The North Andaman Community Tourism Network
The North Andaman districts of Kuraburi, Suksamran, and Kapoe in Thailand are ecologically and culturally unique. They remain relatively undeveloped and many communities still survive by their traditional livelihoods of fishing and farming.
In recent years, declining fish catches, degradation of mangrove forests, and expanding commercial plantations have put pressure on the natural resources that local communities depend on for survival.
Recognizing tourism's potential for sustainable income, and wishing to avoid the negative impacts of mass tourism, a number of villages in the area are in the process of developing community based tourism. Currently, visitors can take part in homestay, study trips, volunteer activities, and a wide variety of eco, culture, and adventure tours.
With support from Mangroves for the Future and IUCN's Thailand Programme and IUCN's Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy, a group of 10 communities has formed N-ACT — the North Andaman Community Tourism Network.
The network serves as an evolving platform to increase the contribution of tourism to sustainable livelihoods and sound ecosystem management by providing communities with access to the best available knowledge and practices.
N-ACT is demonstrating the viability of sustainable tourism as a supplemental livelihood by securing income for local partners. The network's success is based on careful selection of ethical businesses and capable community partners with genuine potential for tourism development.
Currently, N-ACT is facilitating:
- Group and individual capacity building through trainings, study trips, product improvement, and learning tools
- Stakeholder communication resulting in cooperation among communities, businesses, NGOs, and government
- Promotional materials, marketing activities, and private sector outreach resulting in new customers
- Strengthened connections between community tourism, conservation efforts, and poverty alleviation
- Knowledge products to encourage replication of successful community tourism development methods