Growing Appeal of Local Thai Crafts
For many tourists, Thailand’s unique, fascinating culture is one of its major attractions and local tourism bodies are now doing their best to promote that cultural appeal to entice more visitors. Local people are being encouraged to showcase their products as the country’s community-based tourism sector booms.
Last month, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart took place in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province with some 280 delegates from around the world attending the event.
“Thailand should take part in this growing trend by promoting new destinations, such as Chiang Rai, as alternative places for community tourism,” Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA told the press, adding that now is the perfect time for local communities throughout the Kingdom to highlight their products and locally-produced handicrafts to entice both local and foreign visitors.
Khun Yuthasak Susaporn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) believes that the development of this tourism segment in Thailand will lead to a more sustainable industry overall. “It offers new opportunities for promoting environmental protection and social sustainability within the industry,” he said.
Around Thailand, a large number of local communities are recognized for producing different varieties of uniquely-made handicrafts, many of which are also popular with visitors seeking out original souvenirs to take home. The development of this sector is therefore part of a strategy to attract more high-end visitors, especially those from China, who are increasingly interested in the history and culture of the Kingdom.
Locally-produced products have proved particularly popular with international visitors to destinations like Phuket and Koh Samui on recent years, and there is a growing global awareness of the value of locally made handicrafts.
As well as buying such products for themselves, visitors also like to stay in accommodation that references the local culture of Thailand in its architecture and interior furnishings. Many of the luxury rental villas on Phuket and Koh Samui showcase local handicrafts as part of their décor, with authentic Thai silk, intricate wood carvings and original artwork are just a few elements that surround guests during their stay.
updates by Wayne Hue