Ecotourism dominates Koh Yao Noi island

Koyao Island Resort -Islands hopping / Photo: tourismthailand blog

Koyao Island Resort -Islands hopping / Photo: tourismthailand blog

With the increasing number of tourists flocking to seaside resorts on the Andaman coast affecting local residents’ way of living, villagers in Koh Yao Noi have pooled efforts to protect their homeland by offering ecotourism. Let’s find out more in this report from Thai News Agency.

Nestled between Phuket and Krabi, Koh Yao Noi is an example of an island being successfully preserved from the invasion of tourists and modern resorts which cause environmental problems and a change in local lifestyle.

Established in 1996, Koh Yao Noi Ecotourism Club brought together villagers on the island who wanted to protect their homeland by adopting ecotourism as a selling point.

The club launched, as it claimed, the first home stay programme in Thailand. Spending time with their host, visitors have the opportunity to see and practice a variety of villager’s daily activities.

Koyao Island Resort -Fresh seafood / Photo: tourismthailand blog

Koyao Island Resort -Fresh seafood / Photo: tourismthailand blog

The choice of activities includes sea fishing, visiting rubber plantation, rice farming with buffaloes and batik production. As Islam is practiced by most villagers, visitors are also allowed to participate in religious classes and practices.

Sakon Mukda, villager, home stay host said “Visitors will participate in our daily activities, such as fishing in the sea, and working in aquaculture. They can also swim, snorkel and admire sea ornamental sea fish and coral.”

Promchote Traivate, Director, Province Centre of Tourism, Sport and Recreation of Phuket said “Villagers create the programme which combines fisherman’s lifestyle with the Thai way of living. All of this you can find only in Koh Yao Noi.”

Koyao Island Resort Sunset over the Hong Islands / Photo: tourismthailand blog

Koyao Island Resort Sunset over the Hong Islands / Photo: tourismthailand blog

Visitors, however, have to follow some rules of the community. They should not bring foam food boxes and plastic bags to the sea. Sexy dresses and alcohol are not allowed as, villagers believe, it can lead to crimes.

With the united efforts of the villagers, Koh Yao Noi was in 2002 awarded the World Legacy Award for Destination Stewardship from National Geographic Traveler magazine for its eco-friendly home stay programmes.

Despite an increasing number of tourists, villagers do not take advantage of them. They insist in continuing their ecotourism efforts, as they say saving the environment and their precious way of life should come before personal wealth.

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