Thailand is now said to be the most visited country in Asia and among the top worldwide. But as with all popular destinations, the threat of over-tourism is real.
Yet out of the challenge, innovation thrives. Responsible and sustainable tourism is on the rise, allowing travelers to actually make a positive impact during their visit. Low impact, eco-friendly tourism has the ability to preserve, rather than destroy, a country’s natural beauty.
In Thailand, agrotourism is becoming a trend, whereby activities such as rice farming, organic coffee tours, learning farming techniques and touring tribal villages are a part of resort life geared towards education and preservation.
Andrew Jacka, chairman of the Asia Pacific Spa & Wellness Coalition, explains that agrotourism has taken place since as early as 1974. Thanks to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, its teachings of moderation and self-sufficiency continue to be practiced today. He says, “The Kingdom offers sustainable agriculture hospitality, sustainable fashion, farm-stay tourism, and increased visibility of micro, small, medium and large-scale service providers.”
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, for example, bonds elephants and humans through educational tours and ethical walks and is led by a resident veterinarian. Meanwhile, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas with The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation has guests rescuing turtle eggs from surrounding beaches.