Asean, Korea participants get taste of peaceful Thai mountain village

|     Danial Norjidi     |


THE Asean-Korea Centre organised the Asean Community-based Tourism (CBT) Programme in Chiang Mai, Thailand from January 3-8 under the theme ‘Youth Fostering Sustainable Tourism Development.’

As explained in a press release from the Asean-Korea Centre, CBT is a form of tourism that seeks to empower local communities to manage tourism growth and achieve community aspirations relating to their well-being, and pursues economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable development.

Thirty participants from Asean and Korea were brought into Ban Mae Kampong – a peaceful mountain village in Northern Chiang Mai – to experience the CBT programme in Thailand and come up with creative ideas for development of CBT Programmes in Asean.

Kim Young-sun, Secretary General of the Asean-Korea Centre noted, “Ban Mae Kampong Homestay, which won the 2016 Asean Homestay Standards Award, offers a unique village life experience with local people amidst picturesque mountains.

“What makes this year’s programme more timely and meaningful is that young leaders from Asean and Korea will gather to come up with ideas for future development of Asean tourism in the city where the Asean ministers will meet to discuss the tourism development agenda of Asean from January 22-26.”

During the six-day programme, participating youths developed their ideas based on the activities and group discussion, and presented their own suggestions on how to enhance the experience of sustainable tourism in local communities.

As part of their activities, the participants will upload photos that best capture their experience and make promotional videos on the theme ‘Colours of Asean Community-based Tourism’ thus promoting the Asean CBT to a wider audience.

Ban Mae Kampong Homestay offers a variety of CBT experiences that include ‘Mahout (elephant driver)’ training and elephant care, learning Muay Thai and Lanna Dance, harvesting Arabica coffee, and making tea leaves pillow, while engaging local communities in developing activities in a sustainable way as well as returning tourism benefits to them.

The Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2025 projected that the number of community-based tourism value chain project interventions will increase from 43 to over 300 by 2025.

Moreover, the 10 Asean member states has developed the Asean Homestay Standards on nine criteria such as host, accommodation, activities, management, location, and hygiene with an aim to increase the quality of services, facilities, and human capital.

In line with Asean’s key agenda, the Asean-Korea Centre has carried out the Asean CBT Programme for the last two years in Banghuris Homestay, Malaysia in 2015 and Seri Tanjung Homestay, Brunei in 2016.