For over a decade, Wanderlust has run the Responsible Thailand Awards on behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The awards celebrate the best, boldest and most innovative individuals, organisations, projects and hotels who go above and beyond to conserve the country’s nature and culture while supporting sustainable tourism development.
In our post pandemic world, it is more important than ever to recognise and support Thailand’s sustainability champions.
The Covid-19 outbreak affected the landscape of travel in more ways than any of us could have ever expected. Hotels were left empty, tourist attractions deserted, and airports closed. For a country such as Thailand which is so reliant on tourism, this had a devastating impact. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, almost 40 million people visited Thailand for tourism. Just two years later and the Tourism Authority of Thailand estimates that only a couple of million tourists will visit Thailand in 2021 – and that’s a best-case scenario.
With no visitors, Thailand’s conservation projects, heritage sites and eco hotels have struggled more than ever to survive, and many who rely on the tourism industry for work have been left without jobs. That’s why it is crucial that the Responsible Thailand Awards continues to highlight, promote and support the organisations that have sustainability at their very hearts, helping them to stay open and continue to provide their essential services.
Despite this incredibly tough landscape, many innovative and resilient organisations have continued to go above and beyond throughout the pandemic, doing all they can to provide care for the communities, wildlife and natural spaces of Thailand. For example, at Samui Elephant Sanctuary (last year’s winners of the Animal Welfare Award), despite the lack of visitors, and therefore loss of money, the elephants’ wellbeing has remained the highest priority and they have been protected, fed and cared for right through the pandemic. This is just one example of the many organisations in the country who are doing all that they can to continue their vital work.
That’s why we have introduced a brand-new category for the 2021 Responsible Thailand Awards. The Pandemic Heroes award will shine a light on one organisation that has shown particular innovation and resilience this year, despite the challenges of Covid-19. The pandemic will also be taken into account across the seven other categories.
Help us to celebrate Thailand’s sustainability heroes by nominating an organisation that has impressed you with its eco-initiatives now. Nominations close on the 17 November.
The winners will be announced and celebrated during a virtual ceremony on the 8 December, where you will also have a chance to win a dream trip to Thailand worth over £2,000. Keep an eye on our events page for registration details.