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The Koh Yao Noi Community based Ecotourism Club has been operational for over 12 years, and is considered to be a ‘best-practice’ example of community based ecotourism in Thailand and overseas.
KYN CBT Club represents and directly benefits 35 local families with indirect benefits for over 4000 people, including local schools and other institutions. The direction of tourism development is decided by the group, with careful consideration for environmental, cultural, social and economic sustainability.
The CBT Club harnessed tourism as a tool to reverse a social and environmental catastrophe being created by the encroachment of large-scale commercial trawlers into their local fishing grounds. This Illegal fishing was destroying the environment, and threatening the livelihoods of local people, who rely on fish stocks to feed their families. The KYN CBT Club harnessed tourism as a bridge to bring these issues to the attention of the outside world, eventually forcing the government to enforce the law and protect local rights. Through this work, KYN CBT club supported sustainable coastal resource management, helped to protect the precious environment of Phang Nga Bay, and made a real and tangible contribution to the food security of the entire Muslim fishers’ island.
Through CBT, Club members have received additional income representing up to 10% of their annual income. 10% of all income is directed into a community fund which supports various conservation initiatives in Koh Yao Noi. The club worked to gently educate guests about culturally sensitive behaviour on their Muslim island. They are a successful example of tourism as a ‘green bridge’ catalyzing cultural exchange, friendship and mutual respect.
Koh Yao Noi CBT Club has been assisted since its inception by the Responsible Ecological Social Tours Project (REST), a local Thai NGO. REST provide training and assistance for community members. We also help to identify and reach the best types of guests, so that CBT can be a fun and respectful experience for all. Travelers can go to Koh Yao Noi on their own if they wish. However, we have trained English speaking ‘Tour Facilitators’, who accompany our guests and assist with translation, so you can get the most out of the experience.
Koh Yao Noi ‘CBT’ club and our organisation have been recognized nationally and internationally through awards such as the prestigious 2002 National Geographic Traveler and Conservation International World Legacy Award for Destination Stewardship,’ the Thai Airways Kinare Award and the Thai Homestay Standard.