London, 7 November 2016 – Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana conferred the Thailand Green Excellence Awards on four civil society groups at the World Travel Market (WTM) 2016.
The Awards were originally launched in 2007 as a cooperative venture between the TAT London Office and responsibletravel.com, an online travel agent active in promoting green tourism. Held annually since then, the Thailand Green Excellence Awards UK are aimed at encouraging tourism that promotes the environment and contributes to social and cultural betterment.
The Awards recognise tourism business operators including hotels and travel agents within the UK and Thailand, whose products and services help conserve tourism resources and sustainable development. The four categories of awards are: 1) Nature, Marine and Heritage, 2) Community Based Tourism, 3) Animal Welfare, and 4) Outstanding Contribution Award.
The 2016 award winners as follows:
1) Nature, Marine and Heritage Award: Mai-Khao Marine Turtle Foundation
The MKMTF is dedicated to educating the Phuket and Thailand community about the plight of the sea turtles in Phuket. It undertakes beach and reef cleaning activities, educational workshops, recycling projects, mangrove tree planting, turtle rescue/release and support of other marine conservation organisations. The Foundation is funded by partners; such as, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Marriott Vacation Club International, and Anantara Hotels and Resorts.
2) Community Based Tourism Award: Andaman Discoveries
Andaman Discoveries is a social enterprise seeking to serve the needs of local communities. Through a dedicated network of supporters, volunteers, and donations, it has implemented over 120 projects in 12 villages. It promotes responsible tourism, organises excursions and creates opportunities for CBT volunteers. Along with local partners, it supports disadvantaged children in Southern Thailand, including a school for disabled children, a learning centre for children from Myanmar, etc. These actions benefit both the economy and society as well as encourages conservation, community, culture and traditions of the community.
3) Animal Welfare Award: Elephant Hills
Elephant Hills are Thailand’s first Luxury Tented Jungle Camps, combining the camp idea of African national parks with the Thai tropical forest environment. The two camps, the Elephant Camp and the floating Rainforest Camp, are both situated in Khao Sok, part of Southern Thailand’s largest stretch of primary rainforest.
Elephant Hills focus on creating and maintain the well-being of elephants and mahouts. Visitors can gain an experience with the elephants; such as, feeding, bathing and interacting with the pachyderms. Such activities help tourists and Thai tourism operators see the value of elephants as part of the tourism sector of the country.
4) Outstanding Contribution Award: Trash Hero
Trash Hero’s mission is to create sustainable, community-based projects that remove existing waste, and reduces future waste by inspiring long-term behaviour change. This is done through 1) Taking Action and Building Awareness; 2) Education; 3) Creating Sustainable Projects that bring communities together to reduce, remove and better manage their waste; and 4) Inspiration – motivating people to become Trash Heroes in their everyday lives. Trash Hero organises garbage clean-ups along beaches in creative and interesting formats, to make the activities fun for tourists, both foreigners and Thai, entrepreneurs and local people.