the dangers the turtles face.
Maybe you’ve stayed somewhere like Elephant Hills, winner of the Animal Welfare category in 2017. The tented camps’ unique elephant experiences prove these mammals can be key to Thai tourism without being used inhumanely. But remember: your story can be from anywhere, not just Thailand – it’s a big world, so let’s hear about the people and organisations helping to make it better.
We think you’ll agree that the above winners and those nominated each year are worthy of recognition, but there’s so much inspiration out there, and Thailand’s Tourism Authority is keen to hear your experiences of conservation. All your short story (up to 350 words) has to do is cover one or more of the following: natural wonders and cultural heritage, marine conservation, ethical animal experiences, local community experiences, or an eco-lodge stay.
Knowing that our travels actually help the areas we visit is reward in itself, but it’s important to also understand the work being done and to spread the message to fellow travellers. Thailand has become a world leader in looking after its natural and cultural resources, and that’s why the Tourism Authority of Thailand will whisk one lucky winner away to see the fantastic work being done first-hand there, soaking in the many wonders of this incredible country. You’ll be able to visit some of the winners of this year’s Responsible Thailand Awards and given the chance to write about them for Wanderlust magazine and website, reporting on the conservation successes you’ve witnessed.
So, put pen to paper and tell us about your green travel tales, and you could be experiencing Thailand’s ecological advances – and amazing landscapes and culture – for yourself.