|Peter of CBT-i leads a group activity with BTN villagers.|
Andaman Discoveries, in cooperation with the SEED initiative and The Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute (CBT-i) (a renowned Thailand-based CBT consultant) hosted a partner’s forum in Ban Talae Nok in December. Stakeholders at the community- and district-level attended the forum, as well as several NGOs interested in working with the Ban Talae Nok community-based tourism (CBT) group. There were several objectives to the forum, including assessing the progress of CBT in the village, exploring options for sustainable expansion, and identifying problems. Villager feedback was overwhelmingly positive. “Income from tourism benefits the whole community. People did not realize this before, now they see others benefiting,” commented Ekarat “Hem” Chuengyang.
The forum succeeded in raising awareness of CBT as a community activity. The chief conclusion was that for CBT to be sustainable as a long-term community development tool in BTN, community members must work together with a common vision of CBT as a tool to tackle shared challenges. “The people need to know that tourism is not only bringing them income, but also helping to develop their community,” observed Ms. Darunee “Cha” Pakee, BTN Community Coordinator. Increased collaboration between the CBT and other community groups will help build awareness of the possible benefits – cultural and environmental preservation, economic stimulus, and strengthened community ties – of CBT to the whole village.
The forum concluded with a presentation of a copy of the SEED award, which will be proudly displayed at the community center.