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Our3Q – Thai Jungle, Thailand

Pitua – founder of Thai Jungle, a community-based ecotourism. They offer the tourist a unique touch to living the Thai jungle, organizing trekking, trips, bamboo rafting and other kind of activities, with the possibility of dining and staying overnight.

 

Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?

I think that our strongest point is having a good team. We started Wang Khunphrom Ecotourism about three months ago. First of all, I tried to talk to people in the village to find those who are interested in creating a community-based tourist business. We got 9-10 people. Everybody put the same amount of money, everybody shared the ideas. We don’t want to have a business growing unleashed like in Khao Sok, where everyone does its own. We want to stick together, making something as a society, a community.

 

Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?

I grew up in Khao Sok, now a popular tourists destination. But it was not like that before. When I was young I saw a lot of foreigners coming in. It was good, they brought money, jobs. But time passed and 10 years later the family business in Khao Sok changed. A lot of companies came from outside. They saw the opportunity of earning big money here. They started something we didn’t know before: comfort, air-conditioned rooms. And now what you can see is a lot of agencies, we have no access to the river anymore. It was our source of job, food and they say it’s not for us anymore, it’s for tourists. We had a community before, we talked to each other, but now it doesn’t exist any longer. It’s too late to change it, outside businesses grew bigger and nobody listen anymore. The community went down, everybody fights to have customers. And customers come for VIP rooms, not simple houses, bamboo huts, adventure like before. Customers changed. Our job changed. All tour operators, everything from outside. This is a problem for local guides. They can do nothing. Only wait for these companies to give you the job. You have to accept their price and their conditions. They don’t pay much, they just sit and make money for themselves. I didn’t like it. And that made me think about my farm, my family. Over here, around 15 km from Khao Sok, nature is also nice, we also have hot springs, many attractions. And a community in the village. I’ve decided to build something there, and our biggest challenge is to do it differently than people in Khao Sok, not to repeat their mistake. To care about people and nature.

 

Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?

First of all we need more people speaking English. Right now I’m the only one. Also only I have a license to guide tourist groups. We need more skills in the community, more leaders. Next thing is marketing and doing business itself. I don’t really know the market, I don’t know how to use Internet for marketing. That’s why I need volunteers who will come here and help us.

 

Would you like to add something more?

All the profits we share, they go to public, to school, temple, for everybody. It is also important for us to help nature here. During the 15 years I have been living here a lot of animal died, every day. Because of hunting. Bear, white pig, monkey. It’s not so much for eating, but there is still quite a big market for sell. Local people need to make money, they can’t find another job. If our tourist business is successful, they will understand more and for sure they will stop hunting. Young people will learn other ways. If this idea grows the way we want everything will be better. We save a lot of animals and nature will come back to its pristine stage. We still have forest and animals. But if we don’t do anything, it will soon be gone.

 

The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.

exchangebabel.com

Khao Sok, Thailand, 27th December, 2015

ID: 026/100

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