|Joe with some friends in Ban Talae Nok.|
Can one’s arm ever tire from returning enthusiastic waves from happy children? Can one’s smile ever subside in a land where friendliness and hospitality rules? Can one’s heart ever be so touched as to see communities that suffered through the tragedy of a tsunami exhibit such a sense of hope, of joy … of living? Community-based tourism consultant Joe Staiano pondered these questions after his visits to Ban Talae Nok and Tung Nang Dam with Andaman Discoveries in early November.
Joe has spent 18 years working in sustainable tourism in 60+ countries, and is in the middle of an eight-month volunteer and sustainable tourism project that has so far included over three months in Africa (Uganda, South Africa, and Morocco) working on various community tourism and sustainable tourism initiatives. Joe learned of Andaman Discoveries through our good friends at Crooked Trails, and immediately contacted us to plan a visit. Joe had a huge impact during his brief time here, providing invaluable advice and assistance as we prepared for the World Travel Market. He shared plenty of ideas and carefully documented his thoughts on ways we can be even more effective in the future. He even rewrote our mission statement!
“What a great opportunity to visit Andaman Discoveries, experience a village homestay, see the office operations, and assist in various ways. I am humbled by the hard work and dedication of the staff. It is easy to see why you have received so many prestigious awards in last two years! Breathe deeply and never forget to pat yourselves on the back each day — you are positively impacting all those around you. Congratulations!”