Those interested in the alternative lifestyle have always taken great delight in visiting Thailand, an unexplored destination with lots of variety on offer. More recently though the country has realised that is has a wealth of natural resources and a diverse plant and wildlife that both needs protecting and at the same time acts as an attraction to eco-tourists.
Thailand has been keen to show their "off the beaten track" locations and encourage visitors to explore more of the country's interior. There has been an increase in activities associated with this type of travel as more holidaymakers look for opportunities to go hiking, canoeing, bird watching and scuba diving away from the traditional over populated tourist spots.
As the number of people looking to enjoy the sights that Thailand's unexplored places has to offer, The Royal Forest Department, working in conjunction with Tourism Authority of Thailand are examining better ways of managing the country's natural resources.
What they are encouraging is responsible tourism, something that will not have devastating effects and cause irreparable damage to the countryside. They wish to promote an interest in Thailand but in a manner that allows appreciation of the environment without destroying it.
Thailand is a place of many differing destinations and places like Bangkok, Phuket and Krabi, are famous for their entertainment, sandy beaches and wonderful chances to scuba dive. The remote areas in the northern, mountainous environs and the south westerns woodlands are less familiar trips for the eco-tourist. Some of the more interesting trips come in the form of jungle training, where you learn the skills to live of the land. Visitors are taught to appreciate their surroundings, eat and recognise jungle food, make fires and build shelters.
Phang Nga Province has little tourism but affords visitors some truly magical experiences, cycling or canoeing around the area. The hillsides are covered in rubber trees and oil palms and travellers carve their way along dusty tracks, bathing under crystal clear waterfalls or paddling along deep silent gorges.
What the responsible tourist is being encouraged to do its to explore these regions but to come away with an understanding of the culture and environment not to leave a desolate landscape in their wake. Helping to preserve and save regions, while improving the life and protecting the surrounds for the local people.
The danger of course is that by creating a popular tourist monster it can end up defeating and failing the eco-tourism criteria that established it. What the government bodies are looking at accomplishing is inviting responsible tourism to the national parks and protected reserves as a way of providing the funds to preserve the established ecosystems and ways of life. This is tempered with education, travel and appreciation of the surroundings on the part of visitors.
While certain areas of Thailand's tourist industry is famous for its excesses, wild nightlife and cosmopolitan mixtures, there are plenty of undisturbed jungles, tranquil beaches and demanding mountains. These are the areas that Thailand needs to protect and secure for future generations. Carefully balancing its modern, progressive advances with responsible management and nurturing of its beautiful scenery.
Photo flikr thank to PnP