Thailand is considered one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Amid the rise of middle income population and advanced aviation technology, Thailand receives a significant number of tourists every year. The country needs to find a sustainable way to manage its tourism resources to prevent its resources from being harmed. This brings in the concept of sustainable tourism, of which a popular and fast growing form is ecotourism. Thailand introduced a sustainable tourism policy in 2008 called the “Seven Greens” concept. However, the Seven Greens concept leans heavily towards environmental aspects and not so much on the culture and the people. On the other hand, Hanno City, designated by the ministry of environment of Japan as a model city for the management of tourism based on nature, community and culture, realizes the importance of all three. The city promotes creative tourism, human capabilities, and community participation as its solution to social well-being in the society and sustainability in its ecotourism industry.
This article compares the situation in Nan City with that of Hanno City in Japan and suggests how tourism in Nan City can be more sustainable through active community participation and creative tourism promotion.
Keywords: sustainable tourism, ecotourism in Thailand and Japan, Nan City, Hanno City, community participation in the management of ecotourism, Seven Greens concept
(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 11/2018 (Number 2), Page 97-115)