EU Sustainable Tourism Award
Scubafish and Narima Diving were delighted to be 2 out of only 9 Dive Centres in Thailand recognised as meeting European Standards for Sustainable Tourism Management in Thailand, thus being awarded the EU Sustainable Tourism Award. This project was managed by the Environmental Research Institute of Chulalongkom University and the Bumi Kita Foundation, and funded by the EU – Thailand’s Small Projects Facility as an initiative to promote co-operation between Thailand and the European Union. This research was used to write The Natural Guide to Thailand.
The Natural Guide Eco-Rating Criteria:
- 1. ‘Traveller-Friendly’: The hotel or activity provides an enjoyable experience for travellers who appreciate nature and local cultures.
- 2. ‘Nature-Friendly’: The operation is designed and managed in a way that reduces negative environmental impact and enhances environmental conservation.
- 3. ‘Community-Friendly’: The operation contributes to the welfare of local people and enhances local culture.
Eco-Tips for the Responsible Traveller:
Fly Less, Take your Time
Air travel is responsible for 3 to 4% of the greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming. Flying to the other end of the world for a week of holidays is not sustainable. Instead, travel less often, and spend more time to discover each place. When flying, participate in a carbon offset program to help reducing global warming.
Learn about the Ecology
The more you know about the local environment, the less likely we are to step on an endangered flower or buy handicrafts made of the skin of a vanishing species. And the more you’ll appreciate the hidden life behind the landscape.
Think before Buying
Unless you’re sure it comes from a well-managed source, avoid buying anything made of wild animal parts (snake skin, tortoise shell…), anything taken from the sea (aquarium fish, shells, corals, etc.) and any furniture made of timber coming from the rainforest. Look for goods with reputable Eco-Labels such as the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or the MAC (Marine Aquarium Council).
Respect the Wildlife
When in any natural environment, especially a protected area, we can easily disturb the wildlife. Keep silent, never remove any plant species, never feed any wild animal, and never get out of recommended trekking routes. Use local guides who know the local ecology. Divers need to be extra careful not to touch any part of the fragile coral reefs.
Save Power and Water
There are many ways to save power and water when travelling. Do we really need air conditioning? Why not appreciate natural ventilation? What about trying a local bus or a bike rather than a four-wheel drive? And of course, turning taps and switches off when not needed is always a good idea – as is not changing towels and sheets everyday.
Leave only Footprints
Waste is accumulating fast in tourism destinations, especially in developing countries with poor waste management. When going to a natural area, bring a plastic bag to bring your waste back – and collect any other waste found along our way. Avoiding plastic bags and plastic bottles also means generating less waste.
Choose Responsible Operators
When choosing a tour operator, a hotel, a trekking guide or a dive club, ask about their responsible tourism policies, and the steps they take to protect the environment. Responsible operators are also more likely to be well managed, take care about safety, and respect their commitments towards travellers.
Support Local Conservation Initiatives
Never hesitate to support local conservation NGOs through donations or volunteer work. Participating in wildlife surveys or reef check programs can also be a more challenging, rewarding way to travel in natural areas.