Tung Dap Community Action

Thailand tourism villager

Thailand tourism undeveloped rural village

Thailand tourism virgin jungle

Koh Phratong is currently under consideration for status as a national park and Ramsar-protected wetlands area, and reports indicate that the government is currently surveying the island to assess claims of land ownership. The seasonal swamp forests located in the savannah around Tung Dap are also of high conservation value, as they are among the few examples of this ecosystem remaining in the area.

Tung Dap has three different protected zones: a preservation zone, a community mangrove zone, and a preparatory area. No hunting or fishing is allowed in the preservation zone, the trees there can only be cut down with permission from the community, and oil pollution is not allowed. The community mangrove zone is more open to use, but there are restrictions: no fishing with poisons, no cutting trees in order to sell the wood, and no fishing with nets in certain areas. These community rules are enforced by the villagers themselves and regular monitoring has proved successful in minimizing resource exploitation by outsiders. The conservation group has received government recognition for their conservation efforts.

The community of Tung Dap received a lot of attention from aid agencies after the tsunami. Relief projects included a new school, water tower and educational assistance. Andaman Discoveries (previously known as the North Andaman Tsunami Relief) has been involved with the Tung Dap community since 2004, however it was in 2006 when a young villager called Pin came to the Andaman Discoveries office with a proposal to start a waste management, school lunch program and mangrove restoration project for her village. Dedicated to assisting community-led development and impressed by Pin's community-mindedness, Andaman Discoveries provided funding and support for each of the projects and later employed Pin as a member of the team.

Starting from seeing tourists walking around with tour leader from outside and no interaction with locals, Tung Dap villagers feel responsible in presenting themselves and their community to others through community-based tourism(CBT). Even though the CBT programme is not fully developed, it is one of the options that helps villagers preserve what they have as well as present who they are to outsiders.