Ecotourism is the word we usually hear especially in a region in which the economy is based on tourism. Khun Kanokkrittika Kritwutthikorn has recently been named as the new Director of TAT Phuket Office. Phuketindex.com interviewed her to hear her opinions about ecotourism which nowadays many sectors promote and wish to make sustainable.
What inspired you to work in tourism industry?
“I’ve been working in the tourism industry for almost 30 years now. When I first came in, the industry wasn’t booming like it is now but I had the opportunity to gain a lot of experience. Besides promoting Thailand on an international level, we also encouraged Thai tourists to travel around their country. It was a wonderful experience to have the chance to work and travel at the same time. It made me happy in my life. Now, living and working here in Phuket, the destination everyone wants to visit, is like a bonus.”
What made you interested in Ecotourism?
“Ecotourism, we’d talked about this for a long time perhaps ever since I started working in this field. This involves everyone – not just tourists but also locals. We began to build up consciousness and create awareness in environmental responsibility. Many sectors are now involved with this no matter if it’s about trash or the conservation of natural resources. Many people might think that to promote tourism alongside conservation is impossible but actually it’s workable. We can encourage tourists to be aware of the conservation of natural resources in every aspect, especially now in Phuket we have many groups of volunteers working with garbage, corals, and others. As for the TAT, we’ve pushed a project called ‘Upcycling the Ocean’ which is all about underwater trash. This is not just making the beaches clean and beautiful, it’s about the underwater environment.”
How do you feel about Ecotourism?
“People might think Ecotourism is unrelated but it’s not. It requires everyone to have the same feeling of responsibility and put serious efforts into help making it happen since it doesn’t affect just oneself; it affects the whole planet. We need to find the balance between conservation and tourism, the correct balance of nature and urbanization. I think they can grow together but we all have the same responsibility.”
Ecotourism should be in which direction?
“If we mention conservation or Ecotourism people automatically think about national parks, whether marine or forest. Everyone who is directly involved in these is trying to collaborate. We set up proper capacities for each area to manage and control usage of natural resources to their utmost efficiency. More than the existing natural resources that we need to take care, we also need to manage and reduce trash, carbon emissions from cars and boats, oil spills from boats and more. Everything is interconnected and we all have a responsibility to follow the rules and regulations set up to control this problem. Then I think tourism and conservation will have a future.”
Anything you would like to say to readers?
“I would like to ask everyone to think how we can create awareness about our common responsibility to the environment for future generations. It’s important for them to follow the rules and regulations and they will be the ones who help keep nature’s beauty and continue to pass it on to their descendants and let them see the same natural beauty as we see today.”
Nowadays almost everyone is aware of the importance of looking after nature and we’ve started to take better care of our environment. Let’s have a look at some opinions about this from various hotels in Phuket…
Suratwadee Phetriang – PR & Marketing Communications Manager, Laguna Phuket
Laguna Phuket nowadays is a haven of trees, birds and hotels. But 30 years ago this area was a lifeless lunar landscape; an abandoned tin mine written off by the United Nations Development Program in 1977 as ‘impossible to rehabilitate’. It took years for Laguna Phuket to transform and rehabilitate the polluted area. Topsoil needed to be imported so that trees could be planted. Today, you have the sense of having stumbled upon an exotic hideaway within the tropical island retreat of Phuket.
Given that the resort is a large-scale reclamation of what used to be utterly degraded land, the whole complex has had to be environmentally friendly from the start. Over the course of 30 years since its opening, nearly 30,000 trees have been planted and more than 2,000 sea turtles released by Laguna Phuket, together with our guests and local community members. Aiming to sustain and improve what has already been achieved, Laguna’s day-to-day operations apply the ‘Three Rs’ of green management: reduce, re-use and recycle. Today, Laguna Phuket is the first organization in Asia to achieve a precinct-level EarthCheck Silver Certification.
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Pim Yunyongkasamsuk – Marketing Communications Manager, Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Merlin Beach
Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach is a unique property. We’re not only a family resort but a destination in itself. While the resort provides services such as restaurants and MICE facilities, our actual approach to conservation makes us one of a kind. What makes us unique is our very own house reef on a secluded stretch of Tri-Trang Beach and the island’s first Merlin Butterfly Sanctuary.
We are partners with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. IUCN helps us preserve the natural environment through these two projects. Our goal is to increase the native butterfly species. The Merlin Butterfly Sanctuary allows guests to learn about the butterflies’ life cycle and the different species we find in the area. We also run the Reef Education Center with IUCN and Sea Bees Diving. On some days we take guests out for a dive at the house reef. On other days, divers from both organizations work together to conserve and restore the unique reef ecosystem in front of the resort. We’re proud to say we have one of the healthiest nearshore coral reefs in Phuket.
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Worraporn Noiladtee – PR & Marketing Manager, SLEEP WITH ME HOTEL, design hotel @ patong
The hotel has many CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities, including blood and organ donations. We also donate to disadvantaged children’s foundations, or even donate food and clean homeless dog shelters.
In terms of energy and environment, the hotel has realized the importance of efficient garbage collection, beach and public places cleanliness, and we join in with environmental protection projects with the government and other organizations in Phuket. We care about both beach and animal conservation.
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Kanokrod Langputeh – Asst. Marketing Communication Manager, The Vijitt Resort Phuket
At Vijitt Resort we focus on services that minimize the impact on the environment as much as possible. Our policy is to reduce activities that can have a bad effect on the environment, and we increase security for customers and employees, and keep good relationships with our community. We have established a ‘Green Board’ to take care of our environmental policies.
The hotel emphasizes reducing waste and reuse, we encourage customers, employees, and business partners to be aware of this.
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Saran Mitrarat -Public Relations Manager, AKSARA Collection
All hotels in The AKSARA Collection Group, Kata Sea Breeze Resort, Patra Mansion and The SIS Kata, are conscious about caring for the environment. We organize activities for the community to preserve the environment such as mangrove planting to increase aquaculture and preserving the coastline and increasing Phuket’s green area.
We also have a yearly activity called ‘Clean the beach boot camp’, which we do with expatriates living in Phuket, students and local community. In line with the provincial policy of ‘Da Saparot’ (Pineapple Eyes) to keep the beach area clean.