|Cha accepts the award of “Outstanding Performance: Best Eco Tourism attraction” in Bangkok|
The Eco Tourism club of Ban Talae Nok won the silver Kinnaree Award for “Outstanding Performance: Best Eco Tourism Attraction” in this year’s Thailand Tourism Awards, presented by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). “I’m very proud of our village. There are communities who are supported by larger organizations, sometimes even by the government, and still couldn’t win the award,” said village chief Raywat Harnjit.
A 20-member selection committee from TAT visited the village in August and assessed it on such criteria as environmental stewardship, community participation, sufficiency-economy philosophy, good governance, and responsibility to society. The honor reinforces recent positive feedback about Ban Talae Nok’s commitment to community-based tourism as well as the great strides the villagers are making as guides and homestay hosts. “Winning the Kinnaree Award has inspired the members of the Eco Tourism group to be more engaged and confident, and to express their opinions during village meetings. They feel that the award proves that they are doing things right, and they’re now encouraged to aim even higher in the next year,” observed Andaman Discoveries guide Piyawich “Mai” Budhagesorn.
The awards ceremony took place in the Central Grand Hotel and Bangkok Convention Center in Central World Plaza on September 27, 2008. Ban Talae Nok community coordinator and Andaman Discoveries staff member Darunee “Cha” Pakee attended the festival. “We were all really surprised about winning the Kinnaree Award. It had always seemed too far for us to reach, but we did, eventually. However, it was not easy at all. There were even prizes without winners, because there was no one who qualified for the demanding conditions.”