CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s online travel platform localalike.com, has joined with the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta) to promote the Chiang Rai-based social enterprise Lanjia Lodge as a way to support local tourism and reduce poverty.
According to Dasta’s 20-year development plan, Lanjia Lodge is one of many projects being supported to help develop sustainable tourism and generate revenue for local communities.
Lanjia Lodge is an eco-friendly community-based lodge located on a hill in Chiang Rai, providing experiences with hill tribe communities, including hiking and Hmong batik classes.
Dasta’s director of tourism competitiveness, Pornsook Chongprasith, said Lanjia Lodge can help Dasta increase local tourism sustainability, create jobs and thus reduce wealth inequality.
“To facilitate Dasta’s plan to increase community-based tourism, I believe Lanjia Lodge can help us a lot,” he said.
Lanjia Lodge is jointly operated by Ocean Oasis Travel Co, Population and Community Development Association.
Local Alike founder and chief executive officer Somsak Boonkham said that Local Alike sees the importance of helping locals stand on their own two feet by using their abundant natural resources and photogenic landscapes to provide tourism-related services.
He said Local Alike is very pleased to work with Dasta as they have the same goal of improving lives and eliminating poverty.
“Lanjia Lodge is one of many projects we have been working closely with Dasta on and I hope it will be successful,” said Mr Somsak, who founded Local Alike in 2012.
He said Local Alike has partnered with more than 10 public and private sector players to stamp out poverty in remote areas of Thailand and work with more than 70 local communities in 30 provinces.
“I reaffirm that Local Alike will keep working to cover more than 100 local communities in a bid to make villagers as self-reliant as possible,” said Mr Somsak.
Dasta is aiming to create local tourist attractions and activities and revitalise local ecology to attract tourists from home and abroad. Under Datsa’s 20-year development plan, it seeks to increase local tourism revenue by 10% while significantly lowering poverty within the first five years of implementation.
Datsa has worked for more than five years to push community-based tourism and aims to help provide tourism revenue to 2,500 districts nationwide in 2017, up from 1,500 districts last year.
Datsa’s six designated tourism areas are: Koh Chang’s connecting areas between Koh Kood and Koh Mak; Pattaya’s connecting areas of Bang Lamung and Koh Larn; Sukhothai’s old town covering Sri Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet; Loei province including Phu Luang, Phu Rua, Phu Kradung and Chiang Khan; five subdistricts in Nan province; and U Thong city in Suphan Buri.
The state is supporting Dasta and has received support from the Tourism and Sports Ministry to develop local tourism sites in a bid to achieve sustainable tourism.