Thailand turns focus to sustainability, plans to host Tourism Cares Summit in 2025

By TIN Media | Asean News Published 1 month ago on 7 June 2024
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THAILAND:

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has unveiled plans to enhance sustainable and meaningful tourism in the country during the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2024, held from June 5 to 7 in Phang Nga, Thailand.

Key to these plans is hosting Asia’s second Tourism Cares summit in 2025, partnering with the US-based NGO to bolster regenerative tourism in Thailand – the summit will be accompanied by a “meaningful travel” mart showcasing high-yield tourism products.

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East, Americas), highlighted Thailand’s existing efforts in responsible tourism.

These include established domestic programmes like the Thailand Tourism Awards, the STAR -rated Sustainable Tourism Goals certification, and the CF-Hotels (carbon-friendly hotels) initiative.

However, he also emphasised the importance of international collaboration to elevate Thailand’s sustainability measures further.

“We need international standards, and more international bodies to stand with us. So that’s why, from our side, and in the local market, we’re going to work with more and more international standards,” he quantified.

In March 2024, Tourism Cares, an organisation dedicated to advancing sustainability in travel, hosted its first Meaningful Familiarization Tour in partnership with TAT. The nine-day Tourism Cares Meaningful Travel FAM with Thailand tour introduced 14 Thai industry representatives to meaningful experiences with local businesses and communities in Bangkok and Krabi.

The two organisations have also created a Meaningful Travel Map of Thailand, highlighting their first 15 impact partners, with plans for expansion, available on the Tourism Cares website.

At this year’s travel mart, TAT laid the foundation for meaningful travel alongside its new marketing campaign, Amazing Thailand: Your Stories Never End. This campaign emphasises delivering experiences that create lasting memories, along with the 2024 product update which showcased a range of meaningful travel options, inspiring visitors to create and share lasting memories – from luxury and wellness retreats to soft adventure and sustainable tourism initiatives.

In line with TAT’s zero-waste-to-landfills initiative, TTM+ 2024 prioritised sustainability by minimising single-use plastics and implementing a zero-waste programme. Sorting stations at side events ensured proper waste disposal, and TTM+ collaborated with the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort to divert surplus food to local students at Racha Prachanukroh 35 School.

Cheawsamoot emphasised that many foreign visitors come from countries where sustainability is a daily practice today. He noted: “For Europeans or Americans, sustainability is no longer a trend; it’s a way of life. To appeal to these markets, we must adopt and promote sustainable practices.”

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing Asia and South Pacific, also commented: “My understanding is that there is a gap between the two. How do you evolve from being a mass traveller to a high yield one? That’s why we need a high yield travel mart.”


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