Honourable Mention Community Based Tourism Initiative
Ban Rai Gong King Village is a small community in Chiangmai Province, a popular tourist destination in the northern part of Thailand. The community is situated next to Chiangmai Night Safari, so the main occupation of the villagers are vegetable plantation to sell as animal food in the zoo. During the economic crisis in the year 1997, many villagers who worked in the city moved back to Ban Rai Gong King Village to be with family and to think about what to do next. Many villagers lost their jobs and income. To help solving the economic problem of villagers, the village headman set up the ‘Ban Rai Gong King Development Fund’ which started with 3,000 Baht (approximately USD100). The initial money was used to set up a Bulk Purchasing Business where villagers can sign up for their commodity needs and the village headman will go to buy the products in bulk to get the wholesale price and save money for all. The profit from this business goes to the Development Fund which is used for community welfare from the birth to the death.
With the rich cultural resource and strong community welfare system, Ban Rai Gong King Village thought about using tourism as a development tool to improve the livelihood of villagers. With the support from various organizations, Ban Rai Gong King Community-based Tourism Club is formed with the objectives of the following:
1. To use tourism as a tool for developing sustainable livelihood of the villagers.
2. To revive the local culture and wisdom for next generation.
3. To improve the community welfare.
4. To promote healthy lifestyle for all.
The operation of Ban Rai Gong King Community-based Tourism Club is fruitful because of villagers’ participation in every process of development. That is why in the year 2015, Ban Rai Gong King Community based Tourism club earned a Thailand Tourism Awards in the category for ‘Best Community-based Tourism’.