Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sustainable tourism moves up a notch

KHAO LAK, Phang-Nga Thailand, 7 June 2024: Sustainability plays a crucial role in the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s strategy to position Thailand as a high-value, high-quality destination. 

TAT is monitoring a substantial shift in the tourism landscape towards millennials, young generations, and individuals who have grown up with the online world. According to its research, TAT concludes that today’s travellers, even in main markets such as China, are highly conscious of sustainability and environmental impact. 

TAT calls on suppliers to embrace sustainable practices, not only for their enterprises but also for a better and more sustainable tourism industry.

At the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2024, held in Khao Lak, Phang-Nga Province, TAT introduced its new communication concept, ‘Amazing Thailand: Your Stories Never End’ which TAT focuses on delivering meaningful travel experiences that would create a lifetime memory. Highlights range from luxury, wellness, soft adventure, and sustainable tourism.

TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing Asia and South Pacific Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya stated that sellers offering products at the event this year have been incredibly supportive of the sustainability initiative. 

The event attracted 430 booths of quality sellers nationwide, including 46 exhibitors who won the Thailand Tourism Awards 2023. There were 360 hotels and resorts, 34 tour operators, 18 entertainment venues and attractions, eight transportation companies and carriers, and 10 other companies, such as online travel platforms, shopping malls, golf clubs, and vineyards.

“Joining the event, these sellers must prove to TAT that they have at least one programme in place to reduce waste, become more eco-friendly, or use less water. We’re bringing together all these practitioners of a greener tourism industry. We’re asking them to show us what they’re doing — it doesn’t have to be everything. We need to see that they’re taking some action, and then we’ll welcome them into our community of sellers. 

“Every single event we organise now has to be 100% focused on sustainability, and that’s the way we go,” Chattan concluded.

Meanwhile, TAT Executive Director of the East Asia Region, Chuwit Sirivajjakul, commented on the buyer turnout saying that even in major East Asia travel markets (China in particular) they are prioritising sustainability.

“Today’s travellers, particularly millennials, young generations, and the ‘new gen’ raised on digital experiences, prioritise sustainability and meaningful engagement with destinations. 

“They are particularly interested in activities like marine freediving, which minimises carbon dioxide and nitrogen emissions that can harm the ocean ecosystems. On land, the focus has shifted from ‘check-the-box’ sightseeing to slow-living experiences. Travellers seek deeper connections with local cultures, support local businesses, and give back to the community. This includes volunteering at elephant sanctuaries, cooking and bathing elephants, or supporting sick elephants.”

Chuwit added, “Even traditionally golf-centric markets like Japan and Korea are witnessing a shift. Travellers now seek eco-friendly golf courses that prioritise environmental responsibility. Post-Covid, tourists are quite attentive to the environment and travel in detail, rather than superficially as before.

This shift is not just a trend. As humans, we all have a responsibility to protect our planet. Tourists are increasingly aware of this. Hence, old and new businesses must adapt to cater to these markets.”

According to TAT, the agency’s initiatives to promote responsible travel practices include the Thailand Tourism Awards and the Sustainable Tourism Goals (STGs), rated with a STAR certification and CF-Hotels. 

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