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Model Ecotourism and Sufficiency Economy Village in Chiang Mai

5 March 2017 (Readers 1214)

Ban Mae Kampong, a small community in Mae On district, Chiang Mai province, is recognized as a model ecotourism and Sufficiency Economy village, with effective management and services.
The Department of Community Development has organized a study tour to take members of the media to visit Ban Mae Kampong to observe its ecotourism management. The visit provided visitors with an insight into the local way of life of this village and its success in handling ecotourism through community participation.
Located only 50 kilometers from the downtown area of Chiang Mai, Ban Mae Kampong offers a home-stay service for visitors. This village is 1,300 meters above sea level, with a cool climate all year round. It is surrounded by tea and coffee plantations, as well as herbal plants. There are about 400 villagers living in this village.
In the year 2000, a number of local villagers began to turn their houses into home-stays and they started to manage their own eco-tourism activities. The home-stay service has been introduced in many areas in Chiang Mai to accommodate eco-tourists. It provides them with the opportunity to experience the lifestyle of local people and folk culture, in addition to exploring the surrounding countryside to appreciate natural beauty.
Ban Mae Kampong, in particular, is popular among both Thai and foreign tourists. It was named an OTOP Village Champion in 2004. OTOP stands for the "One Tambon, One Product program, which was launched as a self-help mechanism for each and every community, making it possible for each to bring out its prominent feature, be it a product, service, or tourist attraction.
Ban Mae Kampong is seen as a paragon of community-based tourism. The home-stay service in this village is managed wholly by local villagers. The village possesses picturesque mountain scenery, and beautiful waterfalls are among its attractions. Local villagers have brought these natural assets into the realm of eco-tourism.
According to the Department of Community Development, Ban Mae Kampong is also recognized as a model for the application of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, initiated by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. This philosophy is based on His Majestys concept of "explosion from within, which seeks to strengthen the community to the self-supporting level and enable it to have enough to live on. Sufficiency Economy also seeks to harmonize the economic, social, and environmental aspects of development.
The eco-tourism service has improved Ban Mae Kampongs economy and provided local people with supplementary income.
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