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Thailand to become more of a sustainable tourism destination

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As the Chief Executive Officer of WWF-Thailand, Ms. Natalie Phaholyothin’s mandate is to lead the organisation to excel in conservation and environmental work in Thailand and the Mekong region.

An animal lover, nature lover and a Thai national, Natalie is particularly proud of Thailand’s national heritage in terms of its environment and wildlife.

“We have 127 national parks, which is quite a high number, and that in itself should be an indication of the potential for Thailand to become more of a sustainable tourism destination.

Chief Executive Officer of WWF-Thailand, Ms. Natalie Phaholyothin

“All Thais should be really proud that we have so much biodiversity in Thailand. How do we make it sustainable? How can all Thais be encouraged to think about how we can co-exist with nature and thrive together? Because if we don’t preserve nature, we also don’t preserve our own future.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) established its presence in Thailand in 1995, and today it has some 60 staff on the roster, of which a third are deployed in the field the majority of the time.

It works with other NGOs and government organisations like the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), which is under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Since being registered as a foundation in Thailand in 2018, it also carries out fundraising work.

Tiger and elephant conservation

Tiger and elephant conservation are two of WWF-Thailand’s key areas of focus. Together with the DNP the organisation has been closely monitoring the tiger population of Mae Wong and Khlong Lan National Parks in Nakhon Sawan and Kamphaeng Phet provinces, to protect the big cats from poaching and to ensure they have sufficient prey.

The effort over recent years has resulted in a rise in tiger numbers; resident females which are the breeding portion of the population have increased and subsequently so has cub production.

Addressing the issue of human-elephant conflict is an important part of the work being done with wild elephants. In Prachuap Khiri Khan province’s Kuiburi National Park, which is surrounded almost completely by farms, WWF-Thailand has been involved in efforts to turn the area’s elephants from a problem into an asset for the locals.

Before the National Park was established in 1999, the encroachment of villagers’ fruit farms into the elephants’ territory saw the two at odds with confrontations often turning violent and even deadly. These days, however, Kuiburi National Park is known as one of the best places in Thailand to see elephants in the wild, and tourists come by the thousands to do exactly that.

Tourism-related training, with support from WWF-Thailand, has been provided to the community for a number of years. As such, many locals are tour guides and drivers catering to this wildlife-viewing market while some families offer homestays.

WWF-Thailand is also involved together with the Park and Thai communications conglomerate True Corporation in a GPS tracking and warning system.

Camera traps are set up in the area, and rangers receive notification direct to their smartphone if they need to intercept any straying elephants and direct them back into the National Park.

Water holes, grasslands and salt licks – a key source of minerals for elephants and other four-legged Park inhabitants – are also maintained in an effort to keep elephants from leaving the National Park.

Ms. Natalie Phaholyothin
Chief Executive Officer of WWF-Thailand, Ms. Natalie Phaholyothin

Fighting illegal ivory

WWF-Thailand’s illegal wildlife trade programme is aimed at reducing the demand for animal products like ivory, and it works with the Royal Thai Police and international organisations like Interpol and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

While Thailand has taken major steps in recent years to stamp out the ivory trade, it is still a hotspot for the sale and trafficking of illegal ivory – much of which is from Africa where elephants continue to be slaughtered in large numbers – into Asian countries where demand is high.

A big part of the fight against the trade in ivory is encouraging tourists to Thailand not to buy ivory products with public campaigns that carry this message.

What doesn’t help though, is that while the sale of ivory from wild elephants is illegal in the country, the sale of ivory from domesticated elephants is legal and that presents authorities with the problem of determining which is which.

Sustainable finance

Recognising how sustainable finance can positively influence sustainable development, WWF-Thailand works to help drive more sustainable investment and lending practices that serve people and the planet.

There are good signs, said Natalie, of growing consciousness in helping to preserve the country’s natural treasures with reference in particular to the Thai Bankers’ Association and Bank of Thailand who now look more closely at who money is lent to.

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Tourism

More COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Thailand from 16 October 2021

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Bangkok, 16 October, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide an update that more COVID-19 restrictions in the dark-red zone provinces have been relaxed while additional businesses and activities have been allowed to resume operations from today (16 October, 2021).

  • Restaurants and eateries, cinemas, theatres, shopping malls, sport stadiums, and public parks are now allowed to resume normal opening hours, but must close no later than 22.00 Hrs.
  • Convenience stores, fresh markets, and flea markets are now allowed to open for all types of goods with the opening hours extended for one hour longer or until 22.00 Hrs. All 24-hour shops must close nightly from 22.00-03.00 Hrs.
  • Day-care centres for elderly people are now allowed to resume operations.
  • Hotels, exhibition halls, convention halls, trade fair centres, or similar types of venues are now allowed to open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs.
  • Shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments can also open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs., but must not hold any sales promotional activities and continue to close the amusement parks, water parks, and gaming centres.
  • Public parks, sports stadiums, gyms, fitness centres, and all types of venues for exercise can resume normal opening hours, but no later than 22.00 Hrs.

Meanwhile, gaming centres in shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments that are not located in the dark-red zone province can now resume operations.

Curfew, Interprovincial Travel & Gatherings of people

To be in effect until 31 October, 2021, the night-time curfew in the dark-red zone provinces has been reduced from 6 to 4 hours, or between 23.00-03.00 Hrs.

Public and private organisations as well as people are still prohibited to organise any activities prone to the spread of disease, but the number of attendees has been increased for each zone. Dark-red zone: No gatherings of more than 50 people (from previously 25 people). Red zone: No gatherings of more than 100 people (from previously 50 people). Orange zone: No gatherings of more than 200 people (from previously 100 people).

Travel between dark-red zone provinces and other areas can resume normal operations but must apply social distancing measures.

Entertainment venues

All types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke shops are to remain closed. However, the government mentioned that these businesses may undertake preparation to be ready for reopening.

Self-protective measures and distancing efforts

As usual, people nationwide are asked to continue abiding by the health and safety measures in place; such as, wearing a face mask at all times while outside of their residence, regularly washing hands with soap and water/cleaning alcohol, and avoiding unnecessary close contact with others.

TAT would like to remind all travellers to continue with D-M-H-T-T-A precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.

Thailand’s colour-coding system for COVID-19 control are in place for the following provinces:

23 (down from 29) Maximum and Strict Controlled Areas or dark-red zone provinces

Central Region: Bangkok and 22 other provinces: Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, and Saraburi; Eastern Region: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, and Rayong; Northern Region: Tak, and Southern Region: Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala.

Chanthaburi and Nakhon Si Thammarat have been moved up from red to the dark-red zone.

30 (down from 37) Strict Controlled Areas or red zone provinces

Central Region: Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri; Eastern Region: Sa Kaeo and Trat; Northern Region: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, and Phetchabun; Northeastern Region: Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani, and Southern Region: Chumphon, Phatthalung, Ranong, Satun, Surat Thani, and Trang.

Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri have been moved down from the dark-red to red zone, while Surat Thani has been moved up from the orange zone.

24 (up from 11) Controlled Areas or orange zone provinces

Northern Region: Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao, and Phrae, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit; Northeastern Region: Amnat Charoen, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Loei, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, and Yasothon, and Southern Region: Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Phuket.

Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, and Yasothon have been moved down from red to orange zone.

The post More COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Thailand from 16 October 2021 appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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Quarantine-Free Thailand Reopens for Vaccinated Tourists From 1 November 2021

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to confirm that Thailand is all set to welcome fully vaccinated foreign visitors, including returning Thais and foreign residents, from the approved countries to enter the Kingdom by air with no quarantine requirements from 1 November, 2021.

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