Kao Thep Pitak
Ban Kao Thep Pita, Suratthani, Thailand
Kao Thep Pitak community based ecotourism enterprise has been providing their community tourism services by offering homestays, tour experiences and meal service since 2014. Even while the Thai national tourism organization helped to promote the community, unfortunately, most travellers passed by just outside the village, in order to get a photo of a beautiful suspension bridge with the backdrop of a heart-shaped mountain, but few travellers would ever reach the community.
In 2016, the association started to invest their own funds to build a community centre. But they needed help to complete it and transform it into a restaurant that could service customers – customers they needed to attract to the community to make it a viable business. The community continued to struggle to attract visitors beyond the bridge, and it left them with little revenue generation from their business.
Kao Thep Pitak community based ecotourism enterprise was started in 2011 under a Thai Community-based Tourism (CBT) development program. It took 3 years of capacity training by Planeterra’s local non-profit partner North Andaman Network (NAN), in associate with Andaman Discoveries to develop their organization.
NAN provided capacity training in food and hygiene, oversaw the renovation of the community centre and dining area, kitchen and new restrooms. These developments helped Kao Thep Pitak to meet their goal of creating a community restaurant, enabling them to provide a meal service to G Adventures travellers, and others.
In 2018, G Adventures started to bring thousands of travellers to Kao Thep Pitak, to enjoy traditional and delicious Southern Thailand dishes. Travellers also visit the local fruits orchards, and have the opportunity to purchase unique handicrafts, with all activities supporting the women, men and youth of this community.
The primary positive social impacts of this collaboration will be increased revenue flow for the community, and the promotion of local entrepreneurs and businesses. Investments into local infrastructure will provide the local partners with the necessary tools and resources to improve the overall quality of their projects, develop sustainable new revenue streams and receive tourists in a professional manner, ultimately increasing their social, economic and environmental impact while generating additional jobs and positive visibility of the community.