In May the community-based tourism groups fromeach of the villages comprising the N-ACT network met on Koh Pratong for their meeting. This meeting welcomed guest village Lan Ka Roo from Khao Sok, Surat Thani. While waiting for all members to arrive a friendly conversation began on the reason for the different Thai names of surrounding Khao Sok areas like Khao Pra Hak “Broken knife Hill”, Lan Ka Roo “Lizard stuck at hole” and Khao Mah Ngan “Turn up Dog Hill”. The Thai spirit of creative imagination never gets old!
As the meeting got underway representative from the communities had an information exchange on how to set up a homestay, the roles of guides and hosting foreign guests.Host group, Ban Lion, introduced their homestay program and highlighted activities they offer guests.
Members engaged in discussions on pricing calculations for developing and updated homestay programs with the costs increases they incur. The CBT group from Koh Kho Khao presented on their program to offer and give his suggestions to the network. The Village Leader from Tapae Yoi gave an introduction for his group and discussed future plans for CBT development in his village. Chamni from Plenprai Sri Nakha discussed some challenges his group were facing, and acknowledged that communities can face problems from both internal and external sources. He also noted that he was very proud that the groups at the meeting did not focus only on money but recognized that well developed CBT programs will help bring awareness to the group and further success in the future.
To conclude the meeting, a pertinent question from AD Intern Jennifer to the network asked “What did the members gain from the meeting?” One member responded that it helped them to change past activities and learn new ideas to generate income for their communities. Hem from Ban Talae Nok replied that he was happy that everyone was able to exchange their work and consult each other to improve their community groups.He concluded that community-based tourism is to be approached one step at a time and not to expect the rapid growth of a tour company. Now that is sustainable minded tourism!