Ecotourism Australia
Ecotourism Australia's 2006 International Conference

Dr. Sasithara Pichaichannarong
Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports
  Dr. Sasithara Pichaichannarong

Educated in Bangkok and had her Master and Ph.D. Degrees from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France, Sasithara Pichaichannarong was appointed Deputy Permanent Delegate of Thailand to UNESCO in Paris from 1996-1998. She has taken up her post as Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in October 2005 after having completed her 3 years as Director-General of the Office of Tourism Development within the same Ministry.

Her experience in the field of tourism and her dedication to creating a healthy and positive environment within which the tourism industry in Thailand can grow and flourish has been recognized in the special assignments she has spearheaded over the years. She has been the Chairperson of The UNWTO Committee on Sustainable Tourism Development, Vice Chair of Regional Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Vice Chair of Risk and Crisis Assessment and Management and also Chairperson of Thailand's Technical Group of ISO's tourism Standard and related services.

When Thailand was hit by Tsunami, she was in charge of Tourism Strategy in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank and Thailand teams. She was involved in developing effective strategies for economic cooperation with neighboring countries and is currently supervising the international relations of the Ministry's portfolio.

At present, Sasithara Pichaichannarong is the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand and responsible for eco-tourism projects under Tourism Cooperation of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).


Reviewed Strategy on Ecotourism for the Andaman Cluster of Thailand: A Turning Point after Tsunami

The presentation is a summary of obstacles, problems and further tourism development of Thailand Andaman cluster: Phuket, Phang-nga and Krabi, severely affected by the Tsunami Disaster in December 2004. The tragedy later revealed the lack of knowledge and understanding on ecology, ignorance on importance of environment and disregarding sustainable tourism development. The damage led to an idea of focusing on some prototypes of Phuket beaches, a central - local government cooperation to implement tourism development plan as a pilot project to encourage learning experiences, know-how and participation in tourism destination rehabilitation.

The scale has later been enlarged to consolidate a National Economic Development Plan for the 6 provinces in the Andaman cluster named Sub-regional Development Plan for the Tsunami affected Andaman Region consisting of overall planning and strategies such as economic strategy, tourism strategy, environmental strategy, infrastructure strategy and risk management strategy. This Sub-Regional Development Plan, a joint effort among numerous local and international experts and authorities, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Thailand, is regarded as a master plan of implementation for all stakeholders aiming for sustainable social and economic development in this part of the country.

The Andaman cluster is a high potential tourism destination with beautiful nature and one of the greatest biological diversity sites of Thailand. A wide rage of activities includes wellness and health tourism, community-based tourism, MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) and marine tourism. Access and facilities for tourists are at all levels: domestic and international airports, marinas, hotels, spa and resorts, restaurants, entertainment complex, museums, exhibitions, duty free shops, home stay services, adventurous treks and local handicraft villages.

Each province has been re-branded to accommodate the strategy: Phuket has been recognized as a focal point for tourism, education and economic development; Phang-nga: a small and medium-sized investment zone, community-based activities; Krabi: a special type of tourism destination, eco-tourism zone, sport and adventurous tourism activities. The new sub-regional plan also highlights on protection of nature, waste water management, logistics control, zoning for pedestrians and also tax enforcement for environmental management.

The presenter has had an opportunity to be responsible for planning on development of the area since the day of the Tsunami tragedy on December 26, 2006. She was a key person in coordinating with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to host the Special Session of the Executive Council in Phuket in January 2005 during which the Phuket Action Plan comprising core contents on sustainable tourism development, human resource development and crisis management was issued. She was also responsible for coordinating in tourism sector of the Sub-regional Development Plan for the Tsunami affected Andaman Region.


Ecotourism Australia Website