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close this bookEcotourism and other Services Derived from Forests in the Asia- Pacific Region: Outlook to 2010. (FAO - Forestry, 1997)
close this folderANNEX - COUNTRY ECOTOURISM NOTES
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCOUNTRY NOTE: AUSTRALIA
View the documentCOUNTRY NOTE: CHINA
View the documentCOUNTRY NOTE: INDIA
View the documentCOUNTRY NOTE: INDONESIA
View the documentCOUNTRY NOTE: MALAYSIA
View the documentCOUNTRY NOTE: NEPAL
View the documentCOUNTRY NOTE: POHNPEI
View the documentCOUNTRY NOTE: THAILAND

COUNTRY NOTE: THAILAND

According to Lohman (1993), forest cover in Thailand has declined rapidly since the 1950s, with particularly severe declines in the central and north-east regions. The causes of this decline include logging, development projects, and conversion to agriculture. State policy towards forests, commercial logging, and geopolitical threats have been suggested as underpinning this decline (Lohman 1993). However, pressures for new approaches to land and forest rights are continuing to grow. According to Lohman (1993), these are the result of grassroots attempts at changing the nature of forest management and use. Some of the most visible of these has been with the securing of local control over community forests.

There appears to be a strong need for systems of land management in Thailand to be more collaborative and bottom up, sensitive to the variety of local needs that forests serve. But this is not straightforward, as there are a variety of local levels, each with different needs and wants, and different levels of forest service reliance (Lohman 1993). The task is to provide a mechanism that continues the tradition of grass root activism.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (1997) statistics indicate 7 million international arrivals, the majority from East Asia, with 1995 total revenue of Bt190 billion (US$7.7 billion). Tourism is the country’s largest foreign exchange earner, and continued growth is expected despite concerns that tourism is marketed better than it is managed (Muqbil 1995). Chudintra (1993) conservatively estimates that approximately 20% of foreign visitors in 1990 participated in nature tourism activities, though this includes small-scale beach tourism. Most of the “nature tourists” are from the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, while tourists from East Asia and the Pacific tend to prefer city activities.

Perhaps Thailand’s most famous ecotourism activity is jungle trekking in the northern mountainous area. Trips are led by a guide, often include rafting or elephant rides, and last three to five days on average (Chudintra 1993). Visits to national parks are also popular. National parks are managed by the Forestry Department, and Chudintra reports the following figures:

Year

Number of National Parks

Visitors (millions)

1986

58

4.4

1987

64

5.9

1988

69

6.8

1989

73

8.1

1990

85

9.5

As noted in Section 3.3, the domestic proportion of national park visitors has been increasing and stood at 85% in 1990 (most of these are students travelling in large groups during summer vacation or long holidays) (Chudintra 1993).

Chudintra (1993) notes that tourism has generated many positive impacts, including new jobs and stronger awareness of nature conservation. However, it has also generated negative impacts, including inflation (land and general goods) and changes in social values. For example, younger generations in hilltribe areas have been influenced by tourism profits and have become more commercial and materialist-minded than prior generations.

The development of mass tourism within national parks has been a contentious issue in Thailand and exemplifies the difficulty of finding an appropriate balance between conservation and development. It is worth noting that an Institute of Ecotourism has been established at Srinakharinwirot University and that international ecotourism conferences have been held, with the second being in July 1996. That conference involved 150 delegates from 20 countries, as well as 80 Thai students.


List of Working Papers already released

APFSOS/WP/01

Regional Study - The South Pacific

APFSOS/WP/02

Pacific Rim Demand and Supply Situation, Trends and Prospects: Implications for Forest Products Trade in the Asia-Pacific Region

APFSOS/WP/03

The Implications of the GATT Uruguay Round and other Trade Arrangements for the Asia-Pacific Forest Products Trade

APFSOS/WP/04

Status, Trends and Future Scenarios for Forest Conservation including Protected Areas in the Asia-Pacific Region

APFSOS/WP/05

In-Depth Country Study - New Zealand

APFSOS/WP/06

In-Depth Country Study - Republic of Korea

APFSOS/WP/07

Country Report - Malaysia

APFSOS/WP/08

Country Report - Union of Myanmar

APFSOS/WP/09

Challenges and Opportunities: Policy options for the forestry sector in the Asia-Pacific Region

APFSOS/WP/10

Sources of Non-wood Fibre for Paper, Board and Panels Production: Status, Trends and Prospects for India

APFSOS/WP/11

Country Report - Pakistan

APFSOS/WP/12

Trends and Outlook for Forest Products Consumption, Production and Trade in the Asia-Pacific Region

APFSOS/WP/13

Country Report - Australia

APFSOS/WP/14

Country Report - China

APFSOS/WP/15

Country Report - Japan: Basic Plan on Forest Resources and Long-Term Perspective on Demand and Supply of Important Forestry Products

APFSOS/WP/16

Country Report - Sri Lanka

APFSOS/WP/17

Forest Resources and Roundwood Supply in the Asia Pacific Countries: Situation and Outlook to Year 2010

APFSOS/WP/18

Country Report - Cambodia

APFSOS/WP/19

Wood Materials from Non-Forest Areas

APFSOS/WP/20

Forest Industry Structure and the Evolution of Trade Flows in the Asia-Pacific Region - Scenarios to 2010

APFSOS/WP/21

Decentralization and Devolution of Forest Management in Asia and the Pacific

APFSOS/WP/22

Commentary on Forest Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region (A Review for Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, And Western Samoa

APFSOS/WP/23

Asia Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook: Focus On Coconut Wood

APFSOS/WP/24

Ecotourism And Other Services Derived From Forests In The Asia-Pacific Region: Outlook To 2010

D/W7714